Title: UNDER A BURNING SKY
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word count: 74,000
The city of Kish hasn't seen murder in over a hundred years, thanks to the long-ago king who imprisoned all such evils beneath the sacred ziggurat. At least, that's what the legend says.
Sixteen-year-old Erishti is too practical to believe such childish tales. Dreaming is for princesses like her half-sister Gemeti, not illegitimate daughters of the late king and a slave like herself. Erishti is content with her work in the palace kitchen (those times Gemeti's favorite honey cakes ended up tragically oversalted were mistakes. Promise).
Then Gemeti vanishes, and distant cousins of the king start turning up dead. Not just dead—murdered. It shouldn't even be possible, but someone seems to be cutting down everybody who has even the slightest trace of royal blood.
Erishti is next.
To save her life, Erishti is forced to flee to the only place no one will find her: the prison beneath the ziggurat. There lurk all the land's great evils, who have been oozing out bit by bit through cracks in the gate. Those tastes of freedom have made them seethe for more, so they offer Erishti a deal: they'll find Gemeti and clear up the great royal conspiracy that threatens her life, the lives of her loved ones, and the health of the land… if she lets them go free.
UNDER A BURNING SKY, complete at 74,000 words, is set in a world based on ancient Sumer (a region in modern-day Iraq) and will appeal to fans of accessible high fantasy like Leigh Bardugo's SHADOW AND BONE and Rae Carson's THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS. 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.