Having got his pictures, Jason is weaving his magic to turn raw images into the cover picture, and I need to decide on the words for the back of the book. You might have thought this would be straightforward – it’s writing, after all! But it’s not easy, to give a flavour of a whole novel in around a hundred or so words; to say enough about the story to entice a reader to want to know more, without giving any spoilers; to use a style that is in keeping with that of the book, so that readers know what they are getting, and yet serves a totally different purpose.
So I’ve got three versions of the blurb for the back of the book, and I’m posting them all here on this blog, and inviting you to make any comments you feel are appropriate, either at the end of this post, or on my facebook page if you prefer.
As you haven’t read the book, you won’t be in a position to say whether each version suits it, but any comments you make on readability, which would make you more likely to want to read the story, and so on, would be most appreciated.
When the village’s priests are killed far from home by religious fanatics, their young apprentices, Dhoban and Serin, suddenly find themselves expected to act as spiritual leaders of the community, in spite of their youth and inexperience. As they struggle to cope with the demands of their positions and try earnestly to interpret the will of the spirits, the extremists are sweeping ever closer to their quiet little village.
The elders know that they should intervene, that dangerous times need astute political leadership; but how can they risk alienating the only people who may be able to obtain the protection of the spirits?
Dhoban and his sister Serin had expected to have several more years’ training before becoming priests, but when their mentors are killed, far from home, by religious zealots, they do their best to take their places. It troubles the village elders that the spiritual leadership of the community is left in such inexperienced hands, especially when they hear that the fanatics are growing stronger and sweeping closer, but they hesitate to intervene, for fear of angering the spirits and losing their protection.
Dhoban and Serin announce that, as custom demands, they must appoint two apprentices before the year’s end, and it becomes clear that they are oblivious both to the threat from outside and to just how ill-equipped they are to teach their untested skills. The elders know that they must act: but how can they do that without losing the goodwill of the spirits? And is it, in any case, too late?
When the village’s priests are killed far from home by religious fanatics, their young apprentices, Dhoban and Serin, suddenly find themselves expected to act as spiritual leaders of the community, in spite of their youth and inexperience. As they struggle to cope with the demands of their positions and try earnestly to interpret the omens and dreams they are sent, the elders hesitate to intervene: dangerous times need astute political leadership, but also the protection of the spirits.
As the end of the year approaches, Dhoban and Serin realise that, as custom demands, they must in their turn select and train the apprentices who will one day become their successors. Entirely focused on this process and on caring for the spiritual and emotional needs of their followers, they are oblivious to the growing threat from the fanatics, who are sweeping ever closer.
Is their well-intentioned but naïve leadership enough to protect those that follow them? Will their close-knit community survive this peril, without experienced priests to find a way?