Synoptic Gospel

Below is the copy of my master query letter for PUBLIC KEY, including a one-page synopsis of the novel & prompt for mss excerpt inclusion.

Ave atqve vale:




Please consider my novel, PUBLIC KEY, for representation. It is a commercial fiction and world-traveler’s adventure. The manuscript is complete and totals 104,000 words.

PUBLIC KEY is the story of a recent college graduate on the run. He tried to help someone. Now he’s a wanted man. He must work to establish his innocence. He just has to make sure he isn’t caught before he does. All he has are his wits and his laptop. Fortunately he’s pretty good with both.

I am a recent college graduate. While writing PUBLIC KEY I was as itinerant as my protagonist. Prior to that I edited both my college’s newspaper and literary magazine. My fiction blog has received over twelve thousand unique visitors. This is my sixth novel.

A synopsis of the novel is included below, followed by the first A NUMBER pages of the manuscript.

Thank you very much for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


david axel KURTZ

@ :

# : 207.229.5675

/ :




PUBLIC KEY – by david axel kurtz – SYNOPSIS –



Our hero has a laptop and a diploma and neither are doing him much good. Having little money in his purse and no interest at all in moving back in with his parents, he decides to couch-surf while he tries to find a life.


He’s in Montreal, stealing University bandwidth in the back of a deserted library, when he hears a cry for help. He goes to investigate. He sees someone being harassed. He intervenes. What else can he do? The harasser attacks him. He defends himself. The attacker goes to the hospital. He goes to jail.


It’s a sticky situation. The University wants to keep things quiet. The Quebecois authorities want him gone. The US embassy steps in and offers a compromise: if they let him go, they’ll whisk him away, and the whole matter will be put behind them.


Our hero takes the out, on one condition: they fly him somewhere exotic, somewhere he couldn’t afford to go himself, somewhere that his meager savings might last him a little while. Laptop in hand, he boards an airplane. Three days and four airplanes later, he’s on the other side of the world.


That’s when he finds out that that the guy who attacked him has died.


He knows he has a choice: either spend his entire savings to fly back to Canada just to get charged with murder; or wait where he is to get arrested, sent back to Canada, and get bankrupted by legal fees. All for defending himself, and a person who called for help.


He decides to take the third option: to run.


He won’t be just any fugitive. He’s innocent, he knows he is. Now he needs the world to know it too. He will make his case before the world. He will turn public opinion, so he can go home. He just has to make sure that he doesn’t get caught in the process.


His flight takes him from tropical beaches to urban alleys, from ships’ holds to mountaineering ATVs, from the jungles of Madagascar to the high mountains of Lesotho, from the depths of solitude to the company of the most unlikely friends. As the months pass he realizes that he has an additional challenge: to be happy with the life he has, however far away it may be from the life he left behind. But maybe that challenge has been with him since well before he became a fugitive. And maybe, for the first time, he can meet it.






~ by davekov on 25 October 2011.

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