In the Shadow of the Demon Gate

Rated 4.00/5 based on 1 reviews
Amyke, a slave, longs for freedom so she can marry handsome Muru. Worse, she's now of age to serve in the temple, any man's for a coin. These woes seem small, though, once a werewolf chooses her as its prey.
On the day of her temple service, she finds herself in the perfect trap: she must wait in the temple courtyard until a man picks her, but the only one who will come for her is the werewolf. More

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About Sylvia Volk

Sylvia Volk was born in western Canada to a family of readers; fiction followed. First she read it, and then (starting in elementary school) began making up her own. Somewhere along the way she ran out of available fiction and started reading nonfiction as well, and ended up learning about esoteric things - Arab horses, fractal structure of story, ancient-world military history, the mythology of beekeeping, the vanished kingdoms of the Himalayas and other such trivia. She writes esoteric books, and is beginning to suspect she's wrecked her eyes with too much reading.

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Review by: Magdala Garza on Dec. 25, 2011 :
SUMMARY: In this 7k-word short story, orphan Amyke lives in the ancient city of Alalakh and is forced to slave away in a beer-shop owned by the wicked Beltu and her spoiled, self-centered daughter Sabitu. The story follows her coming-of-age ordeal when she offers herself up in the temple of Mylitta, hoping for handsome woodcutter Muru while trying to avoid the attentions of a foul and beastly shapeshifter. Can her dashing woodcutter save her from the monster? Or will this fusion of Cinderella/Red Riding Hood/ancient Near East mythology produce a different conclusion?

Sylvia Volk's prose is as lush, sensual, and visceral as ever. The descriptions engage all five senses and are punctuated with some truly startling images. (I've never seen a werewolf's voice described in such detail before, and definitely not with those details in particular.) The story also flows well, in a way that could be described as cinematic. Each scene is strong, and leads naturally into the next.

I'm dropping one star because I never really had enough time with Amyke or Muru to really appreciate their characters, but all in all, it's a tight little story, filled with suspense and exotic detail.

Note: Received the story for free via author's LJ.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)
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