Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An Agent's Inbox #16

Dear Mystery Agent,

When most people have a mid-life crisis, they buy a fancy carriage. When Komak Cer-Marin has a mid-life crisis, he teams up with a murderer and a possessed healer to stop death itself.

On parchment, Komak has everything a man could desire: status, wealth, family. In reality, status and wealth feel hollow with no legacy, and he would cheerfully murder his brothers if his hands stayed clean. When enigmatic traveler Sedhan offers Komak the chance to create an artifact that halts death, Komak can’t resist a lasting legacy to rub in his brothers’ faces. 

But the journey doesn’t come without problems. Sedhan is wanted by dragonriders for murder and by a goddess for breach of contract. A possessed healer joins them, fleeing the death sentence of her half-elf heritage. Together, the three lie and kidnap to gather the materials they need. When betrayal results in a death, Komak must decide what gives his life more meaning: achieving the legacy he’s always wanted, no matter the cost, or staking his life for morals he didn’t know he had.

With its dark atmosphere, flawed characters and religious overtones, PRISONER OF FATE, an adult high fantasy of 129,000 words, has series potential. Fans of Brian Staveley’s THE LAST MORTAL BOND or Jay Kristoff’s NEVERNIGHT will enjoy this book.

I’m a member of the Atlanta Writers Club and an avid fantasy reader. This is my first novel. I’ve included below my first 250 words. The full manuscript is available upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



Komak muttered a word, drummed his fingers on the council chamber’s table, and watched the cowlick on his brother Brannon’s head dance in the conjured breeze.

Petty? Yes. Beneath his station? Certainly. Deeply satisfying? Without doubt.

Brannon continued his lecture on the Guild of Dragonesse’s planned increase in taxes, but the cowlick waving back and forth undermined the issue’s severity. Komak lowered his head, hiding beneath his mane of greying golden hair, and covertly surveyed the room.

Surrounded by ensorcelled globes of light and heavy woven tapestries, twelve of them sat around the polished oak table: Komak, Brannon, their three other brothers, and an assortment of seven stewards and leaders of the Rule. The latter kept their faces carefully neutral, but Komak’s brothers didn’t bother. A wave of snickers rustled between them.

Malachi, in particular, made no effort to conceal his amusement; he hated Brannon as much as Komak did, perhaps more given that Malachi was the second son and Brannon the first. The lines of his face creased deeply as he chuckled and glanced at Komak from the corner of his eye--a temporary truce in honor of Brannon’s embarrassment. Komak inclined his head.

Sadly, Brannon wasn’t an idiot, and the lack of tension at his words didn’t escape his notice. He stopped speaking, fixating each of them with his piercing blue eyes. Komak met Brannon’s glare, trying to appear innocent, eyes wide and the line of his mouth straight, but Brannon wasn’t buying it. “A’hdali’s bones, Komak!"


Dianne Gardner said...

An interesting premise which seems to be a very exciting novel.
After reading everything and going back to the query, the first line confuses me. When I think of carriage I see a Victorian or Edwardian era and this is clearly a different setting. Perhaps you can ground us in the world at the beginning with just a simple word or two so that we know this is a high fantasy and not a historical world.

I love the premise of Komak being offered an artifact that halts death. I'm immediately curious as to the outcome so you did good here, drawing us in.


I see that you want to introduce us to your characters and their little nuances, but even though these character traits you are showing us are interesting, they don't grab me as there isn't a lot of action. Is there some incident in the story you can bring forward to grab us, and the bring us to this scene?

I don't read a lot of epic fantasy of this length, so I may be wrong here so just take this suggestion as a grain of salt if you want. You write well. Good luck with this!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the previous comment. The word choice of carriage did put me in the Victorian era. Then, reading on, I had to shift my thinking. But the premise is great and I am intrigued at the potential of what will be. The opening page contains strong writing.

Rachel Berros said...

Overall, the story is intriguing. But, I agree with the others, the query kept surprising me, which I don't think is a good thing. I do believe you wove the different aspects of your fantasy in well, but I kept thinking "oh, that's in it too? Oh wait, that too? Wait, where, when, what genre is this?"

Perhaps it would help to put your meta data paragraph up first for this query.

As for your pages, unfortunately, I didn't get through the 3rd paragraph. The prose was fairly flowery and I had to read several of the sentences twice to understand their points. I know high fantasy requires lots of world building and setting, but a little can go a long way. Perhaps try a few less descriptors per sentence, or break the sentences up a little more to focus on only one thing at a time.
Good luck!

Lisa Leoni said...

I really like your query and opening words! The query felt concise and like you put careful thought into each word. The bit that gave me pause was the first reference of half-elf. Maybe add that on the character's first reference so we don't learn of it the same time as the importance.

The opening line of your book had me cracking up! Great characterization.

The Agent said...

So this is an interesting way to start a query because you don't normally put mid-life crisis together with "fancy carriage" - this makes me realize right away that this is historical fiction, and an adult novel. Well done!

I was a bit confused by this sentence: "In reality, status and wealth feel hollow with no legacy, and he would cheerfully murder his brothers if his hands stayed clean." - I don't exactly understand what you mean by "legacy" and what that has to do with killing one's brothers.

Oh wow in paragraph three I realize that this is actually a fantasy novel - so I would try to make the clearer earlier on - could very well be historical fantasy, but I still didn't know there was anything fantastical until now.

But I do love a good fantasy novel, so I'm curious to see the writing and how all these elements are handled: dragonriders,elves and goddesses sounds to me a bit ambitious when this was reading like a solidly historical, but I'm curious enough to read on.

The text:

It wasn't exactly clear to me in the first sentence that Komak actually summoned the breeze - perhaps make the clearer but I do like your second sentence.

I would say "twelve men" or "twelve council members" rather than "twelve of them" - it's not descriptive enough.

What is the difference between the Guild of Dragonesse and "The Rule" - are all the people at this table members of both? I might want this to be made clearer.

But this is not the typical way to start a fantasy novel and I like the humor and playfulness here - it feels like there might be potential here, I'd read on.

Danielle M said...

Thanks for the feedback all! I will definitely be fixing that opening line, since it's causing a lot of confusion.