Guess the Plot
Suffer the Witch
1. A theology student who's also a sorcerer is in danger of being expelled--unless he can find a way to bring peace between the Christian God and the old Roman gods.
2. The Democratic National Committee Chairman had earned his place at the top of the food chain. There was no burden he wouldn't bear, no company he couldn't force himself to keep. That is, until he found himself trapped on a Lear jet with the Democratic frontrunner.
3. Bitsy Binter finds a magic book and decides to become a witch. Will her garden club friends still want her around when they see the size of her dahlias? Or will what she can do for their husbands make up for everything?
4. "My mother's coming to visit!"
"Can't you get a decent job?"
"Aren't those storm shutters up yet?"
"When I think of all the men I could have married!"
Mort Gumpler's wife, Pootsie, is an irritation, but she's worth six million, so he's willing to . . . Suffer the Witch.
5. Winters were long and hard, but it turns out that witches burn even longer than oak wood in the fires of Turner Hall. The villagers will survive until Spring!
6. If there were ever a time to keep her mouth shut, Beryl knew this should be it. But she can't resist telling her mother-in-law what she really thinks of her while she's lying in a coma. Then she learns her MIL was faking it for the insurance. And Beryl will pay for what she said. Oh yes.
SUFFER THE WITCH, set in the Roman Empire in 304 AD, is an historical fantasy with romance elements.
To save his church when Emperor Diocletian's Praetorian Guard marches against it, Tory, a 17-year-old theology student, exposes a secret that turns the Church against him: He is a FireMage, a sorcerer. [He immediately turns the hypocritical, ungrateful Church elders into goats.] Absolution may be had -- for a price: by fostering peace between followers of the old Roman gods and the new Christian one.
Tory: "Okay, you followers of the Roman gods, line up over here on my right. And you Christian God followers, get on my left. Good, now I want you all to walk toward each other and shake hands. Good, good . . . Hold it, three pumps only, then release . . . Whoa, no wrestling, just . . . Hey, what's with the swords?! No Swords! People! Shit."
Tory's accomplice is Jerel, a 20-year-old mercenary who cares little for religion or politics. They meet in the aftermath of battle, in the Persian legion where Tory takes refuge after fleeing the Church. [Is it the Church that offered him absolution if he mended the Roman/Christian dispute? If so, shouldn't The Church be letting him get on with it instead of hunting him? And if not, how does he know absolution is available?] Neither expect the searing soul-bond that ignites between them, but Tory quickly embraces it, desperately needing the security it promises. Unable to deny the emotional connection, Jerel agrees to join Tory's crusade. Old prejudices, however, keep him from fulfilling the physical commitment Tory so clearly desires. [I'd hardly call being into babes a prejudice.]
Their path leads them deep into the catacombs of Rome where Christian refugees plot their own retaliations against Emperor Diocletian and his caesar, Galerius. [Unfortunately, Diocletian and Galerius are also plotting the refugees' deaths, in the arena--and they've got lions.] To the Sibyl of Apollo who lays an impossible prophecy at their feet. And to a waking Mount Vesuvius where the WorldFire burns, FireHounds await release, and pagan prophecy and Christian canon converge.
Their success hangs on sacrifice. On Jerel's ability to surrender soul and self to Tory. On Tory giving up craft and soul to the gods both old and new. On Diocletian abdicating the imperial throne, and Galerius ceding control of a divided empire. Only then can a new age in Rome begin. [It'll be a miracle if even one of those things happens.]
SUFFER THE WITCH, complete at 90,000 words, is my first novel-length fantasy, although several of my fantasy/SF short stories have been published in royalty-producing anthologies and for-pay magazines.
Thank you for your consideration.
Is Tory the witch in the title? Is he called a witch in the book? Can a guy be a witch? If not, who's the witch?
The last two plot paragraphs are lists. Consecutively, it's annoying. Change one so it has some elaboration or just dump the second one.
It's not clear what the plan is, or how success depends on all those occurrences. How exactly do they intend to unite followers of Roman and Christian Gods? If the key lies in the Vesuvius/pagan prophecy/Christian canon reference, perhaps devote that paragraph to that alone, and leave out the catacombs and Sibyl.