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Rothramn by Hazel Young

A web serial about a mysterious castle and the people who live there. 

Rothramn castle lies deep in the backwoods of Eastern Europe, nestled in a dark valley surrounded by soaring mountain peaks, accessible only by lonely forest roads which lead out of this world and into forgotten places.

An impossible monolithic structure of soaring towers and ancient stonework, the castle is home to the inhuman remnants of a once-great aristocratic family. Their bizarre friends and ghoulish servants populate the dank chambers and shadowy passages of the castle; strange creatures lurk and hunt in the forest beyond the walls.

In the late 19th century a young English woman on the run from the law loses herself on the back roads of Europe – and arrives at Rothramn castle by accident. Quickly drawn into the byzantine workings of the castle and befriended by the mysterious Lady of the house, she must decide between escaping this world of monsters or learning how to live beyond the bounds of humanity.

Rothramn sits at the windswept, abandoned crossroads between Gothic fiction and slice of life, grotesque expressionism and soap opera.

Note: Rothramn is unfinished, and will likely remain so.  It contains some graphic violence and harsh language.

An abandoned novel

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Listed: Oct 2, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

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Editor’s First Impression

By Palladian, editor, author of Super

Feb 1, 2014: Rothramn is a story that starts out in a seemingly conventional way – a traveler along an isolated piece of road runs into another who seems ill, and decides to help her. What happens afterwards is surprising, and I found I enjoyed it quite a bit.

The story seems to function as a rather intimate character study of a good number of fascinating, and rather fascinatingly flawed characters. Catherine (or Ann, as she initially tells people she’s called), after deciding to assist a fellow traveler, Silvia, becomes a guest in a large castle with even larger grounds, Rothramn. Her host, the Lady Karolin, is a vampire, as are her three sisters. Instead of attacking Catherine, however, Karolin makes many appeals for her to stay, the most compelling of which is that Catherine’s horse has died and her pistol has gone missing.

Along with vampires, a number of other creatures of myth and legend appear, as well. Agamede, who appears to be some sort of Frankenstein-like person, is retained by the family to care for their humans. Astrid, a wight, travels the halls of the castle in plate armor and ghostly force, usually doing errands for Yana, who physically appears to be a child, yet doesn’t seem to be one, especially since she seems to be the one who controls all the ghouls on the grounds.

So far, the action of the story has centered around introducing the characters and documenting the wranglings between them as they and the new person figure out where they stand with each other, but more of a story seems to have begun to form, having read out to the most currently available chapter (sixteen), and I’m curious to see where the author takes it.

As far as things to improve the story, although in general the writing was solid, I’d recommend that the author use spell check prior to posting each chapter; most of the typos I spotted would be picked up in this manner. Also, the last post for the story says that the posting day will float, rather than being fixed as previous, but that post is dated two months ago. If you’re going to take time off, keep your audience notified so that they know what to expect and don’t think you’ve abandoned the piece (which I hope the author hasn’t). Also, please keep the Table of Contents for the story up-to-date.

At any rate, I’d definitely recommend this story to those interested in reading more modern takes on the supernatural “monsters” that populated old tales, especially those who favor stories that focus on women characters.

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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Good Series, Never Finished

By Billy Higgins Peery, author of A Bad Idea

May 11, 2015: This was such a fun series. The vibe was what made it: there was a little bit of Gothic dread, combined with a little bit of soap opera campiness. It reminded me a lot of Dark Shadows, actually.

Most reader probably won’t want to start it, since it only lasted for sixteen chapters before the author abandoned it. But for those who don’t mind serials without an ending, there’s some good stuff here.

I’m not going to give this a full write-up, since the series was abandoned. But I wanted to leave this here in case the author ever came back to look at this website. There’s a lot of talent here, and if the author ever finishes something, I’d like to take a look at it.

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