With the help of a lot of people here two years ago, I came up with a pretty decent query and received several full requests. But the story had holes and I knew it. I thought I could get away with it, but couldn't. Now after a substantial rewrite, the holes are closed and I also rewrote the query. Feedback is welcome. Be brutal. I will return all critiques. Thank you.
Anonymous messages in an extinct language plunge Cristina Smythe into a 6,000-year-old mystery linking ancient horsemen, mistaken identities, and murder.
In shock after a brutal attack in her Kiev home and terrified her estranged Ukrainian husband wants her dead, American archaeologist Cristina Smythe escapes the traumatic memories by moderating an internet chat room about horses. Her online friend Marija’s archaeological exploits in China offer welcome distraction. But when Marija’s work fuels anti-government protests, she vanishes from the forum and the other users’ virtual panic forces Cristina to investigate.
Dima; the handsome, enigmatic computer hacker she hires to find the real person behind Marija’s online personae; also triggers her fears of being single -- or loving anyone -- again. He’s so much younger and he works for her. But does he really like her? And who let the chick lit narrator into Cristina’s head, anyway?
Her world shatters once more with the discovery of a prehistoric grave outside Kiev that threatens to challenge Cristina’s research about the origins of horseback riding. Then, cryptic emails appear in her moderator inbox. Written in Proto-Indo-European, the extinct language of the first horsemen and primordial ancestor of English, the messages could be about the grave, or Marija’s fate or even the attack on Cristina – if she can crack their code.
Set in contemporary, war-time Ukraine, DICTIONARY OF THE MOTHER TONGUE is an 82,000-word literary mystery. A galloping journey from the Stone Age to the Digital Age, it is a mesmerizing exploration of love and loss, trauma and recovery, identity and language -- set against a backdrop of rigorously researched archaeology and linguistics. This page-turner will please readers of The Clan of the Cave Bear, The Name of the Rose, Everything is Illuminated and Sex Tips for Girls. Horse farts and an ornery cat also play leading roles.
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