What I Did Today

I’m writing late today mostly because I got sick this morning. It’s a work-at-home day, and I’ve been working at home between trips to the bathroom. I’ll take my temp in a few minutes to see if I should worry.

However, I also wrote a synopsis for Prodigies, a novel I feel compelled to query because of the change of branding from fantasy to New Adult fantasy. It fits better there because it’s kind of a coming of age novel, with the teen protagonist having to navigate uncomfortable truths about her life.

Here’s the synopsis:

Grace Silverstein, an eighteen-year-old viola prodigy at a prestigious high school for the arts, flies to Poland to participate in an international assembly. Her hosts, including Dominika Wojcik and her young daughter Anastasja, plan to kidnap and coerce the prodigies under a flimsy mask of hospitality. Grace discovers that one prodigy, Ichirou Shimizu, has a preternatural talent for manipulating moods through his graphic designs. When the evening banquet takes on menacing undertones, Grace finds a friend and protector in Lord Mayor Przemyslaw Przybyszewski, who helps Grace and Ichirou escape from the hotel. With the help of a small handful of strangers, find an all-night pierogi place to hide in. Ichirou’s chaperone, Ayana Hashimoto, smuggles the two out of the country with the help of her mysterious accomplice. On their journey cross-Europe, Grace finds Ayana disturbing and Ichirou cute and annoying, and everyone seems to be keeping secrets. The three part ways at Copenhagen, and Grace dodges the hosts’ accomplices with the help of Ayana’s secret partner, Grzegorz Koslowski, another talented person who played most of the helpful strangers. He protects her until she catches her flight home.

Back in the US, Grace’s ordeal becomes a memory as she clings to her alma mater and takes a gap year before college. Then Ichirou and Ayana arrive from Japan to warn Grace that the foreign agents from her trip to Poland, as well as Homeland Security, close in on Grace and her compatriots. They fight with the vice president and president of the school, Estelle DeWinter and Beau Boren until they release Grace from her job with the school. Startled by the news and by Ichirou’s transformation into a tall, handsome teen, Grace has no idea why anyone pursues her, as she has no talent like Ichirou does. She goes with Ayana and Ichirou anyhow.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

While on the run, the three find refuge in a cabin secured by Grzegorz, who Ayana has not yet met; Grace will not reveal his identity.  Ichirou helps Grace discover her own talent of manipulating emotions through her beloved music. Grace realizes that she has always sensed her talent, but that the acknowledgment of her ability leaves her in doubt as to the ethics behind her augmented performances. Eventually, on the way back from Lakeview to copy music for Grace to practice her talent with, the three are ambushed by a sharpshooter who shoots Grace in the chest. Grzegorz heals her, revealing his dramatic talent, and Grace is left to ponder the miracle that brought her back to life. Ichirou helps her cope by making a soothing graphics video which helps her sleep – but brings her into the space she found when she was dying. When she has recovered enough, Grace and the others discuss the costs of using their talents too often, to discover that Grace and Ichirou endanger themselves if they use their talents too much.

The four – Ayana, Ichirou, Grzegorz (called Greg) and Grace – now are on the run again. They go to an empty cafe, where they access a working group on the Dark Web with Greg’s credentials. There, they are confronted by the proprietor of the café, who identifies himself as Weissrogue, a legendary white-hat hacker. He convinces Grace to use her talent on him, because he doubts that he has ever felt sad. After she does so, Greg rages at her and runs outside. Grace follows him, and he kisses her, then pushes her away, and Grace gets the impression that Greg is deeply damaged. Ichirou balks, feeling jealousy toward Greg and Grace. When looking through the site, Renaissance Theory, the group finds that the children with talents which have been carefully schooled (such as themselves) are called Renaissance Children, and that the group from Poland pursuing them, Second World Renaissance, plans to attack the United Nations during their general assembly.

Weissrogue, whose talent is luck, follows instructions from Pzybyszewski and hides the group in the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. On the way out on the ferry, however, a Homeland Security agent attempts to accost them and is stopped by Grace’s mournful song. He jumps off the side of the boat, whose personnel rescues him and holds him until evaluated by a psychiatrist. Once ashore and settled at the hotel, Grace and Ichirou venture out and find Beau Boren, who sounds like he knows about Grace’s talent; Grace gets a bad feeling about him. Ichirou and Grace return to the room to find that Ayana and Greg are in bed together. Grace runs off and Ichirou finds here and listens to her muddled feelings. Later, the four and Weissrogue deliberate whether to get involved in stopping the group behind Renaissance Theory. They decide that they will try to stop the plans for the General Assembly, with Anastasja Wojcik acting as a fire talent who will burn the assembly hall down while the others assassinate three world leaders. Second World Renaissance will use their talents’ destructive abilities to angle for Renaissance representation at the UN.

Grace and Ichirou’s talents make the centerpiece of the plan to stop the conflagration, as they both can control moods and emotions. They decide that using their gifts to stop the conflagration and murders will require they work together on video with music to be run on the screen before the Assembly while people are filing in. They meet with a record producer on Weissrogue’s list, taken from Homeland Security, of suspected talents. The record producer, William Alden, helps them create the potent video. Grace and Ichirou discover a synergy that makes them more powerful – and more connected.

Once in New York, the group puts together their strategy, which involves Greg smuggling the video loop into the audiovisual room, Ayana and Weissrogue and Grace and Ichirou creating distraction. Although this goes successfully, the Homeland Security agent pursuing them turns off the video and kidnaps Grace and Ichirou when they try to put the video on again. Once they have persuaded the agent, Walter Adams, to help them, they run into the assembly room. They find the room occupied by members of Second World Renaissance and their soldiers. Amid the chaos, Grace sings while the others try to stop the attackers. One trains his semiautomatic on Grace, and Walter Adams shoots him to death. Greg brings him back to life, and his allegiance flips. Grace’s song, amplified by Ichirou’s synergy, moves the audience to fight against the attackers, and they are overwhelmed by numbers. Greg stops Dominika and the reluctant fire talent Anastasja from setting the curtains aflame; Dominika reveals that Anastasja is his daughter.

In the aftermath, several things are revealed: Beau Boren, President of Lakeview School, is a member of the Renaissance Theory group with hopes to deliver Grace to Second World Renaissance. Estelle DeWinter knew this and was trying to protect Grace. Przemyslaw Przybyszewski has been more than Greg’s benefactor, being involved in an anti-Second World movement. Greg and Ayana finally get together when Greg finds out Ayana is carrying his baby, and Ichirou and Grace finally admit their relationship.

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