Dec 6, 2015

QUERY: THE TALISMANS OF SUMER

Darrin Rhodes is starting out at a new school, in a new country—and he does not fit in. He’s only half-Mexican in a land of proud descendants of an ancient race. And he was born with the rare disability of seeing only in black and white. And he is invincible.

Before his archaeologist father died in an excavation, he left Darrin a talisman that was sacred to the ancient people along with the instructions to never take it off. He also left him a frustratingly enigmatic old teacher who explains that Darrin now holds one of the eight Talismans of Sumer, powerful relics created by the gods at the dawn of civilization to grant their powers to their favorite civilizations.

The power of Time was given to the Aztecs, the power of Nature to the Mayans. But as the centuries passed, the people forgot about the gods and their gifts. Except for a powerful entity called the Shadow King, who has spent five thousand years hunting the Talismans, and a mysterious group of scholars and treasure hunters that call themselves The Hands of God. Darrin has no idea what his dad’s talisman does, but he quickly learns that there are those who do, and they want him dead.

The Powers of Time and Nature is a 110,000 word young adult historical fantasy novel planned for a series to include subsequent titles: The Powers of Earth and Heaven, The Powers of Life and Death, and The Powers of Order and Chaos.

Thank you for your consideration,

Shawn P. Butler
The Powers of Time and Nature
Book One of The Talismans Cycle

2 comments:

Shawn Butler said...

Thanks for posting, Rick! Got the current word count to 250. Debating the use of the word "invincible"--in the story, Wielders of the Talismans gain immortality, but I worry that "immortal" has been played out to agents/editors recently. Looking forward to good feedback from your readers! -Shawn

Rick Daley said...

I've been out of the query game for a while, so my critique will be rusty, but here it is for what it's worth...

To me, the query has several elements, and I'm not sure which is the primary driver behind the novel. There's the outcast in the first paragraph, orphan in the second, and what seems to be the real heart of the story in the third paragraph. In my opinion, you should get right to the heart.

I don't know how much you want to emphasize his immortal / invincible nature, it seems like that could lessen the impact of someone wanting to kill him, i.e. if he can't be killed, why does it matter that someone is trying?

Does he have a weakness, like is he only invincible if he wears the Talisman, but he's vulnerable without it? If so, show this, to raise the stakes, and allude to reasons he may want (or need) to take it off.

Try to distill your book down to a single sentence, then add to it.

Many will tell you not to mention the other books; some agents may like to know there is more, and a series that hooks can certainly go far, but you really want to emphasize that this book stands on its own.

I would drop historical from the description and call it YA Fantasy.

Best of luck to you, hopefully someone else is still watching this blog and will chime in!