Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #26

TITLE: The Pharaoh's Daughter
GENRE: YA Historical Fantasy

Gaythelos had two different colored eyes—one blue, one green—and he used them to domineer the Middle Sea.

His right eye, the green one, watched the waves and interpreted the nautical map hidden in the stars. His blue eye allowed him to see what normally wasn’tvisible: the spear-barring sea sorceress, who had blackened teeth and even darker eyes; the twelve-headed serpent, who fed on sailors’ flesh; the scale-covered míol mór, a whale who sang only when it watched people drown.

From a young age, Gaythelos realized his green gaze saw the human world, while his blue exposed the Otherworld. A realmfilled with gods and monsters. Gaythelos stood in both, as did the sea. Whether the waves encouraged ship-splintering storms or the demons who enjoyed the destruction, Gaythelos saw the ocean for what it was and the ocean saw him back, which was why it left him alone. Most monsters wanted unsuspecting victims, not soldiers ready to fight, and Gaythelos made sure to train all of his followers in combat, navigation, and barter.Some might have called them an army. Gaythelos preferred to ignore titles, including his own: Attica’s prince, son of Cecrops, child of Zeus. Much good that did him.

How many times had he been exiled now? Four? Five?

The first time it had happened, he was eight. Barely old enough to realize what, exactly, being a bastard prince meant to an already contentious throne. The second time, he was more prepared. The third, he realized preparation was futile.


  1. Your first 250 does a good job introducing the reader to some of the fantasy elements within this story. Gaythelos also seems like an intriguing character.

    Just a few quibbles: I wouldn't mention eye color in the first sentence. It disrupts its flow and is mentioned again the next paragraph so it seems a little repetitive. Also, the title seems to be different as to how this story starts out with him being the grandson of Zeus. I expected an Ancient Egypt story with the title and the reality of the story caught me off-guard.

  2. I agree with the above comment. I’d modify the second paragraph and make that your opening. Interesting fantasy set up here.

  3. I actually like the way you've disrupted the commonality of the "different eye color" trait. There's a shift in voice here that I think is subtle but I'm not sure if you've meant it so take this with a grain of salt but.. if the rest of the novel follows the first part of the voice, then you might want to stick to that. If it follows the second part, then what's here in the first, while very well-written, might need to shift to match the rest of the tone. I see the distinct voices as being divided along the line "Much good that did him." There's an authoritative, fairy tale quality to the first part; and a more blasé quality to the second. Do you see what I mean? I hope this comment makes sense to you and is helpful!

  4. I tend to agree with the others on your opening. If you worked on rewording some of your next paragraph, it could make it a very strong, eye catching opening. Openings are always hard and you are off to a good start. A little tweaking and you got this!

  5. I loved the line about the whale, the line about standing on both worlds as does the sea, and his realization that preparation is futile.

    I am not sure this starts in the right place, and the title doesn't seem to match. I hope this isn't a prologue because I want to stay with this character.

    I'd read more for sure

  6. I was on the fence for a few minutes about whether or not the tone of the first sentence was quite right, but you sucked me in with these horrific fantastical creatures in the second paragraph, and I love it. Perhaps no paragraph break after first sentence. I think this is my favorite line: Gaythelos saw the ocean for what it was, and the ocean saw him back. Boom! That’s such a good line. It’s simple, and it conveys so much, and it keeps us wanting to know more.
    I wonder if you should hold off on the child of Zeus bit, but I’d have to read more of it to determine whether that’s the best suggestion. I like the idea of just hearing “bastard prince” and “contentious throne” and wondering what all it might mean for a bit longer.
    Don’t hate me friends, but while I’ve agreed with 95% of the comments on other entries, I don’t agree with the suggestions on this one. Eek, sorry to confuse you. But I think this is already very strong.

  7. I'm also a fan of the first sentence. I love the setup it creates and the explanations of the eyes you provide afterwards.

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