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Shield & Crocus Query
Michael R Underwood
Posted: Saturday, March 5, 2011 5:10 PM
Joined: 3/3/2011
Posts: 74


As mentioned in this thread: http://www.bookcountry.com/Community/Discussions/Default.aspx?id=100323

I've been having mediocre responses to the query letter for my novel Shield & Crocus.  It was suggested that I post the letter, so here we go.

First Sentinel is getting old, and one of these days his damnfool crusade is going to get him killed. For fifty long years, he's lead a team of super-powered freedom fighters in a city besieged by magical storms and run by five infighting tyrants.  He's lost the love of his life and countless friends in the fight, and most days he keeps himself running on guilt and rage. But now he faces a difficult choice. One of the tyrants--a gangster with deep pockets and no mercy--has come to him with a deal that would end the storms forever... an offer too appealing to dismiss.

 

First Sentinel and his team, the Shields of Audec-Hal, take the gangster’s bargain and launch a series of increasingly desperate missions to free the city.  The Shields must drive a wedge between the tyrants, or the upcoming summit between the five will spell certain death for their rebellion.

 

Shield & Crocus is a 90,000 word fantasy infused with superhero action.  If China Mieville wrote Astro City, the result would look like Shield & Crocus.  


My work has appeared in Escape Pod and Crossed Genres.  I am a graduate of the 2007 Clarion West Writers Workshop.


Ellie Isis
Posted: Sunday, March 6, 2011 3:46 PM
Joined: 3/4/2011
Posts: 60


Looks like something I'd enjoy reading. I'm working on a superhero novel, myself (and posting it here). You do have an error in line 2. He's led a team, not lead.
Jill Myles
Posted: Sunday, March 6, 2011 9:08 PM
Joined: 2/26/2011
Posts: 13


I'm afraid of having my comments cut off, so I'm going to keep this shortish. You need a gentle lead-in (Dear agent, I am seeking rep for my adult fantasy blah blah blah, which is blah blah long and will appeal to fans of blah) at the beginning, not at the end. I also think that your comparison, while clever, might also be offputting to an agent as it comes across as too confident (more on the next comment).
Jill Myles
Posted: Sunday, March 6, 2011 9:11 PM
Joined: 2/26/2011
Posts: 13


Also, I found your plot summary a little confusing - I think you have too many elements. He's an old freedom fighter who seems to be fighting against corrupt gangs, some mysterious storms, AND the tyrants. You're throwing a lot of world at the reader all at once and I'd prefer for the story to focus in on one of these things (not all three) so you can let your main character shine in his uniqueness. Does that make sense? Because I'd totally read a story about an aging, bitter superhero, but you
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Sunday, March 6, 2011 9:40 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 356


You need to be careful with the China Mieville/Astro City comparison, primarily because you are making a very large assumption that the agents you are querying read superhero comics. Additionally, Kurt Busiek comics are not household names like many of the DC/Marvel superhero comics. Also, you really don't have a hook of any sort. I can't tell what's at stake here. What exactly is his crusade? It;s really difficult to tell what kind of book this is: contemporary fantasy? High fantasy? Science fi
Michael R Underwood
Posted: Monday, March 7, 2011 3:30 PM
Joined: 3/3/2011
Posts: 74


Thanks to both Jill and Colleen for your good comments. I've tried another approach and hope that it's more clear and more accessible in its claims and descriptions. I’m seeking representation for my 90,000 word fantasy novel Shield & Crocus, which pits an aging superhero and his team against five infighting tyrants for the soul of a city built among the bones of a titan. First Sentinel has been fighting tyrants for fifty years, and he is losing hope. The benevolent goddess which protected
Michael R Underwood
Posted: Monday, March 7, 2011 3:44 PM
Joined: 3/3/2011
Posts: 74


I’m seeking representation for my 90,000 word fantasy novel Shield & Crocus, which pits an aging superhero and his team against five infighting tyrants for the soul of a city built among the bones of a titan. First Sentinel has been fighting tyrants for fifty years, and he is losing hope. The benevolent goddess which protected Audec-Hal has been co-opted by the tyrants and now uses her power to keep the citizens docile and afraid. He’s buried countless friends over the course of his crusade
Michael R Underwood
Posted: Monday, March 7, 2011 4:00 PM
Joined: 3/3/2011
Posts: 74


including the love of his life. As she died in his arms, he promised her he would protect her only son, whom he has raised as his own and now fights alongside his father. On the eve of talks that would solidify the uneasy alliance between the tyrants, one of their number, the gangster Nevri, offers the Shields a dangerous bargain that gives them the chance to drive a wedge between the tyrants and spoil their alliance. First Sentinel expects the trap, but cannot ignore the opportunity.
Michael R Underwood
Posted: Monday, March 7, 2011 4:00 PM
Joined: 3/3/2011
Posts: 74


The shields take the bargain and begin a series of increasingly dangerous missions to undermine the tyrants’ rule. But can they succeed now where they’ve failed for fifty years, or will their desperation spell the end of their rebellion and the failure of First Sentinel’s promise?

Shield & Crocus combines superhero action with a setting in the tradition of the New Weird cities such as Mieville’s New Crobuzon and VanderMeer’s Ambergris.

 

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