Dear Write Mentor Agents,

12 year old Henry Lin is obsessed with winning Mendong Academy’s prestigious Nine Trials. He believes it’s the only way to prove his mother isn’t the murderer they all say. Even when he isn’t nominated by the village Lord, he refuses to give up and tricks a sage master into nominating him instead.

Bo Kang, a shape shifting Dark Master has other ideas though. He seeks a secret that was told to Henry by his mother many years ago. Drawn into a dangerous adventure, Henry must fight back to protect his place in the Nine Trials. He enlists the assistance of three friends, a warrior, an avid reader and an inventor. And together with an enlarged dragonfly and the use of Twinecraft magic, they succeed in defeating Bo Kang.

But when Bo Kang kidnaps the inventor, Henry is forced to make a decision – continue in the Nine Trials, or drop out and save his new found friend. Will Henry choose friendship over self-obsession and sacrifice his last chance to prove his mother’s innocence?

NINE TRIALS is a middle grade fantasy adventure, complete at 65,000 words. It draws inspiration from the adventures and friendships that reside at the heart of a story like Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson.

Many thanks in advance for taking to time to read my submission.

Best Wishes

Claire Boissiere @eaboissiere


Chapter 1 – Whispered Secret

There were many stories about what lay beyond the wall. Snatched whispers and wild rumours, far-fetched tales handed down over centuries.

And Henry Lin had taken note of them all, memorising every word and dissecting every detail.

At any one time, precisely nine people had permission from Emperor Wucheng Sung to go outside the wall, and they’d all sworn an oath of secrecy. None of the Emperor’s Nine Collectors of Relics would have dared to break their vow, which should have meant the fanciful tales were nothing more than fiction. Except Henry’s mother had been one of the Nine and once, when he was little, she’d told him a secret.

Henry gripped a sturdy gnarl and jabbed his right foot into the fork of two branches. Then with a final push, he rolled his body onto a smooth bough that cradled him like a hammock. Even after climbing to the uppermost branch, he wasn’t nearly high enough to see over the wall. Stone block upon stone block stretched upward, an insurmountable sheer face, and at dusk, people often likened its shadow to a heavy veil descending over the State of Yunhei.

He turned away from the wall and gazed out past his back garden toward a sprawling village, insignificant except for its proximity to the wall. But the jumble of houses packed on all four sides of a broad grass-covered courtyard was Henry’s home, the only one he’d ever known. He stared at the arched roofs that formed a glimmering saw-tooth edge against the darkening sky. Night was on its way.  

‘Henry. Food!’ a gruff voice called from below.

Henry shuddered at the sound of Tian Tung. The old man’s knack of bad timing infuriated him, with darkness still descending, there’d been no time for stargazing. Tian’s dinner announcement would ruin his fun, again.

He’d never got his head round why his mother chose Tian to be his guardian if she died. Yet, that’s exactly what she’d done. To make things worse, Henry hated Tian’s cooking, especially when left to go cold. It was the same every night, heaped stodgy noodles in watery soup.