Title: UNDER A BURNING SKY
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 77,000
My YA Fantasy UNDER A BURNING SKY, complete at 77,000 words, is set in a world based heavily on ancient Sumer (a region in modern-day Iraq).
Sixteen-year-old Erishti misses the days when people smiled at her. When she'd drag herself up the side of the ziggurat at an ungodly hour to make an offering, the priestess would pat her on the shoulder and beam in pride. The other cooks in the palace kitchen would offer sympathetic grins when she'd get chewed out by the head cook. Her best friend, Rehat, would laugh when she'd tell him the head cook should get eaten by a goat.
Then they discovered her deepest secret: she's the illegitimate byblow of the late king. Now her serving friends in her strictly class-based society are afraid to so much as look at her, lest her royal gaze strike them down. All except Rehat, a scribe-in-training, with whom she thinks she might finally be able to have a future.
Until she discovers the queen wants her dead.
To save her life, Erishti flees to the only place no one will follow: an enchanted prison housing her land's seven ancient gods, locked away a century ago by a king sick of their propensity for mayhem and ruin. The twisted gods offer to help Erishti get her life back, but at a price: she must release them, loosing them onto her people and everything in the world she holds dear.
UNDER A BURNING SKY should appeal to fans of accessible high fantasy like Leigh Bardugo's SHADOW AND BONE and Rachel Hartman's SERAPHINA. Thank you for your time and consideration.
One of the two things Princess Gemeti and I had in common was that we were born under skies that cried fire. The priestesses, high and mighty atop their golden ziggurat, said the fistfuls of flame that rained upon us those two days were good omens.
Maybe the burning sky was lucky for Gemeti. She entered this world swaddled in silk and flurried with kisses from everybody in the palace complex of Kish, a feathered headdress already crowning her tiny head. The entire kingdom sang her name, from the fishermen on the banks of the great river to the peasants in their mud-brick hovels.
On the other hand, maybe it hadn't been so lucky for Gemeti, because now she was dead. Don't ask me how—I don't want to start off by having to lie to you.
It certainly hadn't been lucky for me, or for my mother. She'd nearly bled out over the dirt floor of the slave infirmary, howling into a pillow as not to disturb the free patients in the next room. The thatch roof above her head kept igniting and showering ashes over her face, choking her with the taste of charred wood. She had only a few hours to pet my head and coo into my ear before she handed me over to a wet nurse. She had to get back to her work in the kitchen.
The only thing lucky for me about that sky was that, underneath, I was born free.
This morning, I woke again to a burning sky.