Book Jacket

 

rank 1391
word count 14655
date submitted 09.03.2012
date updated 09.03.2012
genres: Fiction, Fantasy
classification: moderate
incomplete

Dead Man's Troubles

Ciaran McGrath

When a dead man asks for help, who would say no? Anyone with half an ounce of sense, perhaps...

 

Tragedy drove Shaelle Ellathyn to retreat to the woods and the comfort of family, and took something exceptional to lead her back to the wider world. A dead man returned mysteriously to life, in fact. A dead man with many enemies and a need for a skilled hand with a sword to aid him in his secret vendetta. Soon, Shaelle finds herself travelling again, enmeshed in a game of secrets and murder as the past catches up with her: not just her past, but that of her companion and his faceless enemies. From a long-lost fortress in a broken land to the greatest city of the Northern Kingdoms, Shaelle confronts the worst that the world can offer, all in the hope of a new life for a lost love. But just how far can she trust the man she's travelling with, and just how is it that he returned to life?

 
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tags

fantasy, magic, secrets, swords

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5 comments

 

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Warrick Mayes wrote 766 days ago

Ciaran,

I love the first line, it grabs you. However, I have to agree with Jane's comments below, could use something a bit gutsier!

Very interesting and intriguing first chapter. The narrative is very good, but the pace is a little slow. The minor scuffle with the mercenary is not enough to really hook the reader. It would be good if you could finish the chapter with the threat a little more severe, and then let the reader down gently in the second chapter - just a thought.

I found a couple of things for you to look at:
Early on, you mention three mercenaries guarding a merchant passing through. Then, just before the first interruption from the tall mercenary you have "...and there were three mercenaries guarding a merchant passing through, who were paid to be wary." This feels slightly repetitive
Then, you continue "The two of them had an audience..." Which two? Two of the mercenaries or the merchant and one of the mercenaries - it was not clear?

One other little niggle: "Shaelle rarely met few people..." should either be "Shaelle rarely met people..." or "Shaelle met few people..."

Best wishes
Warrick

Cerandor wrote 770 days ago

Just one thing I thought might be missing from the opening sequence was atmosphere. It’s possibly just a bit too humdrum, typical day down the pub with the elves. I had the feeling that I’d jumped into the story at chapter two, as if I’d missed something, a prologue maybe with a bit of blood and magic.

Jane

The Dark Citadel
Wormholes



Thanks Jane. I take your point - the opening chapter does stray a little in the direction of cliche. I had intended to use it to depict the life that Shaelle had settled in, as a contrast to the life she returns to later on. I'll have a think about it though and see if there's anything to be done to spice it up.

Cerandor wrote 770 days ago

Hi Ciaran,

I have read all of what you have uploaded and really enjoyed it. You write very well and weave a captivating story. You have several good hooks inlcuding Shaelle's past, how did Haolden rise from the dead/what price did he pay? And who are the Hidden and what do they want with Haolden.
Just two things I would point out:
Chapter 3

...she wondered how her sharp her mother's senses... (..she wondered how sharp her mother's senses...)

Chapter 4

...and a tangle of greenery had pushed in.
To her left watched her from around a campfire. The one who was...
This second sentence does not make sense.

These are obviously little things and did not detract from my enjoyment of reading the book. Your writing style draws you into the story and keeps you wanting more.

Excellent work! Best of luck with it.
Tania Johansson
Book of Remembrance



Thanks for the pointers - it's bloody hard to catch everything, especially as you rewrite. And thanks for the kinds words also.

TaniaJohansson wrote 770 days ago

Hi Ciaran,

I have read all of what you have uploaded and really enjoyed it. You write very well and weave a captivating story. You have several good hooks inlcuding Shaelle's past, how did Haolden rise from the dead/what price did he pay? And who are the Hidden and what do they want with Haolden.
Just two things I would point out:
Chapter 3

...she wondered how her sharp her mother's senses... (..she wondered how sharp her mother's senses...)

Chapter 4

...and a tangle of greenery had pushed in.
To her left watched her from around a campfire. The one who was...
This second sentence does not make sense.

These are obviously little things and did not detract from my enjoyment of reading the book. Your writing style draws you into the story and keeps you wanting more.

Excellent work! Best of luck with it.
Tania Johansson
Book of Remembrance

Oriax wrote 775 days ago

Dead Man’s Troubles Ciaran, I’ve just finished the chapters you have uploaded. Your voice is refreshingly direct - none of the archaism that is so difficult to pull off, and a modern vernacular that doesn’t sound like a tv soap. The plot line is also direct, not convoluted and confusing. You introduce one element at a time rather than loading too much information on the reader in one go. The characters are well-drawn and appealing.

Just one thing I thought might be missing from the opening sequence was atmosphere. It’s possibly just a bit too humdrum, typical day down the pub with the elves. I had the feeling that I’d jumped into the story at chapter two, as if I’d missed something, a prologue maybe with a bit of blood and magic.

That said, the story certainly hits the ground running. You write extremely well, fluid and pacey. There is just enough description to paint a vivid picture, not enough to clutter the action. I like stories that start with a journey; you have the impression of moving along with the characters, and of the story unfolding both physically and chronologically.

I enjoyed this, I’d read on if there was more.
Highly starred and watchlisted.
Jane

The Dark Citadel
Wormholes

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