Title: A TERROR OF DARKNESS
Genre: YA historical fantasy
Word Count: 67,000
If living in the slums of Paris during the Terror has taught seventeen-year-old Rose Estienne one thing, it’s how to keep her neck out from beneath the guillotine’s blade: never talk to strangers. Especially if those strangers are aristocrats, clergymen, or werewolves. Rose is well aware that werewolves are nothing but gypsy scum, magical aberrations that don’t align with the laws of reason, monsters that are sure to get her killed if they don’t finish the job themselves.
At least, she is well aware of it until she catches a werewolf trying to steal her mother’s washing.
When Rose comes face-to-face with Avar, she does not see a monster: she sees a boy not unlike herself, starving and alone and afraid. And when one of the city’s militant poor tries to kill Avar, she cannot help but stop the attack – an action that casts her as a traitor just like him.
Rose and Avar escape, but her family is arrested and thrown into prison, guilty by association. She has neither money nor political connections; her only option is to break her family out before they pay for her decision with their lives. Rose turns to the one person she can trust not to betray her to the police: Avar. He’s reluctant to help – he has spent his whole life running away, and as they tackle the defenses of the Conciergerie prison, his courage falters. But Rose, who always spills coffee and tears clothes, is the only thing standing between her family and the guillotine, and she is determined that this time, she will do something right.
A TERROR OF DARKNESS is a YA historical fantasy complete at 67,000 words. I hope it will appeal to readers who like the combination of realism and the supernatural in Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty and Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races. I am a writing major at Ithaca College, with a minor in history. My publishing experience includes writing the jacket copy and chapter blurbs for a series of “step-by-step” cookbooks from Flame Tree Publishing in London, as well as two literary agency internships in 2012.
When the werewolf howled, Rose stabbed her sewing needle into her thumb. She ignored the blood that smeared onto the shirt she had been mending and instead jumped to her feet, rushing to put an arm around her younger sister’s shoulders. Amalie shrank away from the grimy window they had been sitting beside, hiding from the monstrous sound within her sister’s arms. But even though Rose clutched Amalie to her with just as much fear, even though every hair stood up on the back of her neck, she could not help but peer out the window, searching the shadowed streets for whatever creature had made that low, bloodcurdling howl.
The streets below were bathed in the burnt glow of sunset, which transformed the muddy cobblestones into dusky gold and caused the houses of Saint Marcel to look less like buildings that had been pressed together between the pages of a book and more like haunted ruins, but the strange light did not reveal the crooked shadow of a werewolf. It was odd that they could hear one at all. Werewolves had not come close to Paris in years, not since the winter of 1789, the winter when it had been possible to freeze to death simply by trying to walk across the city. The wolves had circled in then, just as cold and hungry as the humans but by far more bloodthirsty for it. Rose would not mistake a werewolf howl, not after she had lain awake listening that winter.