Some of you have been clamoring for a peek at my fantasy manuscript, The Eye of the Serpent, for well over a year now. Terribly superstitious regarding that sort of thing, I have been reticent to post any material for fear of jinxing the whole book deal. And since Matt Bialer has submitted the manuscript to a number of editors, I don't want to do something that could hurt our chances. . .

Many have asked for a synopsis, of course. The problem is that the only existing synopsis of the tale is an 8-page detailed outline containing every single spoiler one could dream of. Understandably, there's no way I could post this online. Another problem is that I suck when it comes to summarize my own work. Hence, there is no "sneak peek" synopsis of The Eye of the Serpent available. Or is there. . ?

Following my posting of Richard Morgan's pitch for The Steel Remains, some of you have renewed their attack, asking to see something similar from me. This got me thinking, and I recalled sending Matt Bialer what could be construed as a synopsis last fall, in an attempt to pique his curiosity enough so he would ask to see some sample chapters. Well, Matt was intrigued and he really enjoyed the sample material, and then requested the whole manuscript. A few weeks later, after bringing the ms with him on a business trip on the West Coast with Tad Williams, Matt signed me up and I became a client of the prestigious Sanford J. Greenburger Associates literary agency!

Those few paragraphs helped me get one of the top agents in the country, so hopefully it will satisfy your curiosity.:-) Because that's all you guys are getting, at least for the time being. . .

Here's an excerpt from the email:

«My main goal when I originally began to write the manuscript was no different than that of every writer: Create a rich and complex world, and assemble an endearing, involving core of characters, while mapping out what I considered an ambitious story arc. There was also a question of originality: I wanted the story to consist of substantial plotting, inventive magics, layered intrigues, as well as a vivid and colorful landscape. I also wished to make a refreshing use of traditional fantasy elements, in an attempt to make them both familiar and fascinating. A big fan of Katherine Kurtz, I also wanted religion to play a major role.

One of the most important thing was that I wanted no heroes. Too cliché, overdone, what I wanted was an anti-hero. But that can be tricky, and I wished to stay away from a character like Thomas Covenant because that can come back to bite you in the ass before you know it. So at the heart of the story lies Keltor, a young swordsman who believed he knows everything and who has yet to encounter a problem that cannot be remedied by force. He's a bully and not the sharpest tool in the shed. But he'll soon discover that he knows little and that he's nowhere near as good as he believes himself to be. Through a number of "humbling" experiences, Keltor grows on the reader. Somewhat of a coward at heart, he is no hero, however, just someone trying to escape his destiny at every turn. But fate is not so easily sidestepped. . .

What is THE EYE OF THE SERPENT about? It's difficult to put it in a nutshell. When I sat down to write the manuscript, I wanted to write a stand-alone novel. But in the back of my mind, it was nevertheless the opening chapter of a much bigger tale. I was trying to emulate authors such as Robert Jordan, George R. R. Martin and Steven Erikson, after all. . . Let's see if I can sum it all up in a few sentences.

Prophesied centuries earlier by the Mad Prophet, the Dark Times are a catastrophe that threatens to engulf the entire continent of Kendarion. Only a handful of men and women, selected by destiny eons before, stand against the evil that will unwittingly be unleashed by mankind upon the world. Those unsuspecting souls have been brought together by Aldarion akar'Del. The greatest Diviner of his era, he foresaw the Vision of Doom -- a terrifying window onto a dreadful future ahead. Chosen by fate to become the Gatherer, the old Mage's task is to somehow prepare the world for the coming of the Dark Times. But destiny or not, he has decided that he wouldn't go down without a fight.

Little does Keltor know that, by accepting a new commission as a caravan guard, he has become entangled into akar'Del's designs. Unbeknownst to him is the fact that Keltor figures among those who will somehow oppose the evil which will bring about the Dark Times. Ignorant, he travels toward the Sarandian capital of Asterlyn with the caravan. Yet he'll soon discover that there is more to these people than meets the eye.

In the meantime, in the capital city of the prosperous kingdom of Sarandia, the royal family is afflicted by several tragedies. Queen Katayrina has been suffering from an unknown form of illness that leaves her incapacitated. No cure has yet been found, not even by the renowned Hanar'elavy -- the Magehood's Healers. Ayrton, second son of King Breggar Gallarian, has recently experienced a frightening ordeal when the Talent -- the ability to channel the Shyr -- suddenly manifested itself. Aware that he is Mageborn, Ayrton announced to the royal court that he would leave for Katan Amnor, capital of the kingdom of Agradhar, to study under the tutelage of the Mages. The Church of Light, which condemns all uses of magic, proclaimed that Prince Ayrton has been cursed with the Devil's Gift and that the royal family, House Amelasian, is no longer in the Creator's favor. Zealous Church fanatics sought to assassinate the young man twice without success. Following the two assassination attempts, the Sarandian king requested that an escort be provided by the Magehood to protect his son on his way to Agradhar. But to his dismay, the High Council of Magic chose to send the High Executioner, Zandar Aurak Camonel, to escort the young prince to Katan Amnor. Disconcerted, the king realizes that there might be more to his son's Talent than he had ever anticipated.

At the Academy of Katan Amnor, seat of power of the Magehood, the unexpected return of Aldarion akar'Del from his self-imposed exile leaves no one indifferent. Rumors of the end of the world begin to circulate, frightening the population in their wake. Confidence in the current Magister has begun to dwindle within the council, a fact that is not lost on any member of the Magehood. Several Archmages will attempt to utilize the chaotic situation caused by akar'Del's return against the Magister.

Back in Asterlyn, with the prince gone the civil unrest is increasing as Bishop Renvye continues to foment disorder. He has received a missive from Melkiev, seat of power of the Church of Light, in which the Archbishop grants his unconditional support so that the clergyman might turn the capital in a new bastion dedicated to the Church. As the tension in the capital escalates, an armed conflict seems inevitable. As the situation degenerates, Darrick Marion, Head of House Wermun, has begun to plot against the Sarandian ruler. Along with a number of powerful families, the nobleman wishes to utilize the unrest to bolster his claim to the Sun Crown. With Ayrton out of the succession and because the princess has no claim to the throne, only the firstborn remains as the heir.

As Keltor and the rest of the caravan reach Asterlyn, and as Ayrton and his escort arrive in Katan Amnor, a violent earthquake shakes the entire continent, unearthing a city believed to have been cast into oblivion. Within its ruins, a long-forgotten entity will return to the world of men, eager to exact its vengence on those who imprisoned it.

Chaos, as they say, ensues. After working for so long on this fantasy story, I would welcome your expert opinion on this material.»

It's much more complex than that, I'm afraid. But there was no way to summarize every storyline in a few parapraphs. Happy now!?! I certainly hope so, for this is all I've got for you!;-)

12 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

Sounds great! So the manuscript has been picked up by a publisher?

Unknown said...

Sweet. Where can I preorder it?


Patrick said...

Nope, the manuscript hasn't been picked up yet. So if anyone out there is interested, contact my agent!;-)

Anonymous said...

Wow. Plenty of everything that I like in there. Action, intrigue, magic, epic stuff. Good luck, Patrick! Hope we see it in stores before too long!

Anonymous said...

Wow, it sounds great. I'd read it.

Mat said...

I'll certainly give it a try! No need to hurry with a publisher though, I'm swamped with work and still have to read alot of other books :)

So, as far as I am concerned, take your time to pick the best!

Anonymous said...

Do you have a chapter called "The Eye of Argon"?

he weather beaten trail wound ahead into the dust racked
climes of the baren land which dominates large portions of the
Norgolian empire. Age worn hoof prints smothered by the sifting
sands of time shone dully against the dust splattered crust of
earth. The tireless sun cast its parching rays of incandescense
from overhead, half way through its daily revolution. Small
rodents scampered about, occupying themselves in the daily
accomplishments of their dismal lives. Dust sprayed over three
heaving mounts in blinding clouds, while they bore the burdonsome
cargoes of their struggling overseers.
"Prepare to embrace your creators in the stygian haunts of
hell, barbarian", gasped the first soldier.
"Only after you have kissed the fleeting stead of death,
wretch!" returned Grignr.
A sweeping blade of flashing steel riveted from the massive
barbarians hide enameled shield as his rippling right arm thrust
forth, sending a steel shod blade to the hilt into the soldiers
vital organs. The disemboweled mercenary crumpled from his
saddle and sank to the clouded sward, sprinkling the parched dust
with crimson droplets of escaping life fluid.

David Forbes said...

Patrick, I sympathize with the problem of summarizing one's own work. I suck at it as well. I'm really glad I didn't have to write the jacket blurbs for my books. Ugh.

This sounds similar to the description you sent me in an email way back when.

Now, your next task is to shrink it down to a five sentence paragraph.

Patrick said...

David: It should sound similar, because it's basically the same damned thing!

Anonymous said...

Interesting choices. What made you go with characters with apostrophes in their names?

Big D said...

Sounds like a great read! Good luck with finding a publisher!

I discovered your blog about a week ago and it was become my favorite spot on the net. I am really enjoying your reviews, interviews, articles and lists. I am planning on using your blog as a kind of map through the worlds of fantasy. I had a habit for a number of years of buying books much faster than I read them. So Jordan, Eddings, Brooks, Martin, Hobb, Williams, Donaldson, Pratchett, Lynch, Novik, Erikson etc. and I have a lot of catching up to do. Thanks for running such a great blog.

Patrick said...

Silverhawk: I aim to please, though it doesn't always work! Hope you'll find your time spent in these parts worthwhile...:-)

Regarding names, well I wanted them to have that "fantasy" feel to them. No Robert, Richard or Kevin in my tales, I'm afraid...