The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1335 would like feedback on the revised version below.
I’m a friend of your client XXXXX. [Or, to save space, L.] She thought you might like a first read of SACRIFICE, the medieval fantasy novel I’ve just completed, and recommended I email you directly.
Marina’s husband is a smuggler. Strictly small-time. Turns out he has secrets even from her, though. The Duke’s men come for her - and her kids – and she bolts, eventually making a desperate bid for sanctuary. [Not clear why the Duke's men are coming for Marina and her kids or what that has to do with her husband. Did his smuggling operation interfere with the Duke's plans? Would it help us to know what the husband's secrets are?]When it fails, she must give her daughter Quirt up to the Order. [She must give her daughter up to the Order? Is this a law? What is the Order?]
The monks are the only true masters of magic – a force others find maddeningly unreliable. Quirt is fascinated. [How old is Quirt?] She even finds a friend or two among the brothers. But she sees hints that the monks’ creative power – and their mastery of bloody destruction – springs from a dark secret. [Are we talking about a religious order of monks? I only ask because monks are rarely associated with bloody destruction, and those who are are rarely trusted with the care of young girls.]
Marina bluffs her way from the Order’s smoky cloisters to the sluggish backwaters of the great swamp. She can’t quite see how she - and Hap, the son who remains to her - are going to build a new life, and she increasingly regrets giving up her daughter.
Hedge-wizard Cremona has suffered through a painful education, in the course of trying – and failing - to reap rewards from his magical talent. Meeting Marina, he realizes her story holds clues to the riddle of power that has begun to obsess him.
When Hap is trapped in a fire, only Cremona’s intervention saves him. Marina realizes she must choose between an empty exile and the daunting prospect of reversing her sacrifice. [Is there a connection between this realization and Cremona saving Hap? I don't actually see why Cremona is in the query.] She risks running foul [afoul] of the Duke if she returns home, and the Order are an even more intimidating prospect. But she must face them both to reclaim her daughter, her family and her life. [Is her husband still a part of her family? He was the subject of the first sentence, which makes him seem important, but he quickly disappeared.]
SACRIFICE aspires to the tone, complexity, and moral ambivalence of KJ Parker. [Does K.J. know you consider him morally ambivalent?] At 166k words, it is the first installment in a trilogy. It will appeal to adult readers of fantasy. [The query's somewhat shorter now, but the book is still as massive as ever. That's gonna be a problem.]
I’ve attached a synopsis and initial chapters as per your guidelines. Thank you for your time and consideration.
You seem to like using dashes. I don't think you'd lose anything by changing all of them to less-annoying commas.
We need better connections between ideas, and you need to assume we know nothing about your world.
If Marina doesn't know why the Duke is after her, you don't need to try to explain it to us. If she does know, then what are the secrets her husband is keeping? If those secrets aren't important in the query, don't bring them up.