It is Midsummer, and the harvest is almost here. Nestled among the dying citrus trees of Halla Valley, Nahla’s plants grow tall and strong, their leaves ripe with veins of silver magic: the first grains of magic the Magus Mountains have seen in a hundred years.

Fifteen-year-old Nahla vows to use that magic to burn everything that stands between her and Kai, her long-lost brother, stolen away when they were children. Every day when she tends her crop, she palms a pinch of magic, binds spells and curses into bottles in preparation. But there is a long drought in Magus, the croplands are turning barren, and if Nahla doesn’t restore magic before Midsummer wanes, the land she loves will wither and die. Kai will be lost forever.

As she journeys across the mountains to find him, Nahla battles with magic, torn between a desire to do good and a need for revenge against Kai’s kidnappers. When betrayal by a trusted friend leads her into the hands of the mortal lord who stole Kai, Nahla is imprisoned, her magic stripped by the man’s immortal consort. Nahla is powerless, empty, until the lord offers her a bargain, and a choice: will she sacrifice everything she loves, including Kai, to save the Magus Mountains, or will magic lead her down a darker path?

I’m currently seeking representation for SILVER SANDS, a YA fantasy with a word count of 96k. SILVER SANDS will appeal to fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Circe, both beautifully imagined tales with magic (and a little tragedy) at their hearts.

My day job is in marketing, and I’m also an editor at Synaesthesia Magazine, an online literary and arts magazine exploring the senses. I’m currently working on two more YA novels – both speculative fiction with fierce female characters at the helm.

Many thanks for your consideration,

Caroline Icke

 

Silver Sands

1.

My plants grow tall in the dry heat of Midsummer, leaves heavy and green, ripe for reaping. The soils of Halla Valley have been kind to me, this year. The sun has shed a Goddess’ light over my crop. Magic will be strong in my leaves, and I will be strong with it, come harvest. Strong enough to burn everything that stands between you and me, little brother.

At dawn, I walk the dust track from the village into the parched planes of Halla. Nestled among the wide avenues of wilting orange trees, my crop awaits, spelled to appear as nothing more than a patch of happy sunflowers, gazing at the cornflower sky. I pluck a plump leaf. Silver veins run like rivers through the green, and when I shake it, silver sands flow into my palm. Heat quivers from my hand to my heart, gentle as a butterfly, wings flapping, flitting against my skin. I breathe power.

Bottling the magic, I stow it in my sack, walk down to the lake where the orange trees end and great firs rise around the water’s edge. There I sit, wriggle out of my sandals and let the water lick my toes.

At market, I traded two spells for a bread loaf and a curse for a round of cheese, which melts while I watch silver fish chase their tails in the crystal shallows. It was pity that made the village folk trade with me – a lone girl, barely out of childhood – not belief in my spells. But I do not need their belief. Come harvest, I won’t need for anything again.

Belly full, I palm a pinch of magic, blow it over the lake. A silver film dances on the surface, and I see your face there, as it is in my memories. You were so small. My plants could not save you then; they were as young and wild as we. I didn’t know what was coming.

I didn’t know I had the power to stop it.