Book Jacket

 

rank  Editors Pick
word count 61994
date submitted 18.07.2012
date updated 04.04.2014
genres: Fantasy
classification: moderate
complete

The Seventh Gate

Piper E McDermot

Legend claims the Stones on the Tor snatch the unwary into the Otherworld. The truth is far more dangerous.

 

Elen, one-time heir to the throne of Érenn, has vanished. Her loss plunges the country into a civil war dragging on for decades - until the Stones spit out a mysterious foreigner.

Nyani’s homeland is farther from Érenn than can be measured in miles, but not far enough to escape the devastating effects of its war.
When a family secret is revealed, she has a chance to avenge her losses - if she can first save one man from the death fate has decreed for him.

Donn’s entire life has been shaped by Érenn’s conflict with the renegade druid, Athairne. Some believe it’s a fight Donn is destined to win, but forging a destiny requires making the right choices. When the Gate-Stones throw a foreigner into his path, those choices become harder to recognise.

Caught in a web of secrets and betrayal, two strangers must learn to trust one another when ambition and jealousy collide with duty and love. Their choices could destroy those they care for most, and shatter more than the bonds of trust.

For there are other, unseen forces to contend with. Forces that come from far beyond the Seventh Gate.

 
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tags

alternate history, ambition, celtic, fantasy, gods, irish, legends, love story, lust, mythology, romance, sciencefiction, shamanism, welsh

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282 comments

 

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TerriNixon wrote 177 days ago

I swear, you are going to get me into SO much trouble ... I dipped into this at work and I think I've ignored everyone, but I don't even know! Aside from the quality of the writing; the pace and tone, the poetry of the language, the superb dialogue structure, I was grabbed and, quite forcibly, yanked into the story itself. This is not a genre I know a lot about - I read Stephen Lawhead but not much beyond him - but I confess I am fascinated by this and intend to read more as soon as possible.
I just wanted to say that the writing in SO superb, so compelling and so lyrical, I wish nothing but the best for this, and I'm delighted to see it's a complete book and look forward to picking it up one day.
I'll read more, but at home next time!
Thank you for sharing this exquisite piece.

Terri Nixon
The Dust of Ancients.

Charlotte Elise wrote 176 days ago

The Seventh Gate Not-YARG, WTF, CWOG Review

I don’t usually comment on covers, but yours is certainly worth mentioning. I can see this on a physical book, and it was that which caught my eye first. Kudos to the person who made it :)

This is definitely my kind of book. I have a real appreciation for writers who put in that extra effort to make the novel feel truly real for the readers, and you've definitely done that. The languages are gorgeous, as are the names and cultures I’ve seen so far. The world is believable, with vivid descriptions that don’t drag on, and a depth that keeps me right in the story. Nothing fake here! To top it off, you've got multiple storylines and viewpoints (always something I enjoy). I look forward to seeing them merge as the story progresses.

As far as characters go, I think you've got quite a skill in creating rounded people to identify with. Conn is easily my favourite. Despite having only seen his anger and frustration so far, I find him quite charismatic, and someone to watch in tense moments. His dialogue is perfect in these scenes, making me really believe those emotions. Also, the dragon tattoo description as the first line is one of the best I’ve read, hands down.

Next to Conn, Nyani is also a favourite of mine. Another very charismatic player in the story, someone with trauma in her past and a clear resolve for her mission. The flashback in chapter 3 was touching and, for me, the best part of that chapter. Flashbacks are a great way to make characters that bit more real, so long as you can pull it off, which you definitely did.

I’d like to offer some kind of constructive criticism, but I don’t see any flaws here. I was reading purely for the enjoyment.

Shelved until you reach the ED, looking forward to reading the rest of your uploaded chapters in the meantime.

Charlotte Elise
Saving Isondier.

wcarson wrote 252 days ago

A WTF review of THE SEVENTH GATE

It is a real testament to what I've read of your book that there's really very little in the way of constructive criticism that can be offered. Your work has been evidently polished and refined to the point where it simply becomes a matter of reader bias and personal proclivity as to whether or not it appeals. My genre bias aside, I would find it hard to imagine a reader who wouldn't find this appealing.

There's a real beauty to your writing that comes in part from the careful and considered language, in part from your ability to render description in an evocative manner without being heavy handed or forced, in part from a world - plot, character, setting - that, simply put, rings true in detail, emotion, and flavor.

In genre writing - fantasy, alternate history, etc. - oftentimes one finds conflict that seems exterior to the world that was created, or external to that which a reader can identify with. I don't know what lies beyond the chapters posted, but I appreciate that the conflict that has been established so far seems fundamentally human. Infidelity. The gender bias associated with the birth of a female heir. Local politics that are as much about families, relationships and old clan feuds as any aspiration towards real power. It seems as if what will inevitably be a plot line that operates on an epic, world changing scale is crucially informed by the (never) simple raw human emotion of a man and wife, or a child. A Butterfly Effect that begins at home, ultimately producing winds of change that shape a world.

There's a fair amount of exposition that is delivered early, mostly through dialogue. It's always a challenge to expose, as it were. I think you manage to deliver the detail and history you need to well. Not an easy feat, but you do it with skill.

An observation: What I've read so far is right up my alley, but when you inevitably make it the editor's desk I suspect that you'll get commentary along the lines of that there are some readers who would find the celtic/gaelic names difficult to contend with. There's also a density to your work that while I appreciate certainly mandates that readers are obliged to really READ. It's not fluff, or brain candy, or mindless. Whether that affects your marketability I don't know.

All I can say is that I sincerely hope not.

I'm sorry I waited so long to have a look at your book. On a site where there's much to recommend, I think this is one of the best I've come across.

Great luck in future with it and any other writing you do.

William Carson
Grace Far Fallen

Lin-C wrote 405 days ago

The Seventh Gate
Hi Piper, I have read your first four chapters. This is amazing story-telling, I have had to stop because real life is calling :(
Seventh Gate is on my shelf. I don't read fantasy, I don't like fantasy, I never understand fantasy, I only ever watch fantasy in films because it's easy to follow. Your incredible writing is turning me to the force lol.
I will give a full crit when I have finished reading.
Just one thing, whilst it's fresh in my mind, when you have Nyani in the pool remembering Mirran, you use the wording 'crush on him'. You had me so totally pulled into their world, it somehow sounded odd to me.
This is one of the few books on authonomy I can honestly say I'm reading for sheer pleasure.
Lin

M_Romeo wrote 45 days ago

WOW!
Reminiscent of the Sandman comics. Tone and quality amazing, done well enough that my inner editor has clocked out and I'm left to merely enjoy the tale. Spun so well Im actually jealous... great story.

I hope this goes far, as it's something that should be on bookshelves everywhere.

Michael
SHADOW GARDEN BLUES

M_Romeo wrote 45 days ago

Reminiscent of another work, Sandman comics. The writing is eerily similar. I wonder where these stories come from.... It's done well enough that my inner editor has gone on vacation. I'll be back to read more.

Michael
SHADOW GARDEN BLUES

Amondra wrote 49 days ago

Grats for making onto the editor's desk!

Stacey R. Campbell wrote 51 days ago

KE- completely agree with your last comments. I like the multiple POVs and see no head hopping when doing a quick scan. Fun read and write! Good luck :)
Cheers, S

K E Shaw wrote 51 days ago

Adverbs have now been given a thorough weeding - it is true they were getting out of hand.

Those few that remain are there because I feel they add more than they take away (and not all adverbs are evil, Mr King's Do-as-I-say-if-not-as-I-do advice not withstanding.)

PoV - I 've looked at Chp1 (autho 2) closely again, line by line - and admit I'm stumped to find what is generally called 'head-hopping' here. Chapter 1 is Omniscient PoV.
Omniscient PoV is (a) not the same thing as multiple PoV's as employed by Sanderson or Martin, and (b) a deliberate choice for the first chapter, in which no one character's thoughts or feelings are more important than another's.
Since Beth is the one character in the chapter whose thoughts and feelings are never offered up to the reader at all, that scene cannot be considered "from Beth's pov'.

To quote Orson Scott Card :
"You float over the landscape wherever you want...pull the reader along with you, and whenever you see something interesting, you explain to the reader exactly what’s going on. You can show the reader every character’s thoughts, dreams, memories, and desires. You can let the reader see any moment of the past or future."

I have allowed the reader a peek inside three of the characters thoughts and feelings, but aside from the final scene that is entirely in Rhiannon's close 3rd Pov, I can't find where else I have broken the form of omniscient PoV with actual 'head-hopping'.

If anyone finds an instance of this, please give me a shout with a specific paragraph reference so that I can checck asap. Thanks!

Jaycy S wrote 57 days ago

I'm a real fan of Fantasy, soaking it up like a thirsty sponge. I've only read the opening but love both story and prose. Reading it made me realise that my scribbling lacks in atmosphere. I've already begun reworking my current chapter with that in mind.
I'm a little concerned about the jumps between POV and agree with Edward Dean in his comments about adverbs. Multiple POV's need clear separation if confusion is to be avoided by readers like me who scan over text very quickly. Some of the best writers who've used it in the fantasy genre - Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, George R R Martin, have all tended to keep to one POV per scene or chapter.
One of the reasons my own books haven't been put up on here yet is that i realised I was head-hopping too much and went back to re-organise my own POV's.
That said, i would definitely buy this book.
Good luck with it.

Edward_Dean wrote 66 days ago

I read chapter 1 and put it on my bookshelf to read more later.

Positives:
You have a very eloquent style that fits the genre perfectly. You do a very good job of setting up the story, characters and have also perfectly placed certain descriptions that fit into the narrative and contribute to world-building. I especially liked the paragraph that starts out “No more words were spoken; all three trapped in silence and their private pain…” then with the description of the boat gliding across the water to their destination. Beautiful and poetic. I could actually hear the oars dipping into the water as I read that.

I like all the characters and dialogue. You obviously have spent some time working on your craft. There were no breaks in the flow for this reader.

Suggestions:
Weed out all LY adverbs. Examples:
“Mervydd sprang NIMBLY out of the boat.”
“Rhiannon watched SILENTLY as their dark figures…”
“Mervydd returned it STEADILY.”
“He paced RESTLESSLY up and down…running his hands ROUGHLY through…”
“Conn’s eyes cut SHARPLY to Rhiannon but QUICKLY dropped away again.”

There’s a great article here about how to work these out.
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/03/13/stephen-king-on-adverbs/

There are too many POVs in chapter one. Stick with one or at the most two in each chapter. IN the section that begins with “Around six-score priestesses and girls..” I got the feeling that it was from Rhiannon’s POV but then it turns out to be Beth’s. I lost count on how many POVs there are in chapter 1. This takes away from building intimacy from your main protagonists and antagonists. So in this sense I don’t know who’s story this is? Is it Con’s? Mervydd’s? Rhiannon’s? There is nothing wrong with multiple POVs but I prefer that these only change when a new chapter begins.

I look forward to reading more. I'm new on this site and have posted a few chapters from a novel I'm working on (also in the fantasy genre). If you care to give it a read I would appreciate it. Thanks.

tracy t wrote 66 days ago

Hi Kim
well I can't really add more to the wonderful comments you already have except to say when this is published I shall buy it.
Well done a sure best seller.
Tracy

tracy t wrote 66 days ago

Hi Kim
well I can't really add more to the wonderful comments you already have except to say when this is published I shall buy it.
Well done a sure best seller.
Tracy

Taps wrote 66 days ago

Hi Kim,

I have read a few chapters of your book a little reluctantly, but I am flipping glad I did. Your style of writing is melodic and is reminiscent of Rosemary Sutcliffe. I am so incredibly impressed, and slightly miffed as I am spending so much time on this site that my work is suffering. However I have to read the rest of this. There are many authors on here who can come up with a great plot, but only a few who can actually express it. It feels like there is a slow, Celtic drumbeat playing behind your words. I want to criticise your writing (jealousy is a terrible thing I know) but I can't. Even though you don't need it, I have backed the book.

Kind regards,

Abraham

Alex Morley wrote 69 days ago

Hi!
I was recommended this as a good read, and I tell you, this was worth it!
I love the world, the language, the vivid details and descriptions, everything. This is brilliant!

I noted two things while reading that you may just want to look over:
- "Sealed her up inside herself' - this may sound better as 'sealed her inside herself' - just seems a little jarring at the moment.
- When there's speech in this, there's a lot of the names used. When it's two people, maybe think about using 'he' or 'she' so it's not so same-y? That's what they taught us in fiction writing lectures anyway! :)

Overall: I can see why this is currently at number 1! Well done. This is truly inventive, brilliantly detailed and a pleasure to read!
Well done!

Alex

Vancey wrote 71 days ago

Hi. Piper. I don't usually read this sort of book, but your prose style is engaging, so I stayed with it. Your writing is at its best, I feel, when you're describing. 'Questions like fish hooks', for example. It took me a while to get used to the unfamiliar words. I have this thing with names in other languages! It puts a bit of a distance between me and them, but, after a while, one gets used to them. After reading this, I'd like to see more of the genre. Thanks for the read, and good luck.

Vance
(The Exile of Nicholas Misterton - Literary/Historical)

Jorre wrote 72 days ago

fantasy is not my thing but wanted to see what a no 1 reads like, and it reads like fantasy is now my thing... Excellent. When its published I'll buy :) all the best.
THE BLAME GAME

DING wrote 72 days ago

Hi Piper, I'm new on authonomy having joined a few days ago. Being a Fantasy writer myself, it came as no surprise when I clicked on books and was immediately drawn to The Seventh Gate. I know I'm in for a good read when I.m drawn in after only a few paragraphs. I was not wrong. For me, any writer who can create characters and names as you have and place them in a strong fluent story is well on their way. Well done and all the best.

Dennis.

Dee Drummond wrote 73 days ago

High fantasy dripping from the pages of this one. I can see why you are number one. A complex tale delicately told yet easy to delve into. I enjoyed my time beyond the seventh gate. I wish you all the best with this one.

Dee x

K E Shaw wrote 76 days ago

No shooting - promise! That's perfect, and thanks for coming back to me :)

Darius Stransky wrote 76 days ago

Hi again
This is what I mean but remember you're way above me in the charts so this is my humble opinion - you did say you'd cut 200 words in Ch3

Paragraph 1
You wrote
"Twin dragons writhed as if come to life on Conns skin ... with his shirtsleeves rolled to the elbows."

I'd suggest - No need to mention shirtsleeves as you've already pointed out the tattoos 'on his skin'.

Paragraph 2
You wrote
"She clasped her arms about her legs as if to keep herself contained within and keep all else out"

I'd suggest - She ... legs, oblivious to everything.

You wrote - "Never once as Conn rowed did she look back at the receding shore,or ahead to their destination. Or at him."

I'd suggest - If she is oblivious to everything you could cut this sentence completely.

Paragraph 12.
You wrote - "Mervydd turned away again (he's not actually turned towards anything in the first place) to help Conn draw the boat up"

I'd suggest - Mervydd turned to help Conn

If this helps the fine but if not don't shoot the messenger. (I'm guilty of the same crimes myself). BUT well done for a good book
Darius

Darius Stransky wrote 76 days ago

The Seventh Gate
by Piper E McDermot
Chapters 1 - 2 inclusive

STYLE - Norse sagas spring to mind. Well fashioned and eloquant.

CHARACTERS - Sit easily in the script. Conn and Elen surrounded by period piece friends and adversaries. Their allotted parts complementary.

PLOT - The usual 'good v evil' as Conn seeks to defeat the villain who traduced his woman.

THEMES ETC - Will know more when I read on (though well-explained in pitch)

OVERALL IMPRESSION - Readable (slightly 'clunky' in parts). Has the makings of a good read and is obviously highly thought of on this site (a decision I think rightly deserved)
The question is - would I read on. A definite yes to that
High starred
Darius
The King's Jew

soutexmex wrote 78 days ago

A little bump to help ya out for February's ranking. Good luck. Cheers! JCC

Marina Freedman wrote 79 days ago

Hi Kim

I’ve finally read Seventh Gate after having it on watchlist for a while and I feel disappointed that I haven’t gotten to it sooner. It’s a brilliant piece of work. The way you have painted the imagery, the plotline and the interactions between the characters are all brilliant. The backstory is expertly woven through, giving a glimpse of what has happened and what is yet to come, at times a fantasy and at others a science fiction. I loved the way you’ve structured the book from the prologue to changing POV and the non-linear storytelling. But it’s your characters that really bring it to life – both Nyani and Ashira are very believable and their interactions a pleasure to read. The pace is good and it moves swiftly enough for most readers myself included. I enjoyed the use of a different language and the ways certain things were translated and others were not. It felt authentic and smooth. The dialogue is well written and your backstory exposed through it in a very clever way.

Well edited and polished, it’s a breeze to read this book and engages you quickly and efficiently. All the elements are there to make it a fantastic series – plots and subplots, action, danger, great characters, magic and mystery. There is no constructive feedback I can give you – just six stars and a backing you deserve to get to ED soon.

Marina

Andreea Daia wrote 80 days ago

"The Seventh Gate" is a delightful fantasy tale, narrated in a beautiful and at times poetic language. As I mentioned later, it repeatedly reminded me of the wonderful world of Avalon, with its subdued magic and fight for power and love. From what I read so far, even younger readers would enjoy this story with its characters who are both human and memorable.

When you described to me your book, you mentioned the first chapter being high-fantasy, but not the rest. I’m not sure that’s quite accurate: high-fantasy is a story placed in an utterly fictitious world, during immemorial times. In that respect, I believe your story is fully-fledged high-fantasy. Yes, your characters use some flying gizmos, but the first flying machines were designed and built thousand of years ago (whether they actually flew is a different story). So even from that point of view, you still have a HF novel(la?).

Anyhow, I’ve read your first three chapters and the book that came to my mind repeatedly is “The Mists of Avalon.” From the introductory paragraph when you mention the blue-back serpent tattoos, all I could think were Uther Pendragon’s blue-snake tattoos. Then later on, the story seemed speckled with the references to that book, which personally I loved. At one point, you mention Morganna, suggesting that the reader should be familiar with the name (and probably guide him/her towards that citation).

I had no problem with the languages you use and I understood the message despite never checking out your dictionary. Honestly I don’t think any fantasy reader would grumble about this aspect, at least no one who claims to enjoy Tolkien. If anything, I think sometimes (in chapter two more specifically) you explain/translate too much (but then again, I personally like the challenge to fill in the gaps left by the author; others may disagree with me). Also, the regional speech from chapter three brings in a nice touch.

Plotwise, you have everything to make a good story: love, lost love, betrayal, marital problems, wars, a touch of magic, a ruthless and oppressive foe, and quite a bit of mystery. Plus let’s not forget the animals that chased the girls in the desert, which you mention, but never explain (unexplained details keep the reader interested). There was a logic break in chapter two you may need to address: “Mirran’s ship plummeted from the sky before their eyes” although “they were hundreds of miles away.” Am I reading something wrong?

Both chapters one and two start with references to the color blue. I’m not sure whether this was intentional, but you created a very interesting symmetry. I almost wanted chapter three to open with something blue too. ツ

I felt sad for Nyani growing up with so much bullying. However it is interesting how you manage to turn around the reason of discrimination: even when older, she is verbally abused for being too white. A small but meaningful detail.

Anyways, here are some odds and ends that I jotted down as I read:
• “He was convinced that Elen”—the author’s voice comes through a bit loud. You may want to consider rephrasing it.
• I like how you associate Conn’s height with a smell (when he walks back and forth knocking away the herbs)—a very clever way to create a memorable image.
• “her heart bruised by the weight of knowledge”—beautiful
• “You are certain,” no question mark, with “you” italicized. I wasn’t sure the message Conn tried to convey. Maybe you would consider reworking that statement. I almost felt that the stress should be on “are” but again, I didn’t understand what he meant.
• Chapter three: would some cloaks really hide bows and arrows?
• “A near-palpable aroma of oppression hung in the valley’s air, seeping from the pored of the people along with the sweat of labour and the numbing cheer of alcohol.”—this is such a beautiful descriptive scene.
• I’m not sure about the idea of using weeks. There is a reason you never find them mentioned in any historical/high-fantasy books: keeping the time using the movement of the planets and stars is simply gruesome and in the past only a smattering of learned folks could do it.

This was a fun and very pleasant read. Full stars and I’ll keep you on my WL. Good luck to the ED!
Andreea

(Duplicity)

Cami Talu wrote 81 days ago

I don’t know if I can say something that wasn’t said before. Both your long and short pitches are very good; they definitely made me want to read your book. You crafted an amazing story, engaging, and beautifully written. I think The Seventh Gate deserves to reach ED and best of luck with the review. High stars and backed.
Cami

newmichelle wrote 83 days ago

At last :D good luck! xxxx

man called Dave wrote 84 days ago

Hi KE,
Sorry it has taken this long to read some of your work, but now I have read up to the end of chapter 4 - very nice job in all departments, and a great cliffhanger! Looking forward to the next two chapters, have to follow these ladies. I will be reading on as soon as I have sent this message. Glad to see this story doing so well.
Dave

janimarei wrote 85 days ago

You have quite the gift for words and your writing is pretty damn near impeccable. It has a wonderful sense of flow that keeps me reading although it isn't my first choice as far as genre. I've only gotten as far as chapter 2, but Chapter 1 gave me the chills it was so eerily beautiful, and chapter 2 reminds me of The Legend of Earthsea. So i suppose it has become my genre since I did so thoroughly enjoy what I've read so far! I'll be back to read the rest of what you have posted!

-Janine

Pete Wenkel wrote 85 days ago

It looks like you will be in the top five in February - congratulations, and very best of luck with the review. I thoroughly enjoyed what I have read.
Pete

Little Finger wrote 85 days ago

I hope you'll make to the ED this month.

Bill B. wrote 89 days ago

You have a great story here, wonderfully written. I really enjoyed it. Best of luck in reaching ED and after that.

A. Wies wrote 89 days ago

Hello,

I have no useful criticism to offer, beyond encouragement. Your world-building and characterization are exquisite, from the way your characters truly live within your gorgeous prose to your extensive culture and language development. Every aspect of your work is very polished. I do have one question, though: Nyani refers to technology, but how advanced/"modern" does she mean? I've been picturing a medieval-type time period...

I read all you have posted and genuinely loved it. Eagerly backed :)

Best of Luck,

Alisha
Whisperer (If you have the time, I'd love it if you would give me your opinion!)

Silvia T wrote 90 days ago

I hope you'll make it to the ED this month.

John Z wrote 101 days ago

Chapters 5 and 6 are compelling reading. I found I was rather lost in the first two chapters - the author assumes too much background knowledge in the uninitiated reader - the lack of context meant that the action was difficult to follow.
Also the style lightens up in the last two chapters making it easier to read - with shorter sentence and simpler paragraphs.
My initial reaction was this is not a book for me after all, but having read the two chapters with Nyani and Ashira, I am interested in reading more to know what is going on and what is going to happen. Perhaps some clearer signposting at this early stage would help the reader understand the context, why things are happening and where they could fit inot a bigger picture.

Kestrelraptorial wrote 102 days ago

Although it was a bit difficult to keep up with the first chapter, I soon got the hang of this story and very much enjoyed it. One of the parts I liked most were all the hints at the characters’ backstories. The romance between Conn and Elen, spoken of in chapter one yet left undetailed, and Nyani being teased as a young girl about her skin being paler, called ‘ghost’.

soutexmex wrote 124 days ago

A little bump to help ya out for January's ranking. Good luck. Cheers! JC

Dimanagul wrote 126 days ago

First impressions: (This is in no way a reflection of what the book is or may actually be. Rather, the effect the hook has on me personally)

Not a fan of floating head prologues. It seems more of a quote to me but there’s multiple people talking? (I think). So I glazed over it.

Is that a tattoo? Starting with analogies makes my head buzz. Your first paragraph tells me this is high fantasy and I’ll get getting a lot of details of surroundings and ascetics with very little character depth. You describe the significance of a tattoo before introducing the main character. Scratch that, you tell me outright that this guy is committed to his cause and willing to sacrifice anything for—

"Twin dragons writhed as if come to life of Conn’s skin, warmed by the rhythmic flexing of his muscles."

This is where I politely close the book. Your writing is very good, but I'd love to see you show more than tell. Less is sometimes more.

(( EDIT: My original review can me misunderstood as extreme dislike for this piece. However, this is far from the truth. I simply identified that the style of the piece is 'not my thing' after looking through the comments and skimming through the rest of chapter one.))

Sheena Macleod wrote 130 days ago

Kim. poetic writing in the prologue, and an excellent read thereafter.
Great title
Good luck with publishing. I would buy this book to read.

High stars
Sheena
Carnival of Lies

Dzhan wrote 134 days ago

What a delicious treat! Top shelf. Far and away in a league of your own. Your prowess for plot, description, dialogue and character development are superb. Your story itself is engaging, with many interesting twists and turns. Pacing is another matter. Your chapters are longer than I think they need to be, but reading "The Seventh Gate" is like having a huge box of creamy Godiva chocolates all to oneself, with no one to say, "Enough is enough," and snatch the box away.

Perhaps, if you embark on a rewrite, you might entertain the idea that "less is (or, can be) more." Just a thought. Either way, what you've given us is nothing less than magnificent. I look forward to reading more once I've digested what I've imbibed thus far. In truth, your female characters are so artfully rendered, so credible, strong and compelling, I came away from the reading with a mild case of pheromone poisoning (read: happy face)!

I make notes but, in your case, I haven't many to offer. For whatever reason, I am unable to copy & paste same, herein, but, if you like I will send you same.

Thank you, Kim, and again, kudos for authoring a thoroughly unique and entertaining story!

Jon Christopher, J.D.






singapore wrote 136 days ago

I had to stop after the first paragraph. Because I was absolutely blown away. This is some of the best writing I have been priviliged to read here. It is poetry. It is descriptive prowess. It is a cacophony of wonder. This is how it would be if James Lee Burke wrote fantasy. I am so proud of you. And it just gets better and better. You don't put a foot wrong. The cadence is perfect. I'm going to stop now because I'm beginning to sound like a groupie. I am so proud of you, KS. And a little bit jealous xxx

Eliza Moon wrote 138 days ago

The Seventh Gate.

I was drawn to this by the intrigue of the stones in the pitches, 'until the stones spit out a mysterious foreigner.' and by the tag 'alternate history'.

'Come back' is a simple and beautiful and emotive introduction.

Elen is a fascinating character, one who at the moment is not doing much at all, due to some strange condition afflicting her, but is clearly someone who is important. I liked the phrase, 'something dark and sour' had come between them, and that 'her eyes reflected nothing at all.' I want to know what has happened to Elen, and this is drawing me on.

'It has begun, then?' is another hook that pulls me into the story.

Heirs, bloodlines, the problem of a woman being next in line to power. Finnbar refused to pass his daughter over. 'Nor did she doubt that Athairne was making his play for power, and intended to use Elen as a means to that end.' Elen is a pawn in the politics of this society? She must be impregnated. She is (as Dan Brown would put it) the Holy Grail? Her womb will bear a great leader, the bloodlines of which will depend on who 'beds' her first?

Very very intriguing: 'It may tell us what she is likely to do next,' because it appears that Elen is not doing much at all, she is just carried along, barely functioning.

The line about Beth casting her eye upon Elen enhances the fact that she is an important and interesting character.

'It was the snarl of a wounded animal.' -Is this shellshock, poison, or witchcraft...

The conversation about whether Elen has been 'bedded' yet is going on in her presence, so I assume she is voluntarily, or involuntarily ignoring the world around her.

Fabulous, 'a glossy edge of power laid delicately on each word' and also, 'her heart bruised by the weight of knowledge'

Elen has been raped. 'The binding Athaine put on her- it was intended to block me out.' 'a virulent fever that had struck her one day' before the wedding. Witchcraft or sorcery is afoot.

Nicely weird now, with the vision of the vision, of swords rising up out of the stone, of a chalice, and a crown. A broken crown.

This is a great introduction to your story, full of intrigue and suspense. I suspect it is going to be a very dark tale indeed:-) x

E.D. Rea wrote 149 days ago

Here I am on another Tuesday night. Thank goodness my son can do the printing while I read.

Finished through chapter six and I want more. Darn, you've only uploaded six chapters.

Can't wait (though I'll have to for now) to see it published.

fred preston wrote 152 days ago

I really enjoyed reading the first five chapters. You have something special here!

E. Yazykova wrote 152 days ago

Hi, Piper.... very well done. I can see the competence in your style and voice and they way you lay down narrative. Building a world this dense requires a lot of preparation and knowledge of the character -- I can tell by the confidence with which you write that you've known this world for a while. This is one the best works I've ever read on authonomy, hands down. I believe that if you continue the character arch and if your plot is as strong as your writing, you will have every success with this. I wouldn't give up on this book, if you don't get immediate response from the pros, just keep pushing it.
Now, other feedback -- I don't have much criticism, as I think your writing is exceptional. The only thing I would be a little careful with is that you have a tendency to pack a lot of the action into each sentence. Sometimes, I had to go couple of sentences back, with a feeling that I missed something. More paragraph breaks would also help this along.

Very well done. Best of luck with this.

Elena Y (Oko)

the dragon flies wrote 156 days ago

[The Seventh Gate]

A great writer generally has his own voice. I think that's what sets starters apart from those who understand the craft. And you understand it, that's for sure. There is little I can say that could make this story better. Good luck with this.

Peter - Children of Little Might (YA)

Temulkar wrote 159 days ago

Hi Piper, I said I would give Seventh Gate a read, sorry it's taken a few days.

I really enjoyed this, I'm, a welsh speaker, so the flow of the language and rhythm of the prose was very well done and kept me reading. The dialogue was engaging and realistic and I didnt find it overburdened with description or world building which is often a pitfall in fantasy.

I honestly didn't spot any punctuation mistakes but I am absolutely appalling in that regard. The only nit I would pick is the chapter length which is variable and sometimes too long imo. Personally I would try and break the chapters up into smaller sections to raise the pace.

It's only a minor thing and only my preference so disregard as you see fit. You fully deserve the six stars I gave you the other day so you can keep them. I hope that's ok. Regards.

Andrew Melvin wrote 160 days ago

Very nicely done, Piper. The setting, language, and style are terrific, evoking a bygone age with just the right amount of detail. There are few writers working in this area (others have mentioned Stephen Lawhead, and I would suggest Bernard Cornwell) and you have found an interesting storytelling niche that is different from a lot of what is available on Authonomy.

The imagination on display is impressive, and I hope Harper Collins' reviewer thinks as highly of this as so many other people do. Good luck!

Andrew
'The Policeman of Secrets'

P.S. As a designer, I have to congratulate you on the cover, which stands head and shoulders above so many self-published books.

Eye Full wrote 160 days ago

Fascinated at first by your cover I delved in. Fascinated that I may become your 100th backer, I did so. Curious by the weight of numbers in this set of events I read on and discovered a beautifully poetic piece, deeply structured and flowing between worlds and characters like an exploded version of The Gajme of Thrones. Wonderfully crafted and I wish you success.

E.D. Rea wrote 161 days ago

I started reading The Seventh Gate the other night while I was printing my newspaper at about 2:00 in the morning (the run takes about 4 hours) - not the best time to read. Yet... I kept on reading.

This a captivating story with just the right amount of mystery as to what is happening.

The names are a bit of a challenge, but then, so is Tolkien.

Jane Starwood wrote 162 days ago

WTF
I've dipped into this and it looks quite intriguing. I'll be back for more. In the meantime, it's going on my Watch List.
Jane Starwood
The Seekers' Prophecy

Otter wrote 162 days ago

The Seventh Gate. By Piper E. McDermot

A fine opening chapter left me enthralled with your evocative writing, plotting and keen character building. We are treated to a familiar Celtic setting. Druids, an arranged marriage, Elen sullied, Conn bereft and the wisdom of Rhiannon. The sprinkling of Gaelic, the names all add to the authenticity. The reference to dragons in the opening line, the druids and some of the names bear a strong resemblance to the tales of Merlin, but it is a thin one, and it allows the reader to easily imagine the setting. The poetic quality to your writing style lifts scenes beyond mere description.

I end chapter two, excited by what I read and looking forward to the next. Wham, you take us to a completely different place. Two young ladies journey to the north and to the Tor. And they could have taken alternative transport – man that came like a bolt out of the blue.

The journey and backstory of Ashira and Nyani from their lands to the south, across the desert, is largely done
through dialogue. To be brutally honest, it just about held me in chapter 3 – that is largely due to the way I read, others will have the same difficulty – but you cannot please everyone with everything that you write. Yet, despite that, I was thoroughly hooked and ploughed on. When they reached the Tor, excitement builds and eyes widen as I digest all that remains of this fine piece of work. Hellhounds, druids, warriors all combined in a tale that does
not bow to mere gore, blood and Hollywood styled magic.

Piper, your work is praiseworthy in so far as your poetic writing appears effortless, your storytelling likewise. Though you have drawn from familiar folklore, it is spiced up enough to hook this reader.

I cannot leave it at that. I am setting a beansidhe on you for only posting 6 chapters.

High Stars and I am thrilled that I decided to read it and I will place it on my desk.

Norman Morrow
The Con-Quest of Father Brennan.

DJ-Gargoyle Chronicles wrote 165 days ago

The Seventh Gate

Mysterious almost ethereal opening. Lovely. You have a lovely fluent style, which is rarely forced, yet not choppy like many modern novels or over written like many epics such as this. You draw the reader in with the silkiness of your prose, adding characters sparingly, despite the grandeur of what I assume you are attempting to achieve. As I read on the prose lost its sheen and I had a thought. I’ll preface this by saying that Lord of the Rings is with Wuthering Heights the book I have re-read most often. However, I have yet to find a high fantasy book here on Autho that is as subtle. You began by not throwing too many names and places at the reader (as many fantasists do) and I was refreshed and loved the poetry of the prose and was involved in the dealing between Con and Elen and the whys, but the little dream sequence at the end, although well written stretched the friendship, a little too much detail too soon for me, but that could just be me. I may not like this new breed of fantasy, yet I read on. YO know, that dream sequence/memory/vision would have almost been a wonderful prologue, just saying.

Nice banter between Nyani and Ashira, which picks up the tone nicely. I liked the way you threaded the back story of childhood and lost loves in this chapter. In fact I think you did it better here than in the previous chapter. Oh, and I must admit to being surprised at the science fiction element. I don’t tend to read pitches or tags when recommended as I was with this. I like to read and then refer back to see how well these things plotted in. It was very subtle – so kudos.

Overall a beautiful poetic prose with crisp believable dialogue, and a book that is certainly in the upper echelons of its genre. Unlike many of this genre, you don’t throw great slabs of paragraphs at the reader, with subtle cuts from which others could learn.

I have left some notes so far, if they are helpful I would be honoured. This is a fine delicate and complex piece.

:DJ
The Gargoyle Chronicles
The Maia Calendar

Cover: - lovely
Short Pitch: very crisp and teasing
Long Pitch: sorry, not a fan. I must have read 10,000 words at least and the pitch has little to do with the opening sequences. It sounds more like a plot summary to me, and I’ve been led to believe that this is not the purpose of a long pitch. It is meant to draw the reader in with the first 30 pages or so. Of course, my info could be wrong. Also, your pitch talks about Elen disappearing (which hasn’t happened yet) and Nyani who is not the feature of the opening chapter. The characters from there you mention in the third paragraph. Hmm, I could be just being picky, but...

Chapter 1:
But I have none… - not a huge fan of beginning a sentence with a conjunction. In fact, I don’t think you even need to put your BUT out there so early.

Chapter 2:
Empty eyes and emptiness… close together. I wonder if you could use vacuum or something similar to break the repetition
Muted gurgling – love it
I’m not sure if seams fracture, they split or pop, yet fracturing ids the correct descriptor, perhaps seams is the misplaced phrase here.
But he was also… the also implies the BUT here, so BUT is not required. (picky bastard, ain’t I)
The savage bitterness(,) so long held... – characters in ( ) are considered missing
Now he could no longer... I think the NOW is implied here and makes the sentence a mouthful. Try reading this without the NOW
...led up to this... – remove the UP here
...preyed on it(,) but she ... {you do this a bit with BUT, it’s probably OK in dialogue, but you are not utilising it correctly elsewhere, it is a conjunction to join to sentences}
...but then the two broken halves began to meld again... BUT and THEN are performing the same task here, also there can only be two halves, so you don’t need to say TWO here
Careful over using non-descript words like WENT... your prose is generally so much more colourful than that

Chapter 3:
Should Mm be Hmm??? Just a thought
But ....but... – just a little technical inconsistency here. You have the space before the first lie of dots first, it should be after, and one line is four dots, the other three. I’m pretty sure you’ve used 4 throughout so far.
But surely... you love hanging your BUT out there don’t you Piper! Again BUT and SURELY perform the same task, remove your BUT!

Ashley Yvonne wrote 167 days ago

WOW! This is a great start to the book. I've read all you put out and I love it. The story has soo much going on, and I have soo many questions, but not in a bad confusing way. You have set the story up expertly, revealing information and building this world little by little within the context of a great story.

I really want to hear Elen's story, but I'm now I'm really invested in her daughters story. The switch was unexpected... but her story is what makes me want to go out and buy this book. I am so glad you recommended this to me, I can see the similarities to Outlander and I would recommend this story to any fan of that story. I think I like Nyani better then Clare already.

I have no constructive feedback... I just enjoyed the story.

I hope you publish this and let us know when you do. Great Job and good luck!