When his world changing experiment is sabotaged, fifteen year old genius Benjamin Knight is cast into another world where an uneasy peace hangs in the balance. Saved from near death by a band of traders, he joins the Road Trains on their journey north as he struggles to understand what’s happened to him.
However, Ben soon realises that everyone has their secrets and that no one is safe, especially when one man has the power to realise his ambitions.
Friends are lost, plots revealed and battles fought as the unlikely companions seek to prevent war.
Targeted Age Group: 10+
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
The Book Excerpt:
Ben had first come to the attention of Excelsior Technologies at the age of five. They were responsible for pioneering new educational modules at his primary school, making everything computerised as part of a government pilot scheme. Whilst other children in his class were learning how to spell cat and dog, Ben somehow managed to hack and rewrite part of the code to allow him access to the internet. The techs thought it must have been some sort fluke, until he did it again on request and explained where the errors in the code were.
By age six he was solving complex equations and reading everything he could get his hands on about physics and mathematics. Soon afterwards his parents were ‘asked’ to take him out of school, and that was when Excelsior stepped in with their fully funded private education package.
How exciting it had all seemed in the beginning, meeting professors and scientists, playing games that Ben later learned were detailed tests of his abilities. By age eight he could solve problems faster than any supercomputer, and at nine he had rewritten some of the foundations of quantum mechanics.
He was still living at home with his parents at that time. It seemed like he had met scientists and researchers from half the world, and words like savant or prodigy were often mentioned, though it meant little to him. He just liked the numbers, they made everything make sense. Then Excelsior had suggested that there was little more he could learn in England, but they had a shiny new research and development division being built in Europe. Ben jumped at the chance, he could finally bring the theories of his equations into reality. He hadn’t realised at the time what the consequences would be.
At first his parents were coming with him, of course they were. On the day of the flight everything was packed and he was rearing to go. They were each allowed two cases and everything else would follow in the coming weeks. As long as he had his laptop and access to the internet, Ben needed little else. Then something happened at the airport. Passport and visa problems the official said. His dad was surprised, but said it would all be sorted in a day or two and he would follow on then. His mum would be there so that was okay.
Then two days after that his aunt fell sick. His mother had to return home straight away, the doctors didn’t think that she would last the weekend. Sadly it turned out that they were right. Then there had been the accident after the funeral, shattering his father’s leg and putting his mother in intensive care for a week.
The suits from Excelsior were all very sorry. They put him on the first flight back to London, sending Andre along with him to take care of him. Andre had been his first driver.
He had taken him straight to the hospital as soon as the plane had landed. His mother was still unconscious but his father was waiting for him, his leg in plaster with metal pins sticking out in all directions. He cried and hugged his father, swearing that he would never leave him or his mother again, his father insisting the same.
Then the nurse took him to see his mother and Andre stayed with his father. He wasn’t allowed into the room, but he stood outside the window staring at the lifeless body of his mother, surrounded by tubes and machines. He could still see it now, every detail with pinpoint accuracy. He felt like he stood there for hours, but it was only minutes before the nurse returned him to his father.
His father was crying again, but he seemed different. He told Ben that they couldn’t care for him whilst they were in hospital. He had to go with Andre, back to the airport and they would be together soon. Ben sobbed and held his father tightly until finally his father pushed him away whilst trying to hold back great heaving sobs of his own.
He had seen less and less of them since then. The last time had been for his fifteenth birthday. His mother looked so thin now and his father just looked lost, broken. He hadn’t realised it for a long time but now he knew. He wasn’t theirs any more, he belonged to Excelsior.
They dressed it up with empty promises and extravagant luxury. He lived in a big house with a heated pool and massive television. Every games console and game that was available. The best food. The constant presence of Andre. He had managed to get away from the house twice but they found him within hours. There was woodland surrounding the house for as far as the eye could see, but both times he found the helicopter hovering over him, blowing dirt and leaves in his face.
After the second time Andre has just disappeared, replaced with the straight backed, stern faced Stefan. The rest, as they say, is history.