Series synopses

Why a synopsis for Sleight of Hand?

I’ve had feedback that Wild Card especially, and Hidden Trump, to an extent, are difficult to follow in places. This is because, in trying to keep the pace of the story up, I have to be light on backstory. However, the series is complex with lots of threads that span more than one book, so backstory will be needed at some time. Hence these synopses which provide a ‘story so far’ memory jogger. This one below would be the synopsis for Hidden Trump.

I’ll make these synopses available on the website here, and I’m going to experiment with inserting them into the ebooks, but placing them at the end, with a link to go read them and return afterwards.

Why put them at the end? Because Amazon shows the first 10% of the book as a sample, and I don’t want ‘summary prose’ to be the impression people get of the book.

I’m assuming everyone who comes here has read SoH, but just in case, be aware this is one long spoiler 🙂

Sleight of Hand – Synopsis

It’s a PDF file. I think you’ll be able to read it on site or download it and use Adobe or similar.

I would very much appreciate feedback from you (in comments or to the contact email address)-

How does it read? Are there things you feel have been left out which shouldn’t be? Are there things that would better capture some of the feel of SoH? Is it too long? Too short? Anything else?

Thanks 🙂

About Mark Henwick

I was born in Africa and left out in the sun too often. An early interest in philosophy and psychology was adequately exorcised by tending bars. And while trying to enroll in a class to read Science Fiction full time, I ended up taking an engineering degree which splendidly qualified me to move into marketing. That in turn spawned a late onset career in creative writing. When not working, I get high by the slightly less conventional means of a small light aircraft. My first books are available on Amazon at

11 responses to “Series synopses”

  1. Lee Durrance says :

    This is a pretty fair TL;DR version of SoH, but really, I don’t understand why folks can’t just refer back to the earlier books themselves. They read really well the second and third times.

  2. larry says :


    “Too long” — I find that any synopsis going beyond several “Kindle-size” pages is too much. You’ve provided virtually every scene-to-date with minimal scene detail — those who have read previous books won’t need that level of detail, those that haven’t won’t need to purchase previous books!

    Imagine the difficulty in providing the same detail in future books, say 3-4 books from now, which will include impactful “side-stories”.
    Several authors have attempted to deliver necessary information within “character lists” — character name, character information (added to in future stories), and perhaps the book they were introduced in. Probably not the “memory jogger” others are looking for, but helpful in reference…

    Perhaps if you treated each new book as the first book in a series, capturing Amber’s (or other protagonist) state-of-mind as (she) enters that particular story, in less than 500 words (and certainly no more than 1000). Something that has the general “feel” of the opening “paragraph” of your synopsis — a “hook” which can be inserted at the beginning of the book, thus becoming a benefit within Amazon’s sample…

  3. Dee DenBleyker says :

    Read both stories and loved them. Didn’t have any problem following your story line and can’t wait for your next book. In fact I thought you were concise and well written.

  4. leveke says :

    I think you need to make sure what you realy want out of this synopsis. If it should be a complete retelling of the book this is a very good version. For readers who just want a short reminder to jump right back into action this is to long. For example: ‘With the help of Victor and his guys, I got into the building disguised as a delivery courier.’ How Amber got into the building isnt a plotline but a detail which only adds to length. For a reminder synopsis I would prefer a heavier focus on the improtant characters and mention events only in summary form.

  5. soireadthisbooktoday says :

    Leveke makes some good points Mark. You know I love your work, but having a synopsis to “catch me up” would be good, IMO. With as many books as many of of read, sometimes it is going to be hard to pick up plot lines when there is a lapse between books.

    I like putting it at the end – as you said, if I was a new reader and the look inside showed just synopsis, it wouldn’t be appealing to the ‘normal’ reader (as opposed to the abnormal reader, like me), who reads each of the previous books before reading the newest by my favorite authors – of which, of course, you are one!

  6. Mark Henwick says :

    Thank you Lee, Larry, Dee, Leveke and Leiah.
    I’m going to double up – a long version (this one), and a short one (1000 words or less). Then I’ll put the short one at the end of the book and add a link to the web site for the long one, if the reader thinks the short one isn’t enough.
    This isn’t my main focus at the moment, but it’s been very useful to hear what you think. Thanks again.

    • Lee Durrance says :

      Good. 🙂 I am eager to see the finished Bian’s Tale. The segment you shared a few months ago looked good.

  7. Liz W. says :

    I have not found your writing hard to follow. I love to read, and I hate being spoon feed a plot. You don’t write that way. Perhaps the persons who have complained wish a less thoughtful plot.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thank you Liz and Lee.

      It’s a difficult path to follow, keeping the plot complex enough for some people without upsetting other people. 🙂

      Writing Bian’s Tale has slowed down – more in the end of month round-up which I’ll produce sometime this week.

  8. Richard says :

    I have no complaints about your writing. I try to introduce your books to people all the time. If you feel you need to add this then by all means, go ahead. I think you should put it at the end of the book though since I have never had any troubles fallowing the plot lines in your books.

    I also really appreciate the complexity of your books as well, it’s nice to find a good steak out there instead of the usual sugar coated cereal.

    My only beef with your books isn’t with either you or the writing, it’s with amazon and their total lack of support. I want to see you have fantastic success so that I can continue reading your books for a long time.

  9. Mark Henwick says :

    Thank you Richard. I think word of mouth is a major part of my success.

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