Title: The Lying Division
Word count: 80,000
Genre: YA Fantasy
When sixteen-year-old Klyte sets out to steal from the Princess of Thaedin, he is lured by the promise of immeasurable riches. And he won’t consider the possibility of failure.
Bound to a chair in one of the king’s infamous show trials, Klyte admits he may have made a huge mistake. The man who caught him, Visere, sees potential in the young thief and offers him a choice: face the gallows or join the Lying Division.
Visere isn’t mistaken about Klyte’s talents: he picks up the art of lying easily enough. But Klyte can’t help feeling like an outsider, a naïve boy in a world of men. He soon learns the Lying Division exists to maintain order, to soothe discontent with careful lies—and, sometimes, more questionable means.
But since the king holds lavish balls while the people starve, some civilians aren’t so easily placated. And Klyte begins to doubt if the Lying Division is really as virtuous as Visere makes it seem.
A celebratory hunting trip transforms into a disastrous ambush, and for the first time, the Liars are faced with an equally cunning group. With rebels infiltrating the Lying Division itself, Visere’s fear of a rising rebellion heightens into paranoia. The slightest whisper of disloyalty is met with the noose, and it’s only a matter of time before Klyte’s misgivings draw suspicions.
Caught between two sides of an imminent civil war, Klyte must choose his alliances carefully or risk antagonizing both forces. But if he cannot trust his friends, and he’s starting to sympathize with his foes, the wrong decision could mean a blade driven into his back.
First 250 words:
Klyte stood in the shadows and licked his lips. He had been there for hours, half-crouched beneath the eaves to hide from the midday heat, waiting for the perfect opportunity.
His eyes settled on a wagon trundling down the street, pulled by a plodding horse fearful of the driver’s whip. It was one amongst many similar wagons filled with goods: pastries and pies, vintage cheese, and finely aged wine—with one difference.
This one had no guard.
As the wagon approached Klyte, an earthly smell wafted towards him: freshly baked bread. His stomach growled; he hadn’t eaten for twelve hours, and his ribs threatened to burst through skin tanned from hours in the sun. Life as a petty thief on the streets of Thaedin wasn’t easy, but better than wasting away like the beggars along the road, swatting vainly at the buzzing flies.
The wagon came invitingly close, and Klyte dropped into a crouch. A bead of sweat ran down his face. He couldn’t miss this chance—Nephele was waiting, counting on him. They had everything planned. She’d steal the cheese, he’d take the bread, and they’d have a grand feast.
Klyte dashed towards the wagon, his bare feet striking the cobblestones like the pattering of hail. He lunged for the bread, scooped up as much as he could, and dived into the crowd.
A hand jerked him backwards and Klyte choked as he hit the ground hard, coughing into a cloud of dust. A boot crushed his chest, driving out what little air remained.