Even though the Olympics are a distant memory to many (it has been a whole week, after all), a new serial iPad novel began, just as the Olympics ended. Seven Poets and the Assassin’s Secret kicks off during the closing ceremony of the London games. In the Seven Poets‘ universe there is something much bigger than a Spice Girls reunion afoot — a terrorist group called the Hand of Peace blows up the stadium, and kidnaps 10 IOC members with their spouse and children. In case you’re late to the game, catch a recap (with spoilers) of the action-packed first week with Seven Poets after the break.
Seven Poets offers readers a story, but it also includes a media outlet, called the Broadside to give readers additional perspective, and some of the chapters include reader challenges that spin off from a theme in the chapter.
Our story begins with a Prologue, introducing readers to Olympic stadium builder Charles Richter, his shady boss Alain Hague of J&D Consulting, and Hague’s perfidious, one-named henchman, Tomás. Richter is a patsy who gets himself locked up during the game’s end and then subsequently murdered muttering only, “Don’t believe … Tell my sister … Paris” to the astonished children.
Oh, yeah. During the first chapter we meet six children, presumably our plucky heroes and heroines. As children of IOC dignitaries it’s unsurprising that they hail from six countries and speak seven languages among them. Much of the narrative centers on Australian Jessica Wood and Brit Julian Peterson, who are both around 11-years-old, keep diaries, and know how to sail. Russian twins Leo and Lexi, Eli (father is French, mother from Côte d’Ivoire), Ali (or Al-Aziz Alsaif), and a six-year-old Chinese boy the other children christen Five comprise the supporting players during the first week.
It’s not long into the narrative that the children are separated from their parents. After a van crash kills their driver they escape to the house of parishoner Henry Jordan, “the type of man you trust without reason.” Jordan helps the children escape from Tomás, but isn’t so lucky himself. These kids are leaving a trail of dead men in their wake, yet I suspect kind strangers will continue to help them.
Jordan sets the kids up in a boat and sends them to Michael Higgins, a giant of a man who just happens to own a helicopter, a yacht, and have the kind of connections that will vouch for him if he’s caught smuggling the children while the entire Western world is locked down.
As the final chapter of the first week winds down, we leave Michael trying to take the children to safety in Paris where Henry Jordan’s brother Edmund may offer them assistance. Does Her Majesty’s Coast Guard buy the story that he “just wanted to get the engine running and get out on the water for a little while” or have they figured out what he’s up to? Surely Tomás can’t be far of the kid’s trail either.
As readers, we have access to information that the children don’t. We learn from the Broadside that not only has the Hand of Peace claimed responsibility for blowing up the Olympic stadium, they plan to execute their hostages at the rate of one per day without a list of demands. Philip Peterson, Julian’s father, is the first victim, followed by Dimitri Romanov. Also, the Broadside is now run by the former intern, an even-minded soul who was the only employee to survive the bomb blast.
Hand of Peace’s demands are unclear. The prologue and earlier Broadside entries indicate the group attained a near cult-like status during the Olympics. Their threats translated into Olympics fans buying out-sized Hand of Peace foam hands and murmuring about “what it all meant” as Hand of Peace graffiti covered London.
It’s not too late to catch up with Seven Poets and follow the children through until the series wraps up in mid-October. The first week saw the release of six chapters but most weeks will have around four. Although the chapters aren’t lengthy, there is more than enough action to keep readers waiting for the next installment.
Are you reading Seven Poets? Are you doing the challenges? Let us know your thoughts on this innovative iPad serial in the comments.