Jul 15, 2009

Query - ACADIA, BOOK I: THE LOST KING AND THE GODDESS OF TIME

Have you heard of a place far in the cosmos called Acadia? No? Not surprising, for even the name is nothing but a whisper to most who know of its lore. Alien as it may sound; Acadia is a world much like ours. It is a world of strife and a world of harmony—a home to many heroes and to many villains. But what if the villain was a hero—the hero a villain?

In the years after the Great War, a proud king has sacrificed his own life to rid the world of an evil that consumed his body and now his soul. But his sacrifice goes in vain, for the evil survived and nested itself in the only thing most precious to him: his only son. Damont Langörn, a young lord of an estate, comes to learn the truth behind his blood and a cryptic prophecy that unfolds before him. Leaving him thus with only two choices: To bring a new era of peace to Acadia or to accept his ominous future that would bring another era of darkness and the death of the Acadian gods.

The future is inevitable. Damont Langörn, ruler of Acadia and the world of the divine, is challenged and slain by his once closest ally and friend: Derrick Avren. Instead of the void, the once middle-aged man wakes up in the farmlands of Garribus in the bloom of his youth, and recalls nothing but the chores he had to do. An ancient prophecy is soon revealed, and then comes to him visions of an uncertain future. Embarking on a quest with the aid of a sorceress and a hunter to fulfill a prophecy, Damont learns the truth of his parents. He is the child of an ancient king and the goddess of time, carrying in his veins a legendary bloodline: the house of Langörn!

Before the throne of Haldina, home to his ancestors, is relinquished into the birth of his reign, Damont is betrayed by the city’s steward, Duke Therodyll. The Duke has chosen another to entrust his realm: Derrick Avren, prince of the Empire of Zafrëal. With the god of war at his side, Derrick instigates a new war between the east and west—and one he plans to win. To avail his cause and to empower his name, the queen of the Kingdom of Illyiümia offers her crown and realm to Damont Langörn. But to win the war, Damont seeks an ancient weapon his father once wielded—the sword of cosmos! A sword that feasts upon his blood, and hungers for the blood of the divine; but through its power, Damont puts an end to the onslaught and invasion of Zafrëal. In the end, he reclaims the throne of his forefathers and brings peace to the war-torn lands with the death of the god of war, while sparing the life of Derrick Avren.

Little did he know that his dark and malevolent future still awaited him in the decades to come…

My novel of 189,000 words, ACADIA, BOOK I: THE LOST KING AND THE GODDESS OF TIME, is an epic fantasy aimed for general readers, but more hopefully, for readers who appreciate great works such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R Tolkien, the Shadowmarch trilogy by Tad Williams, and the Crown of Stars series by Kate Elliott.

Thank you once again for your time and patience in considering my query.

Best regards,

Ali M. Naqvi
(angeluztb@gmail.com)

5 comments:

Regan said...

Ali,

You've probably got some good ideas in here, but the way it's written right now I really have no idea what the story is about, what's at stake, or what the emotional themes are.

Remember that this is a query, not a synopsis--the goal is not to tell the reader every detail that's going on, just enough to peak their interest and give them a sense of what the protagonist must achieve.

I'd cut the entire opening paragraph and most parts of the others two. You want to start the query with a hook, one or two sentences that summarize the protagonist's quest, then use two or three (short!) paragraphs to explain why the quest is necessary and to build your world.

How thoroughly have you revised your book? Your word count is almost certainly too long. Debut authors have a hard time making sales (even in fantasy) for books that are over 120,000 or so words. It's not a hard and fast rule, but a lot of agents will reject based on your word count alone.

Hope this helps!

Rick Daley said...

Ali,

I agree with Regan.

Regarding the word count, if you check out the links on the right wide of the Slushpile, there's a great one from Colleen Lindsay regarding word count. Here's what she says about epic fantasy:

"Here's where most writers seem to have problems: most editors I've spoken to recently at major SF/F houses want books that fall into the higher end of the adult fiction you see above; a few of them told me that 100k words is the ideal manuscript size for good space opera or fantasy; for a truly spectacular epic fantasy, they'll consider 120k /130k."

It's worth noting that this feedback originates with editors at major SF houses...

Paul said...

I agree with the other 2 posters about the query/novel length issues.

Your first few sentences didn't really hold my attention, which isn't good in a query. The last line of the first paragraph piqued my interest, however. You might consider leading with some variation of that.

Also, watch your usage of rethorical questions. I don't really mind them (and my own current query uses one), but some agents can't stand them.

I hope I've been helpful, and I look forward to reading any revisions you make.

Word Verification: oksbelc - the sound you make when you hiccup and burp at the same time.

scott g.f. bailey said...

Ali,

I'm not sure where the actual story begins, and how much of this is preface, or back-story. My guess is that your book (which, as everyone else has already pointed out, is very long) also has a huge amount of setup before you get to the real conflict, the central drama of the story. I might suggest you kill two birds with one stone and cut a whole lot of the first part of your book if I'm right about there being a lot of back-story. Does the real drama begin when Damont wakes up in the farmlands? If so, I'd seriously consider getting rid of almost everything before that point.

This query is long and unfocused, and I'm betting that's reflected in the novel itself, which isn't a nice thing to hear, but it's likely what any agent reading this query is going to think. You'll save yourself a lot of grief if you think about your book's structure now, before you start to send out queries.

Christine H said...

Regarding your first sentence, are you aware that Acadia National Park is a real place, in Maine?