Dear Evil Editor,
When the villagers of Lambahvras are forced to evacuate their homeland by an invasive toxic weed, they decide to take up residence in an abandoned island fortress, Carraig Runda [anagram: agrarian crud]. The villagers choose it as a place to escape the poison plants [agrarian crud] and maintain their independence from the rest of the world.
Upon reaching it after a difficult journey, they must establish a steady food and heat source before winter freezes the lake. As they explore, they find evidence of the previous inhabitants: furnished rooms, garden ruins, glyphs. They also discover remnants of advanced technology that would make habitation here self-sustainable. [How'd that work out for the previous inhabitants?] But how to activate the mechanisms eludes them.
Rue, the priestess of Lambahvras, believes the structure is a temple. And that a human sacrifice would awaken the gods and allow access to the power here. Her target is Petal Longseed, [sister of Pippi Longstocking and] an orphan village girl.
Mathieu Westerhall is not one of the Lambahvras. He’s a scientist who journeyed with them from the village to the fortress. He volunteered to care for Petal when her mother was killed and superstitions ostracized her Petal. He’s come to love the gentle, studious girl like a daughter. To protect her from Rue’s religious faction, he’ll need to convince everyone that blood won’t unlock the secrets of Carraig Runda. But if not blood, then what?
SEEDS IN SHALLOW SOIL is a 108,000 word fantasy novel. It is a standalone book with the potential to become a series. Comparison titles for this work would be Joe Hill’s The Fireman, [and] The Wicker Man (1973), Fiddler on the Roof (1971), and The Oregon Trail computer game. [Including those last two will make the reader wonder if this is a hoax query.]
Way better than the original. Now we have a story with some conflict.