TREASON - Historical Mystery

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androidblues
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Re: TREASON - Historical Mystery

Post by androidblues » November 1st, 2010, 4:12 pm

I wonder why colleges don't offer classes on query writing. Then Professors could teach Ms. Snark or Querk Shark like they do Shakespeare and Lord Byron.
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Jaligard
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Re: TREASON - Historical Mystery

Post by Jaligard » November 2nd, 2010, 3:32 pm

I really like this query, but I'm a sucker for British history. I don't have too much advice for you. (I prefer the opening sentence as is. With 1644, Parliament, York, and rebellion, I know exactly where we're at. You've spelled it out, no need to dumb it down or sound out the letters.)

I did have one question, mostly to satisfy my curiosity: were women/people purned for petty treason? I thought burning was reserved for religious crimes (heracy). Even witches were hanged in England.

Good luck with the project!

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airball
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Re: TREASON - Historical Mystery

Post by airball » November 2nd, 2010, 6:04 pm

Jaligard wrote:I did have one question, mostly to satisfy my curiosity: were women/people purned for petty treason? I thought burning was reserved for religious crimes (heracy). Even witches were hanged in England.
It depended. In theory the crimes that directly attacked the social, political, or religious order (heresy or treason), were punished with burning. In many cases, the actual sentence was the more lenient hanging, but it didn't have to be. I went with burning for two reasons. First, the drama is better. Second, it fit with the plot. England is in the midst of a rebellion (aka treason by a whole lot of people) and naturally enough the royalists who controlled the city are going to take a pretty hard line on this issue.

I appreciate the encouragement not to revise the first sentence. I thought about it for a bit, and then realized that the agents I target will be those who have represented historical fiction in the past, and they will know the time and place without my hitting them over the head with it.

In any case, here's the 'final' version (as of today). The only change (I think) is in that middle paragraph which I refocused on Bridget. Thanks again to everyone for your help. Now all I have to do is rewrite the thing.


It is 1644, and Parliament’s armies have risen against the King and laid siege to the city of York. Even as the city suffers at the rebels’ hands, midwife Bridget Hodgson becomes embroiled in a different sort of rebellion. One of Bridget’s friends, Esther Cooper, has been convicted of murdering her husband and – like other mutinous women – is sentenced to be burnt alive. Esther proclaims her innocence and begs Bridget to help clear her name. Bridget believes that her friend has been wrongly convicted, and sets out to find the real killer.

Bridget is joined in her search by a new apprentice, Martha Hawkins, who has fled to York to start a new life. Martha proves a quick study in the delivery room, and Bridget has high hopes for her protégé’s future. But when the two women are attacked in a dark alley, she sees another side of Martha, as she shows herself far more skilled with a knife than any respectable woman ought to be.

To save Esther from the stake, Bridget and Martha must dodge rebel artillery, confront a murderous figure from Martha’s past, and capture a brutal killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. The investigation takes Bridget and Martha from the homes of the city’s most powerful families to the alleyways and brothels of its poorest neighborhoods. As they delve into the life of Esther’s murdered husband, they discover that his ostentatious Puritanism hid a multitude of sins, and that far too often tyranny and treason go hand in hand.


TREASON is a 90,000-word historical mystery, and the first in potential series set in Revolutionary England. I have a doctorate in history with a focus on early modern Britain, and have published articles on the history of midwifery in top historical journals. This is my first novel.
Sam Thomas
Author of The Midwife's Story: A Mystery due out from St. Martin's Press in 2013
Website: http://www.samthomasbooks.com
Team Blog= http://bloodygoodread.blogspot.com

Down the well
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Re: TREASON - Historical Mystery

Post by Down the well » November 2nd, 2010, 7:28 pm

airball wrote:It is 1644, and Parliament’s armies have risen against the King and laid siege to the city of York. Even as the city suffers at the rebels’ hands, midwife Bridget Hodgson becomes embroiled in a different sort of rebellion. One of Bridget’s friends, Esther Cooper, has been convicted of murdering her husband and – like other mutinous women – is sentenced to be burnt alive. Esther proclaims her innocence and begs Bridget to help clear her name. Bridget believes that her friend has been wrongly convicted, and sets out to find the real killer.

Bridget is joined in her search by a new apprentice, Martha Hawkins, who has fled to York to start a new life. Martha proves a quick study in the delivery room, and Bridget has high hopes for her protégé’s future. But when the two women are attacked in a dark alley, she sees another side of Martha, as she shows herself far more skilled with a knife than any respectable woman ought to be.

To save Esther from the stake, Bridget and Martha must dodge rebel artillery, confront a murderous figure from Martha’s past, and capture a brutal killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. The investigation takes Bridget and Martha from the homes of the city’s most powerful families to the alleyways and brothels of its poorest neighborhoods. As they delve into the life of Esther’s murdered husband, they discover that his ostentatious Puritanism hid a multitude of sins, and that far too often tyranny and treason go hand in hand.

TREASON is a 90,000-word historical mystery, and the first in potential series set in Revolutionary England. I have a doctorate in history with a focus on early modern Britain, and have published articles on the history of midwifery in top historical journals. This is my first novel.
The only thing I'm getting hung up on is the line in the first paragraph, but it isn't that big of a deal. I know how much you want to get across the fact that the murder is more than just murder. And you know what? I didn't even miss the part about the midwife skills aiding in the investigation. Maybe it is better to leave it out.

Just my opinion, but I think you're ready to send this out to five or ten agents and see what kind of response you get. Looks good! Best of luck.

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androidblues
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Re: TREASON - Historical Mystery

Post by androidblues » November 2nd, 2010, 7:30 pm

I like it. Just get rid of the last line. Unless you've had previously published books the agent will assume that this is your first novel.
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Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I never want to hear the screams of the teenage girls in other people's dreams.

In the real word as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems.

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