Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Secret Agent #33

TITLE: Defender of the Kingdom
GENRE: MG adventure

She was the ugliest female I had ever seen, until her daughters followed her out of the coach. A trumpet blared and the footman introduced them. My new mother, Fabrice, and her thoroughly unpleasant daughters, Saffron and Paloma.

My Godfather, Alexandre, whispered in my ear, “Nine tonight. Do not be late.” then vanished as the women started towards us. I glanced at my father. He had not heard Alexandre. Just as well. It was his wedding day. He did not need any further problems.

Father shuddered. He suddenly looked a lot older than he had only weeks before and his gray eyes had lost their sparkle. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and sent a wave of compassion toward Father. Our new “king” Nathaniel had ordered Father to marry this woman. She was a cousin of his. Of the king, that is. Somehow, this usurper had decided that the best way to consolidate power in the kingdom he had overrun was to marry everyone with any power to members of his family. Father, as a Duke and the owner of the largest estate in our Province, had been a very powerful man. That was probably why he had been saddled with not one, but three relatives.

Where was the Prince? Where were his knights? Those were the questions Father and I, and our allies, had been asking for weeks. Prince Carwyn and most of the kingdom’s knights had been patrolling the border when King Rupert, died. Too bad it was the wrong border.


  1. I love the voice here. The description of the MC's new mom and sisters helps to convey her disgust of the whole thing and there's immediate tension with the Dad being forced to marry someone he doesn't want to. I would keep reading (and I don't typically read MG!).

  2. I love the opening line! I was however hoping to learn more about the main character. The setup of the situation is good, but there's more about the father than the MC.

    You have good voice and I would continue reading to find out what happens next.

  3. I like this a lot, and would definitely keep reading. My only suggestion is that I would have liked to get a better sense of how she felt about the meeting with Alexandre.

  4. This is my favorite so far! Great first line and fabulous voice.

    I'd definitely keep reading.

  5. Your opening line immediately drew me in, and as others have commented, the voice is great. I'd keep reading for those reasons alone. That said, the paragraph starting with "Father shuddered" is really heavy into background, and since this is still your opening, perhaps focus more on just the immediate situation at hand so we can get more sense of the MC from the start.
    Even so, I loved the last paragraph, and the suggestion that something is amiss with the Prince. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I really get a feel for your character in this extract. I feel connected to her and I am intrigued by the world she lives in. Kings, princes, knights-- which middle grade child does not want to read about that? I would most definitely want to read more.

  7. Best opening line, ever! This gives a great opening. I do wonder about the relation between the new "king" and the prince, son of the dead king. Unless they are brothers, which seems doubtful, I wonder how Nathaniel came to power. Why did Prince Carwyn not take over?

  8. Ah! A Cinderella story?

    I thought the first two pargs. worked. The third falls into backstory, which puts your MC out of the story.

    Perhaps don't explain why this is happening, and then the reader can wonder, which is a reason to read on, and you can carry on with the story at the moment, which gives the reader the chance to get to know your MC.

    Backstory is easy enough to get in almost anywhere. Keep it off your first few pages and let your story unfold.

  9. I really love your opening line too! I also liked the tie in to Cinderella and the twist that the father doesn't want to marry the evil stepmother. However, you lost me with the backstory about what was going on in the kingdom. I think the last line of this excerpt left me wanting to read on though.

  10. I don’t usually love this kind of high fantasy, but I have to say that you pulled me in. I loved the opening line, and the whole opening paragraph, although the third paragraph was something of an info dump. You’ve given me great context, and left me with lots of questions that I’d like the answers to. I love the last line about the wrong border, and the voice is terrific.