Hoping to tap the collective wisdom of the forum. Any suggestions are welcomed!
In 1929, a pair of twelve-year old cousins arrives on the New Jersey shore to spend the summer with their grandfather, the singular Colonel Horatius Battersea. Maxine and William soon discover, however, that the old man's career as a British soldier, world explorer and foreign agent has earned him a fair share of formidable enemies and family secrets.
The skeletons in Colonel Battersea's closet become flesh and blood when an ancient cult of desert assassins descends on Battersea Manor in pursuit of a mysterious package
, wrenching the cousins Wretchedfrom their grandfather's protection Maxine and William are and sweeping them swept away on a swirling current that leads from the manor's hidden passages to the streets of New York City, across the dark leagues of the Atlantic aboard the exotic steamship Levantine, and finally to the shifting sands that lie beyond the distant shores of Araby. There in a far country, Maxine and William make a desperate bid to find Grandpa Battersea and deliver the elusive parcel before their scattered familyunclear is lost forever , and all the while their steps are haunted by the shadowy specter of the murderous Hashashin. Along the way, the cousins must rely on the love of a grandfather they have never knownunnecessary , and measure themselves against an ominous adult world of gangsters and drifters, heiresses and opera stars, sheiks and ghouls, as they slide toward a final collision with the leader of the Hashashin himself, the Old Man of the Mountain. Set in a time when the world was wider and wilder and “Adventuring” was a bona fide occupation that captivated the minds of young and old alike, THE DAGGERS OF ALAMUT (87,000) offers a fresh take on period fiction and classic adventure literature. It shares the soul of matinee cliffhangers and radio serials, and will appeal to YA readers of books like Iain Lawrence's THE WRECKERS and Eoin Colfer's AIRMAN.
I just noticed that a lot of my comments match swanndown's
A solid query, just a little tweeking here and there. I cut the third paragraph, but I still think you could add Hashashin and a couple other points in the plot description itself. Right now, the third paragraph seems added on since you ended the conflict in the second paragraph. But you still have room for more, so I'd simply shove things around so that your 'cliff hanger' ending ( ...scattered family is lost forever.) comes at the end.
My biggest comment would be with your MC's age and the fact that this is a YA. Usually
(and I stress usually because there are always exceptions), YA is with characters over 14 and MG under. Your MS is much too long for an MG, though. The reason for this age break is simply because YA readers (teenagers) don't sympathize with 'little kids' - what highschooler wants to read about a sixth/seventh grader?