PW #220: Middle Grade Historical Fantasy: THE HUNTER’S HEIR

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Jenn Brisendine

Mentee Name: Joe McCourt


Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Word Count: 59,000 words


Hidden away in a pirate-founded 1930s harbor town, twelve-year-old Rigley cannot control the poorly-executed enchantment that compels animals to fiercely protect him from any perceived threat. Now he must use his so-called “gift”—and trust some newfound friends—to save his kidnapped brother and stop the shadowy Daughters of Rasputin from stealing his magic to create an army of beasts.


The chair in the safe room—sorry, “calming closet”—was soft, luxurious, and made of fine Russian leather, but Rigley rarely used it. He preferred to sit cross-legged in the middle of the floor. That way, if he passed out, he wouldn’t have too far to fall.

“It’s just a storm,” he told himself as he rocked back and forth, his arms wrapped around his midsection. “Nothing to be afraid—”

A violent thunderclap shook Chrosvique Manor. Rigley winced as the echo gave a split second of life to a long dormant memory: A gunshot. Birds squawking, cats hissing, a dog barking. “Stop it!” a distant voice shrieked in his head. “You’re hurting him!”

The closet was tiled floor to ceiling in white marble. There were no windows, and the only way in or out was through a Karelian birch door. Surrounding Rigley were dozens of wall-mounted vases. Each held a sprig of a prickly herb, and the shadows cast by the bronze lantern overhead looked like an army of spiders descending on the pajama-clad figure below.

The thought of spiders had an oddly soothing effect on Rigley. His breathing slowed and a determined glint filled his eyes. “Professor Gould wouldn’t let a thunderstorm stop him… and neither will I.”

He groped between the chair cushions and retrieved the newspaper advertisement he had hidden there weeks ago. Splashed across the top was a photograph of a giant, rampaging ape.

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