Aug 6, 2010

Query- Reluctant Queen

Dear Super Agent,

Nitokerty never wanted to be Pharaoh. Until her brother was murdered.

The gods have turned their backs on Egypt: the harvests are poor, the Pharaoh weak, and the nobility grown too powerful. As the Pharaoh’s youngest (and most spoiled) daughter, Nitokerty is forced to serve the temples in an attempt to appease the gods. But they have other plans for her.

Nitokerty returns to court when her father dies and falls in love with Anum, a mysterious courtier. When her older sister dies in childbirth, custom dictates Nitokerty must marry her brother. Anum secretly plots to overthrow her brother and has him murdered. When her brother is assassinated, Nitokerty seizes the Double Crown to seek revenge, not knowing the traitor is Anum, the man she thought she loved. Her final act of revenge guarantees her name will be remembered by history.

Inspired by a single line from the histories of Herodotus, RELUCTANT QUEEN is the story of one of Egypt’s only female Pharaohs. It is historical fiction complete at 85,000 words.

I am a history teacher who has traveled to Egypt twice, in order to better tell Nitokerty’s story. I have completed a second novel set in ancient Egypt and am currently at work on another on the Byzantine Empire.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

7 comments:

Anonymous Author said...

This looks great to me. You tell the story neatly and cleanly, without extraneous details or unnecessary flourishes.

You tend to write the same kind of "and" sentences that I do, and I always catch myself doing stuff like this too:

"Nitokerty returns to court when her father dies and falls in love with Anum..."

You see the problem there, right? A very small one, though, and an easy fix.

Stacy McKitrick said...

The brother part of this confuses me. Is her "brother" murdered, or "brother-in-law"? I had to read it several times and I still don't understand whose brother she's forced to marry.

I think once you clear up that mystery, the query works okay. The story seems original to me (not that it's anything I would read, so maybe I'm not the best judge of that). Good luck in your submissions.

Anonymous said...

It's her own brother she has to marry, right? I think I remember that about Egypt. I'm a little worried that you might be taking the agent's knowledge of the practice for granted. On the other hand, I'm not sure how one handles compulsory incest delicately for a modern audience. I'd want to know how N feels about marrying her brother--does she love him?--partly as a tool to make sure we know it's HER brother (if it is), partly to show how incest will be handled in the book. It looks like you've got a good plot and an interesting heroine, at least.

--Zee Lemke

Bane of Anubis said...

Works well for me, SD, though AA's catch on the 'and' nit cracked me up... of course, her father could be a zombie who starts loving men in the afterlife ;)

Stephanie Thornton said...

Hmm... I think that might be the premise for book #4, Bane! ;)

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

Leah Raeder said...

Stephanie,

This pair of sentences tripped me up:

"Nitokerty returns to court when her father dies and falls in love with Anum, a mysterious courtier. When her older sister dies in childbirth, custom dictates Nitokerty must marry her brother."

Someone already referred to the (hilariously!) missing comma in the first, but I have a problem with the second sentence, too. Because Anum was the last subject we dealt with, the first clause of the second sentence almost seems to suggest that the "her" is Anum. The following clause corrects it, but because of the seesaw construction of these sentences and characters, it doesn't read smoothly to me.

I'd suggest tweaking the phrasing in that entire paragraph to parse better.

That aside, I LOVE the concept. I'm a big fan of Ancient Egyptian culture and history, and have longed for more fiction set in this period. Ancient Egypt + strong female Pharaoh(ess?) = total winner, for me.

Hope you get this one published. I'm pumped to read it.

Dominique said...

It's all fairly clean and present. I'm just not feeling an engaging voice to hook me in.