Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 66,000
Pitch: In this alternative history Queen Cleopatra’s younger sister Arsinoe struggles to break free from her family’s murderous past. But what if the only way to save the ones you love is to kill them?
Like shadows, the past is glued to our heels. —The Epigrams of Arsinoe
In the heavy prison darkness, far from any coast, I heard the sea. Waves plotted with one another in low whispers, gathering their forces like crouching beasts. A hundred voices, living and dead, battering my skull until my head felt ready to implode. I rocked back and forth, shackles clanking, hands clamped against my ears. Mistress of Sorrows, how could I make myself heard over so much clamor?
“Hear me, Nile dwellers,” I chanted. “I am the moonless night, the hollow underground. From birth have I witnessed woe upon woe. . ..”
Several occupants of the pit beneath the floor threw rocks against their grate, making rude gargling noises in some obscure northern language. Either they disliked my anthem or mistook the sacred lament for a spell or curse. I kept chanting, holding chaos at bay. If I had hidden powers, did they think I would waste them on my fellow captives?
A key jangled in the lock. The pit fell silent. The short, beardless inmate pressed his ear against the stone wall.
“Noble One,” he warned in oddly-accented Latin, “our keeper brings visitors.”
I slid backward until my leg irons pulled taut, squinting at the sudden stab of light. A snippet of a boy in a toga entered, leading two female companions.
“She ain't no proper sight for the squeamish, Master Octavian,” the jailor, the one who stank of boiled cabbage, said. “You certain the general will permit these fine young ladies to see her?”
CLUE: Mr. Boddy is found sitting in a high-back chair in the library, head back, with a tiny puncture wound in his neck. The area around the wound is swollen. An expensive brooch with rare gems and a noble family crest is found stuck in the Parisian carpet beside the chair.