Book Jacket

 

rank 4155
word count 99377
date submitted 14.05.2008
date updated 10.02.2009
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Fantasy
classification: moderate
complete

Forgotten Gifts

Alexander Neville-Pexton

When an orphan tries to discover the gifts her parents gave her, she finds herself and the centre of a conspiracy to overthrow the Empire.

 

Some parents have great expectations for their children, be they creative, academic or simply to follow in their footsteps.

Samija daydreams of the day when she will will stand before the Emperor and be told of the Gifts that her parents gave her. She hasn't realised that no one knows who her parents were or what plans they had for her.

With the help of one of the enigmatic Midwives she tries to discover her origins and her Gifts. What she uncovers, places her at the centre of a conspiracy, but before she can act she finds herself a fugitive, wanted for theft and murder.

In order to save the Empire she must use her sinister Gifts, but can she reach the Emperor in time to warn him of the danger?

Forgotten Gifts is the first part of a trilogy and it is now fully uploaded. All comments are welcome, so feel free to point out anything from spelling errors to double-decker-sized holes in the plot.

Enjoy!

 
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tags

coming of age, conspiracy, destiny, empire, identity, imperial, magic, mystery, sinister

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30 comments

 

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jmac wrote 2051 days ago

Hi Alexander, have just read the 1st 2 chaps and find that the story builds gradually without giving anything away - only a few questions answered. From your outline at the top of the page it looks interesting and should appeal to younger readers - a lot younger than me, but it has a good thread to it.
I know you say there's a lot of work to do with the story regarding the editing of words and punctuation(lots), but this shouldn't put people off. If a publisher or agent like the idea of this and the follow on book then they would make sure someone deals with that, but perhaps you know someone living locally who could go through your stories and help in this way. It would mean an awful lot of printing off - you should never do it on the computer because you'll miss things. Meantime, keep writing - you can certainly tell a good story. Jim Mac

jmac wrote 2050 days ago

I'm back again Alexander, ( from work about an hour ago ) and happy to be back, because I've just read through to the finish of chap 8, and this story gets better and better, and I thought it was just for kids. I was wrong. This is so interesting and you don't just write the story but give some lovely descriptions of the surroundings and the actions, and in such detail. If this were never to get published it would be a shame, but I wouldn't let it lie there. This has all the markings of a film - the story, the plot line, the continuous and delicate flow. I can imagine taking my grandchildren to see this - it is so easy to visualise. When you've finished and it's edited, you should also think of how it might look as a screenplay. good luck with this and I'll keep reading it.
Jim Mac
By the way, the ghosts can go through material but they also have clothes themselves - same as ours but ghost clothes - can be acquired in any clothes shop.

Chris Morris wrote 2095 days ago

Finally got round to having a read! The story is involving and evolving nicely so that's always a good plus point. Dialogue is solid and there is just enough of a hook at the end of each chapter to make you tur the page again. This is a well thought out piece and i can tell you've put some time into making sure the arc of the story keeps it's structure - you definately knew what you wanted your story to be here.
The only thing to watch out for (as has been mentioned before) is the spell-checker that misses words spelled correctly, even though they might be wrong (the/they for example). Also (like me) you can get a bit carried off with the sentence and use up lots of commas where a judicious full-stop would work much better - i fall into that one myself occassionally.
A good read though and well written.

StevenJWatson wrote 2072 days ago

Hi Alexander - I have read the prologue and CH 1.

I enjoyed this a lot - it has a lot to recommend it. It's an intriguing start to a story and very mysterious - always a good hook. The dialogue is really good, and you've created a good setting and we have a feel for the characters. I would have liked it to move along a little quicker perhaps - the description of Samija's past feel especially laboured - but otherwise a good read!

Steve

Diane wrote 2068 days ago

Chapter One: Oh wow, that's so sad. As a mother myself, and one who had a very difficult first delivery, this struck home knowing that the child would be raised without a mother. It quite choked me up.

The pacing is excellent and I am drawn right in wanting to know what happened to this girl, why was she so ill and in such a state. Also, I'm intrigued by the magic -- that the babe has gifts already (perhaps the same craft as Larren, or something more special). I'm hooked, all in all. Lol.

Only one thing gave me pause and that was in the sixth paragraph from the end, last sentence. There seems to be a word missing "...combination Gifts." Should that be "...combination of Gifts"?

Thanks for sharing your work. I'll be back to read more, for certain.



Nick Poole2 wrote 1525 days ago

ARISE, AUTHONOMY GHOST!

Ease those weary, withered limbs from your coffin. Push away the stone from the mouth of the tomb.

You have one last task to perform. One last, sacred shelf to confer.

Whether you were plugger, spammer, gusher or troll, whether you flirted or fought in the forum or beavered away in the shadows, now is the time for your resurrection.

One last time. Marshall your strength, muster the last vestiges of your power and carry out your final Authonomy act:

Back my book, MIRROR IN THE SKY.

Then, only then, you may rest easy in your Authonomy grave.

Nick Poole2 (formerly known as NickP)

C M Slater wrote 1667 days ago

I really enjoyed the first couple of chapters of Forgotten Gifts. I enjoy the fact that you create many questions (where was the mother from, are there more midwives, what are her powers) and therefore give yourself many plot twists to answer in this or further volumes.

I'm looking forward to reading further,

Backed
CM
Existence

happypetronella wrote 1921 days ago

Lots of detailed description which I like a lot, and a good story to go with it. Enjoyed reading the whole thing right to the end.

Lorri wrote 2009 days ago

Hi there,

I've had this on my watchlist for such a long time, and finally found some time to read.

I'm not a fantasy fan as a rule, but this is interesting, and seems very character based, which I like. You write well, and the characters are developing nicely. Reads well, flows great, and a good build so far.

I wish you luck with this.

Lorrii

JAK wrote 2015 days ago

Hi Alexander, i've just finished the third chapter and feel that you are really getting into your stride now with this excellent narrative. i am very impressed with the way in which you are developing Samija's character and i'm sure she is going to be the perfect shoulders on which to rest the events which will follow. The writing is very smooth and polished without the weakness of overuse of description which sometimes puts me off fantasy. My only thought is that maybe the first chapters (which is terrifically well-written so I'm not criticising it) could come elsewhere. I was once advised by a publisher's minion never to start with a flashback but stick it in later. that way you have the readership committed to the flow of the narrative from the outset. I'm not sure whether it would work here but it might be good to call it a prologue and put it in a different font. Hope this is helpful. I'm watchlisting Forgotten Gifts for a treat when i feel like another chapter of this well-written fantasy. jak

Parallax wrote 2027 days ago

Hi Alexander. As promised, I've read parts 1 & 2 and here's some feedback.

Opening: After the prologue, the story does seem to take a long time to get moving. Perhaps you could insert another incident where Samija unexpectedly uses her powers in a way that causes some drama at the college?

Style:
- I think you could reveal more facts through dialogue between characters, rather than via big expository paragraphs, eg the first few paras of part two, explaining about the college. Why not have Samija discussing this stuff with her classmates, or some other characters, instead?
- Actually in general I think you need more action and dialogue to move things along, a case of "show rather than tell".

Character: Samija's character seems a little undefined; maybe we could get to know her better via some of her thoughts or conversations with friends at an early stage?

Dialogue:
- Everyone seems overly formal; perhaps you're trying demonstrate a different culture this way, but I think it'd be more accessible if people spoke more colloquially. You could still insert local terms and expressions, of course.
- Small point: "How does it fair?" should read "How does it fare?".

I hope this is useful! If you haven't done so already, I'd appreciate it if you could reciprocate by having a look at my novel MIND THE GAP at http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=2131 , and leaving a comment or placing the book on your bookshelf if you think it's worth backing! Thanks!

cesia wrote 2029 days ago

Hi Alexander ... I'm not a real critic or anything, so I'm just going to say my honest thoughts from the viewpoint of a "reader" of this book.

First off, I really enjoyed the story and was pretty sucked in. Definitely a page turner. As others and yourself mentioned, it could use some grammatical refining to make it smoother to read.

As far as the story itself ... there were 2 things I noticed. One, the boy she rescued from the river didn't seem to add anything to the story. It seemed almost unfinished in how insignificant he was. The "teaser" paragraphs about him, at the beginning of the chapters, I didn't really get into. In fact, after the first couple, I started skipping over them completely because they meant nothing to me and I was anxious to hear about Samija. The style made the info about the boy seem like a memory, or something in the past, or at least something VERY significant that was about to happen. But then it wasn't. It was rather anti-climactic. I think I would prefer to just meet the boy in the river, and perhaps have him tell Samija what happened prior.

Two, now this may be my own preference, but it seemed almost cliche how many bad things happened to Samija, one right after another. Especially the whole prison guards attacking her part. It didn't seem to add anything, but just take up time. It felt like one of those scenes added to a movie for no reason other than to have another elaborately choreographed fight scene that shows off the main star's cool fighting skills.

I'm not saying they are terrible and have to be cut, I would just like for them to have more significance, or a REASON to be in the story.

Just my two cents! Overall, though, I did enjoy reading it and would still like to know more about her gifts.
- Cesia.

Pat Black wrote 2031 days ago

Hi Alexander, have had a look at the prologue - a strong start, with a sense of mystery all the way through. We're inclined to wonder about the Gifts, what magic may have been "bound", what the order is. There's also a good sense of character from even these opening lines - the inexperienced apprentice, the fastidious (perhaps a little too much so for a midwife!) Lady Latasia, the humble yet capable Larren. If I may be permitted a criticism, I think you have too many adjectives - this is especially apparent in your opening paragraphs - and the odd punctuation issue which look as if they've just slipped through. Looking forward to reading more. All the best, P

P J wrote 2044 days ago

Alex,

I was not sure during chapter one/prologue whether I'd stay with this story or not. I felt I'd read the story of mother arrives half dead, and choice has to be made between her and baby.
But in chapter two it all became much clearer and more immediate with the introduction of Samija and her conversation with the midwife. The idea of the gifts and hers not being fixed in the same way as others is definitely a hook, as were Samija's feelings about the others in her class and her confusion about what the midwife wasn't telling her.
You asked for spelling - one thing I noticed was council which should be counsel, I think.
I shall be back to read more.

Thanks for backing my book, and your help with it - seems so long ago now!

Tricia.

LMJT wrote 2044 days ago

Hi Alix,

Apologies it’s taken so long for me to reciprocate with comments. I’ve read the pitch and prologue so far.

From reading the pitch, I think you need to bring in Samaia’s name sooner as, at the moment, the first two paragraphs are very vague. You need to introduce the characters as soon as possible in such short space.

I thought the first sentence was too long and would recommend you cut it down to maintain a reader’s interest.

Reading on, I think you could cut down on the use of adverbs. There are a lot: ‘urgent’, ‘sturdy’, ‘calmly,’ ‘stiff’, ‘cold,’ ‘creakingly.’ They all slow the pace considerably.

I think you use Larren’s name too many times, there are many instances where it could be substituted for ‘he’.

I think ‘fair’ as in ‘how does it fair?’ is misspelt and should be fare. I may be wrong.

This isn’t something I would normally read, but it’s well written, if a little over-written in parts. I really think you should cut out the majority if not all of the adverbs. At least to try and see if it sped up the pace a little. The prologue should be gripping and pacy, and I don’t feel this is yet.

I hope my comments are of help.

Liam

RobbG wrote 2046 days ago

alexander - following up on your question on show vs. tell in the other thread, as i followed your note to read the sentence in context. the scene is definitely showing. you've got action, characters moving in and out of the scene, dialog. a sentence (or more than one) describing movement, actions or reactions (even internal thoughts) within an active, showing scene is good, a way to keep the scene moving forward. i like how you split it into 2 sentences in this version better. - robb

Rowan wrote 2049 days ago

Definitely an intriguing story Alexander, even though I've only got to chapter 4. You've done a good job of catching the reader's interest - who is Samija's mother and what gifts did she leave her daughter?
However, your sentences seem to have run away from you sometimes. The first sentence of chapter 3 is a good example. The whole work needs to be proof-read thoroughly.
Stylistically, some of the description should be cut. This is especially true for chapter 1. Delete about half of the adjectives and focus on what is actually happening. Instead of pulling "the moonlit wooden door creakingly inward", just open the door and get on with the plot. It doesn't matter what kind of door it is. The first page of the book needs to be especially eye-catching: you have about four paragraphs to make people decide they want to keep reading.
Conversely, where the description is important to the plot, you need to add a bit more. For example, at some point in chapter 2, you need to explain what college Samija is attending, how she was mysteriously sponsored there, and what it teaches. See if you can fit it in one paragraph. Then readers can get on with the storyline without getting confused about where Samija is and what she's doing there.

RobertB wrote 2050 days ago

Your first few paragraphs are good, but then you lapse into telling rather than showing. Take your time, and show us, for instance, what Larren finds when he goes into the dormitory. If you keep compressing incidents into short, impersonal paragraphs, you'll lose your reader's interest.

jmac wrote 2050 days ago

I'm back again Alexander, ( from work about an hour ago ) and happy to be back, because I've just read through to the finish of chap 8, and this story gets better and better, and I thought it was just for kids. I was wrong. This is so interesting and you don't just write the story but give some lovely descriptions of the surroundings and the actions, and in such detail. If this were never to get published it would be a shame, but I wouldn't let it lie there. This has all the markings of a film - the story, the plot line, the continuous and delicate flow. I can imagine taking my grandchildren to see this - it is so easy to visualise. When you've finished and it's edited, you should also think of how it might look as a screenplay. good luck with this and I'll keep reading it.
Jim Mac
By the way, the ghosts can go through material but they also have clothes themselves - same as ours but ghost clothes - can be acquired in any clothes shop.

jmac wrote 2051 days ago

Hi Alexander, have just read the 1st 2 chaps and find that the story builds gradually without giving anything away - only a few questions answered. From your outline at the top of the page it looks interesting and should appeal to younger readers - a lot younger than me, but it has a good thread to it.
I know you say there's a lot of work to do with the story regarding the editing of words and punctuation(lots), but this shouldn't put people off. If a publisher or agent like the idea of this and the follow on book then they would make sure someone deals with that, but perhaps you know someone living locally who could go through your stories and help in this way. It would mean an awful lot of printing off - you should never do it on the computer because you'll miss things. Meantime, keep writing - you can certainly tell a good story. Jim Mac

2004carlt wrote 2053 days ago

This is a better version.....

Samija is an orphan in service to the Empire. Soon to come of age, she must make a pledge to use her Magical Gifts but she doesn't know what they are, and neither does anyone else!

With the help of one of the enigmatic Midwives, she begins to try to uncover the nature of the Gifts given to her by her unidentified parents. What she discovers places her in great danger and reveals that someone has had sinister plans for her since before birth.

When she finds herself a fugitive, wanted for theft and murder she realises the only way to clear her name is to expose a conspiracy. In so doing, she saves the life of the Emperor himself.


‘Forgotten Gift’s is the first part of a trilogy and it is now fully uploaded. All comments are welcome, from pointing out spelling errors to, well, whatever ^^

2004carlt wrote 2053 days ago

What about this?


Samija is an orphan in service to the Empire. Soon to come of age, she must make a pledge to use her Magical Gifts but she doesn't know what they are, and neither does anyone else!

With the assistance of one of the enigmatic Midwives, she begins to try to uncover the nature of the Gifts given to her by her unidentified parents. What she discovers places her in great danger and reveals that someone has had sinister plans for her since before she was born.

When she finds herself a fugitive, wanted for theft and murder she realises that the only way to clear her name is to expose the conspiracy and in so doing save the life of the Emperor himself.

Forgotten Gifts is the first part of a trilogy and it is now fully uploaded. All comments are welcome, from pointing out spelling errors to, well, whatever ^^

Sam Hackett wrote 2067 days ago

I'm enjoying what I've read so far Alexander. I'm intrigued. I've just added it to my bookshelf. Hope that helps get you more readers too. All the very best, Sam (born on t'other side of Pennines to you, but grew up in the Home Counties/London, so a southern softie now – although I live in the wild West Country these days!).

AJK wrote 2068 days ago

Thanks for your comment..I will try and read Forgotten Gifts over the next few days!

Diane wrote 2068 days ago

Oops, I meant to say 'Prologue' in my comment, not Chapter One. Sorry.

Diane wrote 2068 days ago

Chapter One: Oh wow, that's so sad. As a mother myself, and one who had a very difficult first delivery, this struck home knowing that the child would be raised without a mother. It quite choked me up.

The pacing is excellent and I am drawn right in wanting to know what happened to this girl, why was she so ill and in such a state. Also, I'm intrigued by the magic -- that the babe has gifts already (perhaps the same craft as Larren, or something more special). I'm hooked, all in all. Lol.

Only one thing gave me pause and that was in the sixth paragraph from the end, last sentence. There seems to be a word missing "...combination Gifts." Should that be "...combination of Gifts"?

Thanks for sharing your work. I'll be back to read more, for certain.



Jan wrote 2069 days ago

Samiya - High born - elevated. The name alone is a key to what is to come... though she does seem a little frail at the start?
Only read 4 chapters but it looks to be good fantasy saga - I did find that the punctuation got in the way a little as it made me go back to re-read every now and then for 'sense', but no doubt thasty will be ironed out in the final edit.
A promising read.

StevenJWatson wrote 2072 days ago

Hi Alexander - I have read the prologue and CH 1.

I enjoyed this a lot - it has a lot to recommend it. It's an intriguing start to a story and very mysterious - always a good hook. The dialogue is really good, and you've created a good setting and we have a feel for the characters. I would have liked it to move along a little quicker perhaps - the description of Samija's past feel especially laboured - but otherwise a good read!

Steve

Chris Morris wrote 2095 days ago

Finally got round to having a read! The story is involving and evolving nicely so that's always a good plus point. Dialogue is solid and there is just enough of a hook at the end of each chapter to make you tur the page again. This is a well thought out piece and i can tell you've put some time into making sure the arc of the story keeps it's structure - you definately knew what you wanted your story to be here.
The only thing to watch out for (as has been mentioned before) is the spell-checker that misses words spelled correctly, even though they might be wrong (the/they for example). Also (like me) you can get a bit carried off with the sentence and use up lots of commas where a judicious full-stop would work much better - i fall into that one myself occassionally.
A good read though and well written.

AlixNP wrote 2163 days ago

Thanks Lexi ^^ Good to hear that you don't think that there is anything missing, but that makes me worry a bit that some of the things that are coming Samija's way might be over egging the pudding. I'm glad you like Samija, she definitely develops more spirit as her life changes, I think you will like how she turns out. I'm not sure that there is any way I can speed up the pace of the story without losing something elsewhere. I will, however, let slip that there is a dramatic difference in pace between the first and second halves of book one ^^

I've got another 9 (I think) chapters that are "ready" to be posted, I think I'll do that in the morning.

Lexi wrote 2163 days ago

All the ingredients for a good fantasy saga are here; the mysterious child, whose origins are unknown; the disturbing magic power that must remain hidden; a fully imagined world different from ours with its own rules and customs. Samija is a promising heroine (I'd like her a little more spirited, but this may develop in later chapters) and her Gift is full of interesting possibilities. For me, the action could be a tad pacier, but I know classic fantasy takes its own time to establish the story, and with three books in the series there is no rush!

AlixNP wrote 2163 days ago

Thanks Sylvia! I'm far from ashamed in admitting that I am rather dyslexic and that I find it hard to spot every place where I have used the wrong words. This is only the second draft since I "finished" (ie wrote the last word of the Epilogue) and with some of the changes came huge tracts of new stuff that will still be full of errors ^^ If they do breed then I am in serious trouble trouble!

Sylvia wrote 2164 days ago

Very imaginative and unusual magic, along with a believable world and characters. I'm enjoying the story, and have reached the end of chapter 4 where a further mystery - other than Samija's gifts and origins - seems to be looming.

The work would benefit from another editing to find a few typos (I still find plenty in mine after about 20 read throughs - I think they breed) such as these: 'begin his diagnosis' (began), barren instead of baron, they way (the way).

AlixNP wrote 2169 days ago

Yes, its strange how a lot of the formatting gets curdled by the upload, I've seen it in quite a few books now, it must be why the site is still in beta ^^

cutley wrote 2170 days ago

This looks really gripping stuff. Some of the fomatting has gone a bit wrong (words running into each other), but that can be corrected later. I look forward to reading more. Charles

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