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Hello - I'm new here.

Although I have been a semi-active member of Litopia for several years, this is my fist time here. I've just finished revisions on my novel LUCAS AND THE GIRL FROM THE SEA following a full paid Jericho Writers review. Would anyone be willing to read the (I hope) final result and comment? I am happy to do a reciprocal review. Should I post a synopsis?

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Comments (14)
  • Welcome. I'm new here as well. (As in just joined today.) Can you tell me your basic elevator pitch for LUCAS AND THE GIRL FROM THE SEA?  The title alone intrigues me, and I'm happy to have a look, especially if I can tap your brain for some feedback on one of my own unpublished works-in-progress.   

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    • Yes and Yes. 

      I have copy-pasted as I can''t  attach. 

      Odessa 1919 Synopsis

      Paul Vaatz is a land-owner, and founder of the Daimler-Mercedes agency in Odessa. He has a wife, Sophia, and daughters, Tamara(12)and Isa (9). They are fourth generation assimilated German colonists. His adopted country is at war with Germany. In 1917 the Bolshevik Revolution erupts in St Petersburg. From January 1918 there is a hiatus of occupying forces in Odessa, the city being intermittently occupied by the Red Bolshevik army, the German Central Powers, the Western Alliance, and Ukrainian independent forces. 

      Paul’s journey of survival starts in April 1919, when the Reds enter Odessa, for the second time. His life is immediately at risk from Lenin’s Red Terror,as the Cheka aggressively sets about liquidating all who are rich or have influence. He is desperate to get his family out of Odessa and to live anonymously in the surrounding villages. Before he can do this, the Red Army expropriates his apartment and he has to extricate himself, twice, from being shot on the orders of same red-headedBolshevik. He fears whether Sophia and his girls will cope if he is executed. They make a daring escape from Odessa. His family continue to be hounded by the Cheka. A reward of 50,000 Roubles is placed on his head. With him are, the families of a brother and a brother-in-law, both called Albert.

      A Bolshevik requisitioning unit arrives in the village of Grossliebental, where the families are being given refuge. The unwelcome visitors demand grain, farm animals, and forty young men for the Red Army. Paul is complicit in the murder of the whole Bolshevik unit. Tamara and Isa witness the carnage and help with the clear up. Sophia frets as to how the experience will affect them. Red retribution is fierce, but the villagers resist and a full-scale battle develops. General Scholl of the White Army takes charge. Paul becomes a sniper, overcoming his discomfort at targeting fellow humans rather than a stag. After early successes, they lose, and he returns to his family. 

      The family treks west, to the River Dniester, hoping to escape to Romania. This plan is fails, as the Romanians shoot refugees attempting to cross. A Cheka search party arrives with information that the Vaatz family is close. The villagers are threatened with death if they do not reveal where the refugees are hidden. The unbelievable bravery of the villagers ensures the families survive. 

      News leaks that the Whites have recaptured Odessa but Red forces block the families’ route back. They risk their lives in sneaking past the guards. After trekking back through destroyed villages they reach Odessa. Paul despairs when told that the Cheka has executed his brother, Carl, who remained behind. He blames the Bolshevik. They restore and refurnish their vandalised apartment, and sell it to a rich baron from Saint Petersburg. Paul happens upon his Bolshevik nemesis and exacts a sweet revenge. 

      In January 1919, a steamer arrives to repatriate the last remaining German prisoners of war. Paul gets a passage for his family. His surviving brother, Albert, is optimistic that the Whites can win and refuses to join him. On the evening before departure, Paul achieves closure in his conflict with the Bolshevik. 

      The family celebrate Christmas in a Biscay Bay storm. One month later they are welcomed by brass bands and real coffee as they dock in Hamburg.

      During the final collapse of Odessa, in February 1920, brother Albert and wife Mathildeforce their way, through panicking crowds onto a lighter that ferries them to a Russian warship. The fugitives realise their vessel has lost power. Must they return to the death on shore? The British cruiser HMS Ceres comes to the rescue and tows them to Varna in Bulgaria. They journey overland to Germany and to an emotional family reunion.

      The linear story line is interspersed with nostalgic, first person flashbacks, of better times, from Tamara and Isa.

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      • Sorry Ron (if that is your name) this doesn't really interest me.

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        • Thanks for your response. Understood. Sensible to ask for a synopsis. Hope you find someone to work with. Must say I am having trouble navigating the townhouse web site. Anyhow, good luck.

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        • Hi

          I'm also new here; new to any social media, and new to writing.  I would love to read Lucas and The Girl from the Sea.  The Burning Sky series also looks very intriguing.  I have two projects that could do with leaving the vacuum for some some feedback. One is my first and only Novel. The other is my first and only short story.

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          • Hi Richard, I am also new here. In fact only just joined today. I am also new to any social media platform, although I have been writing for a number of years. Yes please feel free to post a synopsis for Lucas and The Girl from the Sea. I look forward to receiving it.

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            • Sorry to be late responding. Can't see how to attach a file so here's the synopsis: 


              Alone on his island, Lucas, old, deaf, grieving and in pain, decides to kill himself – until Eva arrives. She is young, hard, aggressive, and on the run from her abusers. Can they redeem each other? 


              Europe is being torn apart by a humanitarian disaster. In the north (Nordica) nature still flourishes and life is comfortable, but a growing tide of refugees is turning the south (Balkania) into a region of horror. Between them is prosperous central Europe and above them all are the watchers – the drones, the satellites and the birds of prey. 

              Life for Lucas Bergman on his remote northern island has become worthless. Old, deaf, lonely and in pain, he is making detailed plans to end it. Katje, his wife, has been murdered.  His daughter Helga, still angry that he favours her ex-husband Kaspar, won’t speak to him. Preparing to die, he is interrupted by the arrival of the young, foul-mouthed and aggressive Eva, seeking refuge from her abusers. In an idyllic setting, they form a brittle friendship, but just as Lucas realises he has some sort of love for her, she disappears, leaving only a few enigmatic symbols on the bottom of a discarded shoe.

              Tomas Smith, a younger ex-colleague from the secretive agency ’The Firm’, visits him with the news that Eva Kovaks was one of their best agents and that they need his visual acuity for a search and rescue mission. Despising The Firm and suspecting that Tomas had sent Eva to trap him, he angrily refuses, but he can’t forget her, and eventually agrees to help. With Marta Lantos, an expert in firearms and electronics, they make plans to strike at the heart of the slave network which Eva had penetrated and unmask “Carl” the man who had abused her. 

              The three travel south to enter the world of the migrants – Marta as a volunteer, Tomas as a wealthy ‘customer’ for the slave network, and Lucas, now addicted to powerful opioids, as a refugee. Their first destination is the sprawling refugee camp called “Providence” in Balkania. Here Lucas finds clues to his wife’s murder, and Marta befriends a “groomer” who is selecting the young and beautiful from among the refugees.  Tomas, as “Tarquin Selkirk” hears bar talk about a castle somewhere near which has ‘the best girls ever’. All clues lead to “Castle Drago” in the forest where the horrifying secret of “The Sanctum” is revealed. Here Eva is imprisoned by “Carl” and Lucas has to pay 70,000 Euros to spend a few hours with her. However, he faces a terrible dilemma: His daughter Helga has been following them but has been captured and brutally treated by Carl and his henchman. . 

              The castle is stormed. Helga, and Lucas are rescued just before The Sanctum, with all its prisoners, is blown up. Surly and embittered, Lucas is intent on returning to the island to end his life properly. Helga however discovers an unopened letter offering a new and promising treatment for his pain. They are reconciled and Lucas decides to live out his days on the island with Helga and his beloved birds and animals. The book ends with a hint that both Eva and the network might still be alive.

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              • Hi Richard,

                I just posted some feedback about your synopsis on the file itself. Hope it's useful.


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                • Very useful indeed - many thanks. This book has been buzzing round in my head for about 4 years, and had its origin in the refugee crisis in southern Europe. It's very useful to have a fresh perspective on the story.

                  I'll see if I can be as helpful with yours.


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