I like some of what you did in your rewrite, but I'll have to see if I can pull any of my voice out of it. And, of course, why a character is doing something is far more important than what they're doing, and that's why in my previous version, I wanted to leave the heroes out of the query completely, since Hannibal's dilemma is the main conflict. But then again, they play a big role in the book, as well, so it simply boils down to me making a decision, because I don't think it's possible to fit all 5 of the heroes into anything less than 3 sentences ...
With regards to Salvatore, I made it about 2/3's of the way through The Demon Awakens, and I just wasn't impressed. I've tried to pick up it again a couple times, but I've been so burned by Salvatore's more contemporary Drizzt books that I just couldn't get back into it. Shame on me, I know, but the man was such a master for the first 12 books of that series that reading anything that's not up to that standard is just difficult.
Alright, gotta do some bill-paying work before I continue my QUERY adventure.
Thanks for your insight. P.S.- if you have the time you could always read my book, as I'd be happy to give you and anyone else on this forum a free copy. I really think you'd enjoy it.