The Unexpected One
Inside the high brick wall it looked like any ordinary playground. The grass was clipped neatly and the edges trimmed. A thick rubber compound covered the ground under the climbing frames, swings and sea-saws. Several young children played or sat under the covering shade sail. That’s where the similarity ended. There was no laughter. No sound of children yelling to each other as they played. Two women stood to one side, arms folded, eyes on the children, neither talking. They were dressed identically in grey trousers and tunics reminiscent of hospital scrubs, as were the children – the children who were all identical to each other.
Three short hooter blasts sounded. The twenty-minute time period allowed for the day’s recreation was up. The two women stepped forward as the children silently formed a line and with downcast eyes marched towards the doorway of the adjacent building, back to their training. All the children but one. She was the only girl. She hadn’t been playing with the others. She had slipped off by herself, somehow unobserved, and sat still as stone, knees drawn up to her chin, hands clasping her ankles, hair covering her down-turned face. She was hidden from view underneath the shaded canopy of a large shrub. No sound. No movement. Maybe they wouldn’t find her.
The girl was tiny. Her grey tunic gaped at the neck and covered her almost to her ankles. Her knees, drawn up as they were, fitted inside it. She didn’t respond when one of the women came out and called, her voice rough with impatience. “Severn! Severn!” The child cringed and shuffled back further into the shrubbery. “Severn! Where are you?” There was no response. The woman strode across the grass muttering loudly about what she would do to the child when she found her. She yelled, shook the leaves of the shrubs and trees, and kicked at the lower branches. “Damn that child! She must’ve gone inside.”
The soft light that began to glow within the shrubs went unnoticed as she turned her back and walked off. The light brightened. The forlorn little girl curled up tighter.
“Child.” A gentle voice spoke beside her. “Child. Don’t be afraid.” She felt a feather-light touch of a hand on her shoulder and raised her head. The figure of a man stood beside her. He radiated a gentle, inviting light and warmth that dispelled her fears. She looked up and was drawn into the depth of his eyes. He smiled. She smiled back. It was the first smile that had ever lit her face. The soft light spread out from him, covering her, enveloping her, embracing her. “Come, child. You belong to me.” He reached out. With no hesitation she placed her tiny hand in his, stood and gazed up at him with absolute trust and wonder. “It is time. We must go.”
Man and child disappeared and the glow of light faded under the shrubbery as alarm bells rang out across the grounds. Panic had hit the compound. Mere seconds later urgent calls rang out as a group of searchers rushed outdoors. Frantic, grey clad men and women searched every inch of the playground, underneath every bush and in every tree. Every nook, cranny, crevice and corner of the whole facility, inside and out, was thoroughly searched. The girl was nowhere to be found. How did she get out? It was impossible. Fear began to creep into the hearts and minds of the search parties. The two women whose job it had been to watch over the children, knew, without doubt, there would be hell to pay for losing the child. In fear for their own lives they searched again.
Deeper inside the facility, in a separate secured area, a woman was working with a single little boy. He was not a strong child but he showed much intellectual promise. For a long time now the woman had been regretting her involvement with the training and development of these children. Her heart was gripped with an agonising pain at her part in their suffering and now, in a moment of overwhelming remorse, she made up her mind. Taking advantage of the commotion and activity throughout the compound, she saw an opportunity and took her chance. In one fluid motion she picked up the little boy, wrapped him roughly in her woollen coat and fled the building.
My Review of The Unexpected One
I was asked by the small publisher to read a book by one of her new clients. I am so glad that I agreed. This science fiction novel is primarily for young adults, but, adults of any age can appreciate the story. I was sent the prologue to determine if I wanted to read the book and I was hooked by the end if the first paragraph with “the children who were all identical” speaking of a group of children, all boys.
The story was action packed and the talents of the two main characters, a girl and a boy, who appeared to be twins, were extraordinary. There is political intrigue, conspiracies, supernatural abilities and a cast of supporting characters that are truly excellent. It took me about a day just at the Thanksgiving holiday to read this fast paced novel. For me it was a real page turner.
I understood from the beginning that the book is written in Kiwi English, the language of native New Zealanders. This meant that there were a few colloquialisms that I was unsure of the meaning. The book takes place in both New Zealand and the United States. I was a little taken aback that the American characters would speak in the Kiwi dialect, but, the publisher assured me that those foreigners who actually visit pick up the dialect quickly and begin using it themselves. I’ll take her word for it. A major portion of the action does take the place in New Zealand, though, there are some exciting scenes that occur on US soil as well. The descriptions were just the right amount of detail to give a good mental image of the setting. The characters were well developed and under the conditions of the story quite believable. The plot moved along at a nice clip and never strained my suspension of disbelief. Overall the effect was engaging and quite entertaining.
The Unexpected One was originally published by the author under the pen name of J.R. Smith as My Name Is Tamsin. The book has been updated and republished as The Unexpected One by Joanne Ruth. The following reviews were written for My Name Is Tamsin.
Fantastic 1st novel! The best fantasy sci-fi book I’ve read in a very long time. JR Smith ranks alongside the likes of Orson Scott Card, CJ Cherryh and Sara Douglass for her storytelling. I can’t wait to read the sequel!!
Top Customer Reviews
⇒5.0 out of 5 stars There is sci-fi & fantasy, romance & gripping action, international intelligence & a cruel cult. I couldn’t put it down.
By Bronwyn Ritchie on July 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
From the first page to the last I was hooked.
There was mystery and intrigue from the first page to the last.
There were hints of sci-fi. There were beautifully painted, authentic relationships. There was suspense and action – all from the first page to the last.
The plot is well-constructed with the introduction of the existence, the strange, slightly menacing environments and the unique powers of two intriguing children on different sides of the world. They, along with their families and all of those around them, are drawn inexorably together and the thrilling action builds. Relationships between various members of the two families build.
Finally, the families are caught up and drawn together into the sinister battles between the cult with plans for world government that genetically engineered the children and the international security forces.
I enjoyed the way J.R. Smith introduced each character, each situation and then developed them through subtle suggestion.
Her prose is lyrical at times and flows incredibly smoothly.
I love the imagination, too, behind this story.
It is fantasy/sci-fi, of the highest order, and yet it is made so plausible by the excellent description of the ordinary people and ordinary lives that are turned upside down by their support for the children.
It is made enjoyable by the romance between some characters, by the foibles of others, and by the strong, warm family bonds.
And it is made gripping by the thrilling mystery and action themes that build throughout the book.
J.R. Smith has a beautiful storytelling style, and has made good use of her obvious love for the countryside of her home, New Zealand.
⇒5.0 out of 5 stars My Name Is Tamsin – A Book Review
By Debra L. Mauldin on July 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
‘My Name Is Tamsin’ by J R Smith, is a very intriguing read. It is a science-fiction thriller with mystery and romance. The story hooked me from the beginning and I found it hard to stop reading.
Author J R Smith writes a disturbing plot with strong, caring, and loving characters, along with some evil characters, and some fantasy characters. “My Name Is Tamsin’ is full of fast paced action, mystery, and suspense. The well described characters pull the reader along, page after page.
I highly recommend this book to all readers. It contains elements that I think we can all find interesting.
‘My Name is Tamsin’ is a 2014 Penrose pub release. I was provided a pdf copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
⇒5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! This new author is worth following.
By BarbNZ on April 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I chose this rating because this new novel is refreshing, both in content and style of writing. While not a real science fiction fan, I still found the story believable and touching. The action is at times breath taking, possibly due to the pared down, raw descriptions of danger, and the character’s reactions to that. The author’s writing style is clear and fast paced, so you cant wait to see what happens next. I hope there is more to this story, which introduces a disturbing plot, with very real, yet not so real, in your face characters. I highly recommend this book, and will look out for this author again.
⇒5.0 out of 5 starsAmazing!!
By Amazon Customer on May 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Amazing! Couldn’t put it down …brilliantly written keeps you intrigued and wanting to know what happens next…cant wait for the next one 😉
⇒5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book!
By Gayle Spence on May 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Awesome book. Great characters and fast paced action. Lots of drama. First for this author. Can’t wait for the next!
BOOK BLURB – WAKING FIRE
For a brief while she had believed they were safe but now, Tamsin has to face once again the sinister cult leader who wants her and Thomas back in his power – and this time she has to win for good.
The power of the High Priest of another world flows through her as she faces the challenges that come thick and fast and along with those fierce physical battles also comes a growing self-awareness, and a rapidly changing family dynamic. At a stage in life when most teenagers are enjoying their time before maturity tempers their youthful passions, Tamsin faces her greatest battles yet, both inside herself and against her enemy. Can she cope with the forces that rage inside her as she fights for her life and the future of those she has come to love?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joanne Ruth was born and lives in New Zealand, one of the world’s favourite tourist destinations and adventure capitols. Writing has been her passion since childhood and with inspiration from adventurous children and grandchildren, the beauty and wonders of the world around her and the amazing and unlimited capabilities we humans have, it was inevitable that she should become a novelist.
Joanne writes inspired stories and though she has come to be published later in life she has many adventures yet to tell – and maybe even some secrets to reveal – for all of us know . . . that for something to catch the attention and be believable . . . it must have at least a little bit of truth.
NB: Please note that Joanne Ruth is a New Zealander and writes as one using English/New Zealand (Kiwi) language, slang and idioms. Feel free to google any references not understood. New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful country and a version of almost every wonder of the world can be found here. Kiwis are amazing people, diverse of culture and race and are very accepting of the culture and language of others. We would love you to visit us and enjoy this incredible place and people too.
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014221278651
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website address: https://authorjoruthsmith.wordpress.
Soon I will have a review of the second book, Waking Fire. Below I’ve posted the buy links for both books.