Reynie Muldoon is an orphan. His life is pretty grim, and he is often teased by the other orphans in the orphanage. His life doesn’t have much point, apart from Miss Perumal, his smiling tutor. But then, he reads in the newspapers something advertising directly to children : ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD LOOKING FOR SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES? So, the next day, he goes to Monk building. The tests he finds are rather strange. Do you like TV? Do you listen to the Radio? He passes all the tests – but on the second test, he meets the quirky Rhonda Kazembe, who drops her pencil down the grate. Reynie helps her by snapping his pencil in half, and sharpening the other end.
Rhonda offers him the test sheet answers, but Reynie declines. He passes, but Rhonda doesn’t.
He is told to stay in the building for the third Test. There he meets Sticky Washington and Kate Weatherall. They do several odd tests, like walk through a maze of identical rooms. At the end of all of the bizarre tests, they meet Mr Benedict, and another child, named Constance Contraire, who is a grumpy, stubborn small girl, and never even tries in anything, as when they did the first test, her answers are ‘ I don’t care!’ Or things much the same.
Mr Benedict, a man who is jolly and kind, but suffers from narcolepsy, falling asleep when overcome by great emotions, explains why they are needed, that they are needed to spy at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened ( L.I.V.E) as the headmaster, Ledroptha Curtain is sending messages into people’s minds without most of them knowing, though those who have sensitive minds will hear eerie chanting voices droning, never faltering, saying things like: “the missing aren’t missing, they are only departed, all minds, so like gold, closely guarded… ”
This is an adventure of friendship, discovery and science lessons ( the fun ones though) all the characters have unique and special personalities and talents – and evil masterminds are guaranteed to be evil!