I haven’t done this in years, but I thought I might test out the query and new opening of a novel I had at first given up on, and that I recently revised. Wish me luck. 🙂
If you’re interested in participating in the contest, here is a link.
I would really appreciate comments and advice. Thanks!
Title: The Faithful Son
Genre: Myth, Historical Fantasy Adult/YA crossover
Word Count: 85,000
QUERY: (revised as per reviews)
Amargi would do anything to earn his father’s respect, like break his back in the stables all day long, then stay up all night to teach himself to read and write Sumerian, the language of royalty. But gaining worth in his father’s eyes is no easy task, as Aga, king of Kish, is distant and cruel, and has little use for a bastard son. Luckily, Amargi has allies: Peshtur, a temple girl training to be priestess, and Xani, the king’s sister, who are both willing to share their knowledge of Sumerian history and cult magic to help Amargi navigate the city’s deadly politics.
With the help of these women, Amargi discovers an opportunity to earn his father’s trust: he must fight and kill Gilgamesh, a rival warrior king. But Amargi is a boy, and Gilgamesh is not only a seasoned warrior; he’s also a demigod. When the two finally meet, Gilgamesh proves worthy of his legendary talents and wastes no time in making a joke of Amargi before everyone who matters. Now the fight is personal. Caught in the rivalry between the two most powerful kings of Sumer, Amargi must quickly learn to navigate the reuses, treachery, and politics ruling his violent world trusting only in himself. He must move quickly, if he’s to reclaim the dignity that Gilgamesh stole from him and save himself and the women he loves from his father’s destructive ambitions.
The Faithful Son is a retelling of the Sumerian Gilgamesh poems. It is 85,000 words and an adult/YA crossover historical fantasy set in ancient Sumer in the year 2600 B.C. Myth lovers and ancient history buffs will enjoy this coming of age story, where the struggle for power and supremacy threatens to destroy family, love, and freedom.
FIRST 250 WORDS:
Peshtur scuttled quietly along the temple’s darkened hallways, hoping to pass unnoticed through the busy footwork of acolytes readying offerings for the morning ceremonies. A girl who balanced a tray of cakes and spiced meat for the gods noticed her and gave her a perfunctory nod. Peshtur turned away, pretending to admire the floating candles in a clay basin at the feet of the water goddess, Nin Imma. She felt the secret missal tucked into the sleeve of her long cloak, the clay still soft and wet. She had no time to wait for the tablet to dry. The merchant said he’d sail at dawn. She had to leave the temple now, unnoticed.
If someone recognized her, and found the missal on her, she’d be lashed to within an inch of her life, chained to the city gates until she starved or bled to death. She chased away her fears. Her life was nothing compared to the needs of her lord, the only true light of her life. As she crossed the sanctuary, Peshtur bowed to every altar and every god, feigning devotion : Emesh of the forest, with sprigs of fennel wood; Lahar of the cattle, with copper bells and woolen robes. Before Isimud, the two-faced messenger, she dropped to her knees and placed a silver coin in the offering basket.
“Forgive,” she whispered. For all the lies she’d had to tell in this hallowed home; for all the people she was about to betray. “And bless my mission,” she added, quickly rising to her feet.