Entry Nickname: Maidens, Monks, & Murder
Title: A Serpent in the Garden
Word Count: 60,000
Genre: YA Historical Mystery
Amid the grit and splendor of twelfth century Germany, an impetuous teenage noblewoman investigates a brutal murder.
When a young woman is killed near the abbey of St. Nicholas, fifteen-year-old Eva von Hirschburg is moved by similarities between the victim and her own dead mother. She vows to find the culprit and convinces peace-loving Brother Clement to help, but the two clash when Eva accuses a man Clement wants to protect.
As she hunts for evidence, Eva is courted by the charismatic Lord Friderich. Eva is enticed by Friderich’s wit and vitality, but fears he is only looking for an indiscretion. Worse, Friderich distrusts Clement and wants Eva to relinquish her obsession with the murdered woman.
Is Friderich trying to protect Eva, or is he trying to protect the murderer? Eva cannot capture the killer alone, but trusting the wrong person could cost Eva her heart and her life.
A SERPENT IN THE GARDEN is a medieval Veronica Mars with the lush, sexy feel of Anna Godberson's Luxe series.
No one prayed for my mother's soul. No one spoke of her. My uncle Baldric forbade it. But I refused to forget her. She died fifteen years ago when I was only a babe, but every morning, before the rest of the castle woke, I went to the chapel to plead for her deliverance.
Darkness filled the room, intensifying the smell of incense and the aching in my legs as I knelt on the stone floor. I recited the De Profundis, the Miserere, and the Requiem Aeternam, prayers suitable for someone suffering in Purgatory. I considered praying that my uncle Arnulf might finally drink himself to death, but I decided against it. I stood and walked out to the chapel garden.
On my right loomed the bergfried, a defensive tower and, in troubled times, a holding place for prisoners. On my left, the crenellated battlements of the south wall snapped at the sapphire sky. I shuddered, feeling like a mouse trapped in the jaws of a lion. Most ladies would count themselves lucky to have a guardian as wise and temperate as Baron Baldric, but I despised being kept out of duty rather than love. And most ladies do not have to contend with an uncle as reckless and cruel as his brother, Baron Arnulf.
I walked toward the archway that led to the main courtyard. A voice cried out. “Judge thou, O Lord, them that wrong me. Overthrow them that fight against me. Take hold of arms and shield, and rise up to help me.”