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Ann Searle Horowitz

Middle Grade; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

Twelve-year-old Richard Tomlin has almost given up on finding his dad. Instead, he focuses all of his energy on being the youngest swimmer ever on his team to qualify for Junior Olympics. But everything changes when his new goggles transport him to the Lost City of Atlantis! Confronting shapeshifters and dark magical forces, Richard channels his inner science geek and the power of positive thinking to stay alive. As he struggles to tame the magic of his goggles, his strong-willed twin, Lucy, finds a way to join him under the sea, and the siblings are thrust into the War of Generations. To win the war—and save the planet—Richard must embrace his role in an ancient prophecy. Problem is, the prophecy appears to predict his own death. So what’s a warrior to do?

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 10.00 out of 10


Plot: Twelve-year-old twins Lucy and Ricky are competitive swimmers, and Rick’s goal is to become the youngest-ever member of the Junior Olympics swim team. But his plans are side-tracked when his new goggles turn a perfectly ordinary swim into a deep dive to the lost city of Atlantis via a portal created by a recent earthquake. The War of Generations is raging below sea level and if Rick and Lucy cannot help to win it, not only Atlantis but the world above the sea will fall to the Atlanteans. Trident is an action-packed fantasy adventure full of magic and mayhem where the world of ancient mythology is expertly interwoven with the lives of contemporary almost-teens. Rick, as it turns out is a descendent of Poseidon’s eldest son, and Neptune appears in modern garb. It is a heroes’ quest with two strong protagonists, one male and one female, who are undaunted by the tasks they face.

Prose/Style: Horowitz is a master storyteller, giving the reader enough information to make the tale believable without padding the text with unnecessary detail. Crisp writing, middle school age appropriate sentence structure, and events tumbling one over the next at a breakneck pace make this a novel youngsters will not want to put down.

Originality: Mythology and magic, gods and tweens, an ancient prophecy and a youthful quest intermingle convincingly in this engaging tale. A high-school All-American swimmer herself, Horowitz creates an absolutely credible milieu for her young athletes, and as the mother of multiples she is more than familiar with the unique relationship shared by even fraternal twins. She puts ancient gods and modern teens in the same universe and makes their interactions utterly convincing.

Character Development/Execution: Rick and Lucy are absolutely true-to-life preteens and twins, arguing often but unreservedly devoted to each other. The adults seem to be predictably clueless, but the underwater gods have the ancients’ understanding of history and destiny.

Date Submitted: July 27, 2021

Tami Lewis Brown, author of The Map of Me, and Soar, Elinor!

"The pace of Trident is THUNDEROUS and exciting. I lost count of the plot twists and every one of them was surprising and inevitable."

Terrence Dunn, author of Out Beyond the Verrazano

"Terrific writing! Trident has a Harry Potter good-for-all-ages feel. Even adults will be entertained."