The three kingdoms in the river valley, a fantastical realm inspired by ancient Mesopotamia, are on the verge of collapse with unending drought and rising violence. Emory, the princess of the most powerful kingdom, receives an unexpected guest who claims a curse has gripped the land, causing dark spirits to rise. Feeding off hate, they possess the minds of men, causing senseless murders, and of beasts, causing them to emerge from seclusion and feed on human flesh at the outskirts of the cities.
Emory travels with her new acquaintance, who claims to be from the immortal realm, to an enemy kingdom, where the one who cast the curse was last seen. But before they can defeat him, her friend is killed.
Abandoned in enemy lands, where her mere identity imperils her and one misstep would mean death, Emory is captured by the enemy king and enslaved, beaten and starved to the brink of death. Then, the one who cast the curse appears before her, offering his aid in exchange for a favor. She agrees, but he then possesses her. Emory must rely on her knowledge of the curse, and newfound strength, to free herself of possession, and save the place she has always called home.
*Earlier versions of this, prior to feedback from NYC Pitch Conference:
In a time of drought and bloodshed, a diver returns from sea with a tale of dark shapes lurking in its depths. His claims are mocked by all except Emory, the princess of Tryn, who is driven to find an explanation. When an unexpected guest arrives in Tryn claiming a curse has gripped the land, only Emory believes him, and joins him on a mission to enemy lands. But when he is mysteriously killed, she alone must face the curse and stop impending war. Abandoned in desperate lands, where her mere identity imperils her and one misstep would mean death, she concocts a drastic plan for peace. But before she can complete it, she is ensnared by a darkness greater than she ever imagined, and is forced to partake in a menacing plot to destroy her world. Her knowledge of the curse, and bonds with new friends, may be the only thing to save her, and the place she has always called home.
**I included another earlier version below. I wanted the query to sound more urgent, with heightened stakes, and I changed the language to be more active than passive.
Emory, a princess living in the lavish palace of Tryn, yearns to see the world beyond her home. Her father warns her of growing tensions between neighboring kingdoms, so she resorts to old books to quench her curiosity. There, she reads of an ancient mystery about her kingdom. She worries she may never find answers to the questions it presents, until an unexpected guest arrives in Tryn. He offers her the explanations she seeks, and claims a curse is to blame for impending wars between kingdoms. His claims are widely dismissed, but Emory believes him; in hopes of ending the curse, she runs away from her home to follow him. But when he is mysteriously killed, Emory finds herself alone in desperate lands, more dangerous than she ever imagined. Before she can decide her next step, she encounters a sinister power and is ensnared in a menacing plot to destroy her world. She must rely on her faith in new-found friends and her knowledge of the ancient mystery to prevent war and make it home alive.
*I’ve finished several drafts of this novel and am currently submitting to literary agencies.
image reference: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dr_ozda/3409012448