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We Are the Hunted (alternate history)


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#1 gigigriffis

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:00 AM

Thanks in advance for your feedback - and happy to return the favor if you want to point me toward your query.

 

---------------------------

Dear [agent],

 

It’s been 25 years since the Nazis won the Second World War.

 

The Jews have mostly disappeared. The Reich has expanded across three continents. And a single wrong word could get you killed.

 

It took two words to kill Markus Schneider’s father. Two words nine-year-old Markus said without thinking. Two words that brought the Nazis to his modest Austrian doorstep—and shattered his life.

 

Now an adult, Markus is guilt-wracked, unemployed, and lost. His only friend in the world is Frank—a man he grew up with and looked up to. A man who is now a high-ranking Nazi official on a mission to root out and destroy anti-state thinkers, rebels, and Jews.

 

When Frank recruits Markus to drive a truckload of prisoners to a concentration camp, Markus will be faced with an impossible choice: be complicit in the murder of children or become the person his best friend is hunting. His decision will change not only their friendship and their lives, but the future of the Reich itself.

 

Complete at 52,000 words, WE ARE THE HUNTED is an alternate history novel about resistance, redemption, and humanity in a world where none of it seems possible. It’s Man in the High Castle meets Atonement. A story of real consequences and real people in a surreal world.

 

I’m a career copywriter and travel writer with 15 years experience, an active blog and social media presence, and a background in marketing as well as writing. Previous publication credits include [publications here]. [Personalized reason I'm querying this agent.]

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

 

[contact info]


Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

Copywriter, Content Strategist, & Travel Guide Author

Blog  /  Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter


#2 JeffJustWrites

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:08 AM

Very interesting premise. Is this your first fiction book?

Others might say the MC isn't introduced quickly enough, but I think the world is concisely established in the opening lines and flows nicely into the MC. And you never specify what two words the MC said that got his father killed. Very clever.

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At vahrai u ihlókéon. At u Atavithion. 


#3 gigigriffis

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 09:17 AM

Thanks! Yes, it's my first. 

 

 

Very interesting premise. Is this your first fiction book?

Others might say the MC isn't introduced quickly enough, but I think the world is concisely established in the opening lines and flows nicely into the MC. And you never specify what two words the MC said that got his father killed. Very clever.


Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

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#4 ck16

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 10:55 AM

Thanks in advance for your feedback - and happy to return the favor if you want to point me toward your query.

 

---------------------------

Dear [agent],

 

It’s been 25 years since the Nazis won the Second World War. (The hook should introduce your main character first. The world building can be done along the way as we learn about the characters goals and stakes and how those fit into the world they live in)

 

The Jews have mostly disappeared. The Reich has expanded across three continents. And a single wrong word could get you killed.

 

It took two words to kill Markus Schneider’s father. Two words nine-year-old Markus said without thinking. Two words that brought the Nazis to his modest Austrian doorstep—and shattered his life. (This is your hook, and it's a good one, too. I think this should be where your query starts)

 

Now an adult, Markus is guilt-wracked, unemployed, and lost. His only friend in the world is Frank—a man he grew up with and looked up to. A man who is now a high-ranking Nazi official on a mission to root out and destroy anti-state thinkers, rebels, and Jews.

 

When Frank recruits Markus to drive a truckload of prisoners to a concentration camp, Markus will be faced with an impossible choice: be complicit in the murder of children or become the person his best friend is hunting. His decision will change not only their friendship and their lives, but the future of the Reich itself. (This is all well done in my opinion. it sets up the world and the stakes well. And again, you can mix in the worldbuilding stuff throughout this section.)

 

Complete at 52,000 words, WE ARE THE HUNTED is an alternate history novel (I've heard you should leave out the word novel since the agent already knows it's a novel. Just stick with genre) about resistance, redemption, and humanity in a world where none of it seems possible.  (Don't talk about thematic stuff in the query. Keep it about the plot basics and let the agent see the themes for themselves if they decide to read your manuscript). It’s Man in the High Castle meets Atonement. A story of real consequences and real people in a surreal world. 

 

I’m a career copywriter and travel writer with 15 years experience, an active blog and social media presence (You should probably include how much traffic your social media presence receives), and a background in marketing as well as writing. Previous publication credits include [publications here]. [Personalized reason I'm querying this agent.]

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

 

[contact info]

This is an overall well done query and an interesting premise! I'd definitely pick the book up and read it. Hope all of this helps you! Best of luck with querying :)



#5 Veldehar

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 11:25 AM

The premise is good, although I doubt it's uncommon. I'm not an alt-history kind of guy, but "the Nazis won" has got to be common. What sets this one apart? There's nothing here to suggest that to me.

 

Outside of any quibbles I might have with the repetitive nature of the phrasing... I have no idea what the story is, if I do, it's thin, which goes along with my next point. The word count disturbs me. 52,000 feels real short. One agent I looked at the other day has a query restriction: between 65k and 150k. So, 150k is stretching the common limit on one end, so 52k must be going mighty low, unless is middle grade or something? I don't know. 



#6 gigigriffis

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 12:48 PM

The premise is good, although I doubt it's uncommon. I'm not an alt-history kind of guy, but "the Nazis won" has got to be common. What sets this one apart? There's nothing here to suggest that to me.

 

Outside of any quibbles I might have with the repetitive nature of the phrasing... I have no idea what the story is, if I do, it's thin, which goes along with my next point. The word count disturbs me. 52,000 feels real short. One agent I looked at the other day has a query restriction: between 65k and 150k. So, 150k is stretching the common limit on one end, so 52k must be going mighty low, unless is middle grade or something? I don't know. 

 

Agents familiar with the genre should get a sense of what sets it apart (basically, no one has done the premise straight. There have been about 10 books written and nearly all have strange fantastical twists like multiple universes and cyborgs; one of the things that inspired the book is that I couldn't find the book I wanted to read...so I wrote it). 

And yes - 52k is definitely on the short end. Beta reads may unearth places that I can flesh out further (the book is about to go out to the second round of beta readers), but right now it feels complete to me. So I'd rather send it out with a low word count than add words for the sake of adding words. I've been told the word count will probably make agents cautious, but isn't usually a deal-breaker if the query and first page(s) knock it out of the park (so here's hoping).


Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

Copywriter, Content Strategist, & Travel Guide Author

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#7 Litgal

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 01:45 PM

You have wonderful voice--and let's face it that is as important in a query as in a manuscript. I can tell you've drafted and redrafted this. Would be interested to know if you've tried a round yet and with what result. Meanwhile I've run through (in blue) an picked a few nits. 



Thanks in advance for your feedback - and happy to return the favor if you want to point me toward your query.

 

---------------------------

Dear [agent],

 

It’s been 25 years since the Nazis won the Second World War.

 

The Jews have mostly disappeared. The Reich has expanded across three continents. And a single wrong word could get you killed.

 

It took two words to kill Markus Schneider’s father. Two words nine-year-old Markus said without thinking. Two words that brought the Nazis to his modest Austrian doorstep—and shattered his life.

 

Now an adult, Markus is guilt-wracked, unemployed, and lost. His only friend in the world [this is the first moment it feels cliched I wouldn't presume to tell you how to rephrase it but "only friend in the world" must go imo. What about collapsing this and the next into" His one remaining childhood friend, Frank, is now a high-ranking Nazi on a mission to X. He has a job to offer Markus--driving a truckload of prisoners to a concentration camp. Markus takes the job and is faced with an impossible choice: be complicit in the murder of children, or become one of the people his best friend is hunting." or something like that.And end there (see note below) My point is you can probably profitably collapse this paragraph and the next together and strip them to essentials so this letter continues to feel lean] is Frank—a man he grew up with and looked up to. A man who is now a high-ranking Nazi official on a mission to root out and destroy anti-state thinkers, rebels, and Jews.

 

When Frank recruits Markus to drive a truckload of prisoners to a concentration camp, Markus will be faced with an impossible choice: be complicit in the murder of children or become the person his best friend is hunting. [I would drop this as you don't need it and it frankly sort of tips your hand about what he does decide -- His decision will change not only their friendship and their lives, but the future of the Reich itself.]

 

Complete at 52,000 words, WE ARE THE HUNTED (complete at 52,000 words) is an alternate history novel about resistance, redemption, and humanity in a world where none of it seems those seem possible. It’s Man in the High Castle meets Atonement. [I get what you are going for here but I must warn you when you comp to heavy hitter titles a) you'd better deliver and b) there are lots of agents who just don't like it--I wish I had the most recent link to an article I read on "things agents hate in queries" because this topped the list pretty much] A story of real consequences and real people in a surreal world.

 

I’m a career copywriter and travel writer with 15 years experience, an active blog and social media presence, and a background in marketing as well as writing. Previous publication credits include [publications here]. [Personalized reason I'm querying this agent.]

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

 

[contact info]

Betting you will get some hits. Good luck.


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#8 Shutterking

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 02:43 PM

Thanks in advance for your feedback - and happy to return the favor if you want to point me toward your query.

 

---------------------------

Dear [agent],

 

It’s been 25 years since the Nazis won the Second World War.

 

The Jews have mostly disappeared. The Reich has expanded across three continents. And a single wrong word could get you killed.

 

It took two words to kill Markus Schneider’s father. Two words nine-year-old Markus said without thinking. Two words that brought the Nazis to his modest Austrian doorstep—and shattered his life.

 

Now an adult, Markus is guilt-wracked, unemployed, and lost. His only friend in the world is Frank—a man he grew up with and looked up to. A man who is now a high-ranking Nazi official on a mission to root out and destroy anti-state thinkers, rebels, and Jews.

 

When Frank recruits Markus to drive a truckload of prisoners to a concentration camp, Markus will be faced with an impossible choice: be complicit in the murder of children or become the person his best friend is hunting. His decision will change not only their friendship and their lives, but the future of the Reich itself.

 

Complete at 52,000 words, WE ARE THE HUNTED is an alternate history novel about resistance, redemption, and humanity in a world where none of it seems possible. It’s Man in the High Castle meets Atonement. A story of real consequences and real people in a surreal world.

 

I’m a career copywriter and travel writer with 15 years experience, an active blog and social media presence, and a background in marketing as well as writing. Previous publication credits include [publications here]. [Personalized reason I'm querying this agent.]

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

 

[contact info]

 

I think your query is very well written and leaves the reader wanting more. Good luck on publishing.



#9 bekapass

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 05:59 PM

This really sounds interesting. I have a few nitpicky things, but overall to me it looks great and is well written. 

 

Thanks in advance for your feedback - and happy to return the favor if you want to point me toward your query.

 

---------------------------

Dear [agent],

 

It’s been 25 years since the Nazis won the Second World War.

 

The Jews have mostly disappeared. The Reich has expanded across three continents. And a single wrong word could get you killed. You mention a single wrong word here, and the next paragraph you keep talking about two wrong words. It might be good to tie it together, or use another sentence here to describe the danger of saying the wrong thing. It sounds a little cliche alone.

 

It took two words to kill Markus Schneider’s father. Two words nine-year-old Markus said without thinking. Two words that brought the Nazis to his modest Austrian doorstep—and shattered his life.

 

Now an adult, Markus is guilt-wracked, unemployed, and lost. His only friend in the world is Frank—a man he grew up with and looked up to. A man who is now a high-ranking Nazi official on a mission to root out and destroy anti-state thinkers, rebels, and Jews.

 

When Frank recruits Markus to drive a truckload of prisoners to a concentration camp, Markus will be faced with an impossible choice: be complicit in the murder of children or become the person his best friend is hunting. His decision will change not only their friendship and their lives, but the future of the Reich itself. This last sentence is a little vague, and doesn't get me interested.

 

Complete at 52,000 words, WE ARE THE HUNTED is an alternate history novel about resistance, redemption, and humanity in a world where none of it seems possible. It’s Man in the High Castle meets Atonement. A story of real consequences and real people in a surreal world.

 

I’m a career copywriter and travel writer with 15 years experience, an active blog and social media presence, and a background in marketing as well as writing. Previous publication credits include [publications here]. [Personalized reason I'm querying this agent.]

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

 

[contact info]


Feel free to check out my query letter.  


#10 Keledron

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 09:33 AM

ck16 pointed out all the things I would, start with the suggested hook and world build from there.

 

On the other input as far as the word count, I would seriously consider the suggestion here. It may feel complete, and it may be complete, but it also may count against you with most agents. 65K is generally the limit of the low end, and while it sounds trivial a lot of agents will see that in a query and call it into question.

 

The problem is you want as little counting against you as possible at the query stage, and you have a really solid  query here as it is. But this is going to leave a LOT of weight on this first few pages to really (and I mean really) knock it out of the park.

 

I would consider making some of the corrections regarding the hook, and going through a few rounds here, and then send out to a few agents. If any of them start reporting back about the word count directly, then you know it's a problem.

 

But your best bet would be to consider if there are elements in the plot that could be expanded and still keep your current pacing, and find a way to get to that 65K without it feeling artificial. That way you don't have any chances of that counting against you when you send your query out, right now it could. and it's that could that is the problem, know what I mean?


Any critiques on my current query for A Wizard Deceived would be highly appreciated, and I would gladly critique yours in return!

 

http://agentquerycon...rd-deceived-uf/

 

Synopsis critiques would be SO APPRECIATED!!

 

http://agentquerycon...izard-deceived/

 

Follow Merlin's journey to publication!

 

http://scribblersepic.livejournal.com/

 

 

 


#11 gigigriffis

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 10:21 AM

 

But your best bet would be to consider if there are elements in the plot that could be expanded and still keep your current pacing, and find a way to get to that 65K without it feeling artificial. That way you don't have any chances of that counting against you when you send your query out, right now it could. and it's that could that is the problem, know what I mean?

 

Thank you!

 

One follow up question: Are you suggesting I change the intro and lead with the hook rather than the world because of the standard query format or because the flow of information didn't resonate with you as a reader? 


Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

Copywriter, Content Strategist, & Travel Guide Author

Blog  /  Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter


#12 gigigriffis

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:01 AM

@Litgal Thank you! It hasn't been sent out yet. I'm about to send the book to beta readers (I did a round of partial beta reads and tested the first chapter with ideal readers and it did very well, so now it's time for some full reads) and I'm expecting another round of revisions after that and before querying. I'm hoping to start querying or perhaps participate in Pitch Wars in August. 


Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

Copywriter, Content Strategist, & Travel Guide Author

Blog  /  Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter


#13 Litgal

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    In between I became a "hybrid" as part of a group of six authors involved in a high concept novel-in-six-parts called "A Day of Fire" which released in November of 2014. The book, "A Day of Fire," tells the story of the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii in a way you've never read it before.

Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:10 AM

@Litgal Thank you! It hasn't been sent out yet. I'm about to send the book to beta readers (I did a round of partial beta reads and tested the first chapter with ideal readers and it did very well, so now it's time for some full reads) and I'm expecting another round of revisions after that and before querying. I'm hoping to start querying or perhaps participate in Pitch Wars in August. 

very wise. in this market polished and then polished again is definitely the way to go. I personally think you ought to go "critique partners" not beta readers though (just an opinion). Here's my personal opinion on finding the right folks to actually look at a near final draft. http://www.fromthewr...eople-make.html


Lit. (aka Sophie Perinot)

#14 Kynan

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:27 AM

I think your query is quite good. I wish I could offer suggestions, but honestly nothing came up for me.



#15 gigigriffis

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:22 PM

@Litgal Thanks! Going to read your piece now.

 

 

very wise. in this market polished and then polished again is definitely the way to go. I personally think you ought to go "critique partners" not beta readers though (just an opinion). Here's my personal opinion on finding the right folks to actually look at a near final draft. http://www.fromthewr...eople-make.html


Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

Copywriter, Content Strategist, & Travel Guide Author

Blog  /  Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter


#16 Keledron

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 02:07 PM

Thank you!

 

One follow up question: Are you suggesting I change the intro and lead with the hook rather than the world because of the standard query format or because the flow of information didn't resonate with you as a reader? 

For me it's strictly a flow thing. That hook gets me in immediately, gets me invested, and clearly lets me, as a reader, know the stakes. World building is awesome, but before I even hear about the world :) I love to know WHY I should care about it.

 

You have a powerful, powerful hook here. Stick that baby front and center and let its power SHINE! SHINE UPON ALL OF US!...

 

Oh my gosh...maybe four cups of breakfast tea was too much today. *slinks away towards the tea cabinet of his cube kingdom*


Any critiques on my current query for A Wizard Deceived would be highly appreciated, and I would gladly critique yours in return!

 

http://agentquerycon...rd-deceived-uf/

 

Synopsis critiques would be SO APPRECIATED!!

 

http://agentquerycon...izard-deceived/

 

Follow Merlin's journey to publication!

 

http://scribblersepic.livejournal.com/

 

 

 


#17 AJTaylor

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 08:55 PM

Hi Gigi,

 

For me, I like that you world build before introducing us to the main character. I think to understand the character and care for them it helps me to know the world, so I like it just as is. There will just be different opinions on this.

 

Most people agree that the query is very strong already, and are only offering very minor suggestions so I won't add to those, apart from endorsing what someone said above about not loving the going from 'one word getting you killed' to 'two words getting you killed' immediately on top of each other.

 

I am worried about your word count though. Do you know of any debut books in this genre that come in so short? If you feel it really is complete as is, then I would only send out five queries to see if you get any bites. If you don't, I think there is a very good chance that it's the word-count and it will need to be addressed somehow to move forward.

 

Otherwise, I really like your query. Sounds like a terrific book and you are just the person to write it.

 

I don't feel I have given you much, but if you had a moment to look at mine I'd be grateful.

 

http://agentquerycon...+somerton +high



#18 kwmags

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 09:44 AM

t’s been 25 years since the Nazis won the Second World War. I would combine the paragraphs here. 

 

The Jews have mostly disappeared. The Reich has expanded across three continents. And a single wrong word could get you killed.

 

It took two words to kill Markus Schneider’s father. Two words nine-year-old Markus said without thinking. Two words that brought the Nazis to his modest Austrian doorstep—and shattered his life.

 

Now an adult, Markus is guilt-wracked, unemployed, and lost. His only friend in the world is Frank—a man he grew up with and looked up to. A man who is now a high-ranking Nazi official on a mission to root out and destroy anti-state thinkers, rebels, and Jews.

 

When Frank recruits Markus to drive a truckload of prisoners to a concentration camp, Markus will be faced with an impossible choice: be complicit in the murder of children or become the person his best friend is hunting. His decision will change not only their friendship and their lives, but the future of the Reich itself.

 

Complete at 52,000 words, WE ARE THE HUNTED is an alternate history novel about resistance, redemption, and humanity in a world where none of it seems possible. It’s Man in the High Castle meets Atonement. A story of real consequences and real people in a surreal world.

 

Honestly I started to make changes but I really don't think you need any. I re-read it quite a few times to get the jist of it, and I like the flow the way it is. If anything I'd take out that you have 15 years of experience. Keep it short and sweet. Extremely impressed!!

Thank you for critiquing mine, it needed way more work. I revised it again if you have a moment, http://agentquerycon...interchangeable






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