Have questions about submitting to Pitch Wars or just want to know what it is? Start here!

Pitch Wars Showcase

Please note: These are the entries for the Pitch Wars season beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022. Please note that our Agent Showcase ends at 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday, February 14, 2022. Agents will not be able to leave comments requesting material after that time.
PW2019 Adult #19: BURN IT DOWN (Historical Thriller)
Gigi Griffis
Mentored by:
Gladys Quinn
Book Title:
2019 Adult Entries
Historical Thriller
Word Count:


A feminist COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO based on a true story…

France, 1343.

The king killed her husband.

The duke betrayed her.

Neither knew they were creating their worst nightmare.

Now 43-year-old Jeanne de Clisson—France’s most notorious female pirate—will stop at nothing to destroy them both.



The end began with the cat.

Black as the depths of the sea—seeming less like a cat and more like a cat-shaped hole cut into the world, a shadow that moved between this plane and the next—the cat arrived at Castle Clisson just as the sun lit up the courtyard with its morning hues of pink and gold.

Jeanne watched from an upper window with a half smile as the panicked servant girls tried to shoo the cat away, screaming and skittering away anytime it turned toward them. Black cats were bad omens. The familiars of witches. Dark portents. Messengers of the devil himself.

The servant girls crossed themselves and squealed and brandished rags and sticks. Even serious Sandrine—usually the least easily ruffled of Jeanne’s attendants—stood back from the animal, not screaming, but not making a move to help either.

Jeanne shook her head, rolled her eyes, and turned from the window to make her way down to the courtyard and remove the offending animal herself. She didn’t believe in omens or the familiars of witches or that the devil had enough interest in the affairs of men to send his servants disguised as animals to torment them.

But she did believe in fleas—and that cats had no place in her castle.

So down the stairs she went. But as she rounded the last corner and stepped into the courtyard, the cat no longer mattered at all.

25 responses to “PW2019 Adult #19: BURN IT DOWN (Historical Thriller)”

  1. Marlo Berliner says:

    A story about the Lioness of Brittany…yes, please! Send the full with Pitchwars Adult in the subject line to marlo.jdlit@gmail.com. Looking forward to reading!

  2. Kaitlyn Johnson says:

    Hi Gigi,

    You had me at feminist Count of Monte Cristo. I’d love to see the full! Please upload to QueryMe.online/KaitlynJohnson/Contests. Looking forward to diving in!

    Kaitlyn Johnson
    Literary Agent
    Belcastro Literary Agency

  3. Kelly Peterson says:

    Hey Gigi!

    I’d love to have this one in my box again and am so excited to see the changes made!

    Can you send your query, synopsis, and full manuscript to Kelly@reesagency.com with the subject title: “Pitch Wars Requested Submission”? You can simply attach your full manuscript as a Word document.

    Looking forward to hearing from you, and wishing you all the best of luck! =)

    -Kelly Peterson

  4. I’d love to see more. Please email the full manuscript with the query letter, proposal/synopsis, and an author bio to EWRquery@mcintoshandotis.com. Please attach all materials as Word documents, and include in your subject line: “PITCH WARS REQUEST – (Title of Project)”.

  5. Sarah Landis says:

    I’m hooked! I’d love to read the full manuscript. Could you email it to slandis@sll.com? Thanks so much!

  6. Hannah Fergesen says:

    Hi Gigi,

    This is exactly the kind of material I’m looking for (in fact, we covered Jeanne on my podcast about badass women in history!), and I would love to read the full manuscript, along with a full synopsis. Please send both in Word format to hannah@ktliterary.com with the subject line; Pitch Wars Request + your title.

    Thank you so much! I’m really looking forward to reading.


    I need this in my life! Saw the pitch for this on Twitter and I’m desperate to read more! Please put ‘Pitch Wars Requested’ in your subject line and send the full manuscript and query letter to me at rebecca@defliterary.com. Ms can be an attachment. Thanks so much!

  8. Samantha Fabien says:

    Hi Gigi,

    Congratulations, once again, on completing PitchWars! You must be thrilled. I’m dying to read more and see how much the manuscript has changed! With that in mind, I’d love to request the full. Please send the manuscript with BURN IT DOWN + PitchWars for SAMANTHA to queries@LDLAinc.com. I hope to hear from you! 🙂

    If more than one LDLA agent requests your book, you are welcome to send to as many or few of us as you like. Just tell us in the query, and we’ll chat amongst ourselves.

  9. Mollie Glick says:

    Hi Gigi,

    This sounds interesting! Please send the full manuscript to mollie.glickasst@caa.com.

    Mollie Glick

  10. Adriann Ranta Zurhellen says:

    Hi Gigi,

    Am loving what I’ve read so far! Please submit the full manuscript to arsubmissions@foundrymedia.com, cc’ing in flmasst@foundrymedia.com, with the subject line “Pitch Wars: BURN IT DOWN.” Thanks so much, and looking forward to diving in more!


  11. Jennifer Unter says:

    Great voice and pitch – would love to read more! Please forward the first 50 pages as a Word attachment to jen.nadol (at) theunteragency (dot) com with PW Request in the subject line. Thanks!

  12. Amy Elizabeth Bishop says:

    Dear Gigi,

    You had me at Jeanne de Clisson! I’d love to take a look at the first 100 pages! Would you kindly send that and your query along as a Microsoft Word attachment to abishop (at) dystel (dot) com, with #PitchWars in the subject line?

    Thanks so much – can’t wait to read!



  13. Emmy Nordstrom Higdon says:

    Hello! My name is Emmy Nordstrom-Higdon, and I am an agent in training with The Rights Factory! I just started building my list, and I’m so lucky to have Sam Hiyate as my mentor. If we end up working together, you’ll get the best of both worlds – the wisdom of an agent with 16 years in the biz, and my enthusiasm and attention as a new agent with just a handful of select clients so far. Part of why your manuscript caught my eye is because one of my current clients has written a feminist historical thriller that has captured my heart – and I hope that this will do the same! I am thrilled to request a partial of your first three chapters from you, which you can send to assistant@therightsfactory.com. Please include a query letter and write PITCH WARS in the subject line. In the meantime, you can check out my bio and what I’m most interested in at https://www.therightsfactory.com/about-us, and my blog at http://www.booksbeyondbinaries.blog, if you want to know a little more about me. Really hoping to hear from you soon, and congratulations on participating in Pitch Wars!!

  14. Rena Rossner says:

    Hi there!

    This sounds great! I’d love to take a look at the first 50 pages. Please send them attached as a word document!

    Thanks so much!

    – Rena Rossner

  15. Nicole Payne says:

    I absolutely love this!! Please send the first five chapters to nicole@goldenwheatliterary.com. Thanks!!

  16. Jessica Watterson says:

    I would love to see the full of this with synopsis and query pls! send to queryme/online/jessicawatterson/pitchwars. I hope you will send to me! 🙂

  17. Melissa Danaczko says:

    Hi Gigi,
    I would love the opportunity to read more. Can you please send me the full manuscript to mdquery@skagency.com? Thank you!

  18. Emmanuelle Morgen says:

    Dear Gigi,

    How intriguing! May I request the manuscript as a Word document sent to submissions@stonesong.com with the terms “query” and “Pitch Wars” in the subject line?

    Emmanuelle Morgen

  19. Sandy Lu says:

    Hi Gigi,

    What a fascinating woman! Please send the full manuscript with your bio and complete synopsis (all in one Word document) to sandy@lperkinsagency.com. I look forward to read more.

    Sandy Lu
    L. Perkins Agency

  20. Bridget Smith says:

    I’d love to take a look! Please send the query (in the body) and the full manuscript (as an attachment) to querybridget@awfulagent.com, with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. Can’t wait to read!

  21. Colleen Oefelein says:

    Dear Gigi,

    I have been dying for a COUNT re-imagining! I’d love to read the full! Please email me directly at colleen@adventurewrite.com. Paste your query and synopsis directly into the body and attach your full. Thanks and looking forward to reading!

    Colleen Oefelein
    Associate Agent
    The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
    245 Park Avenue
    39th Floor
    New York NY 10167
    Facebook: Colleen Oefelein
    Twitter: @eerie_o

    Celebrating 19 years of making dreams come true!

  22. Ashley Blake says:

    Hi Gigi, I’d love to take a look at this! If you’d like, send the full manuscript to ashley@reesagency.com and put QUERY PITCH WARS in the subject line. Hope to hear from you soon.

  23. Whitney Ross says:

    Hi Gigi! You had withdrawn your manuscript to enter Pitch Wars, and it’s great to see that this pitch still grabs me. Excited to see the revised when Pitch Wars is over!

  24. Amelia Appel says:

    Hi Gigi,

    What a great start! And I’m loving the pitch – I’m always on the lookout for badass female protagonists. I’d love to read BURN IT DOWN! Please send the full manuscript as a Word doc. attachment to amelia@triadaus.com, and please include the full pitch, synopsis, and your author bio in the email. If you can put “PITCH WARS REQUEST – BURN IT DOWN” in the subject line, I’ll keep an eye out for it!

    Thanks so much and I can’t wait to read!

    All best,

  25. Chelsea Eberly says:

    I love that this is based on a true story. Nice sense of suspense in the opening. I hope you will send me the full with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line to: submissions (at) greenhouseliterary (dot) com. Thank you!