PW #348: Young Adult Fantasy: FOUR DEAD QUEENS

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Mara Rutherford and Joan He
Mentee: Astrid Scholte
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Word Count: 87,000


Ruthless thief Keralie becomes entangled in deadly politics after witnessing the murders of her world’s four queens, captured on disk. The information could be rewarded with lifesaving medicine for the boy she loves, but escaping the palace alive will be her greatest heist yet. RED QUEEN meets SIX OF CROWS.


The morning sun caught the palace’s golden dome, flooding the Concord with light. While everyone halted their business and glanced up—as though it were a sign from the four queens themselves—we perched overhead like vultures, ready to swoop in and pick them apart.

“That one,” Mackiel said after studying the street below from the café’s rooftop. He jerked his chin toward a woman in a burgundy dress.

I snorted at the dirty footprints on the cobblestones behind her. All I’d find in an Archian’s pockets was grain and lint. “Don’t patronize me. Who’s my real target?”

The air here was thick with the stench of musty water. Beyond the central square were connections across the marsh to Quadara’s four regions. Mackiel scratched at his collar with beringed fingers, a nervous habit. But I was his best dipper, slipping in and out of pockets with a feather-light touch. I’d never let him down.

“Him,” he said finally, his brown eyes landing on the back of a dark-clad figure.

The target was clearly Eonist. While we Torians were rugged up in layers to ward off the biting chill, he wore a tight-fitting black dermasuit, an Eonist fabric made of millions of microorganisms that maintained body temperature with their secretions. Gross, but handy.

“A messenger?” I flashed Mackiel a hard look. “You sure?”

He flicked a charm on my silver dipper bracelet. “Yes, luv. You’re ready.”

“His comm disk?”

He nodded. “And remember—”

“Get in quick. Get out quicker.”

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