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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Forthcoming Veronica Roth novel may satisfy those saddened or angered by the ending of Allegiant

1 April 2014

                When I was at the Booksellers Society Conference in Minneapolis last week I had lunch with Lou Flirpah, who is the media representative for Katherine Tegan Books (the imprint of HarperCollins that publishes the Divergent Books.) Anyway, Lou mentioned that Veronica Roth will be making a major announcement this coming week about her next full length book which will be called Emergent.  I told him I write a blog that is mainly for teachers and I would love to be able to give them some kind of a teaser for what is to come.  Well, he started talking and went on for quite a while and at the end of it all he didn’t tell me that I couldn’t pass this information on.  So I am going to.  Be careful where you forward the link to though because I think this might not be public knowledge yet.

                Warning:  If you haven’t read the Divergent books yet – go do so before you read on.  In the paragraphs that follow, there will be spoilers. 

                So Mr. Flirpah told me that Veronica Roth was surprised and disappointed at the anger, sadness, and turmoil that many of her readers felt upon reading Allegiant particularly Tris’s decision to give up and go with her mom at the end.  She conceived the new book as a way to get those disgruntled readers back on her side.  As I tell you about what Lou said, bear in mind that he was speaking pretty quickly and that we were having lunch at Big Bowl (which is kind of like Chicago’s Flat Top Grill) and he did have a couple of beers with lunch – some of the details may be slightly off – especially toward the end of the conversation.   I took good notes though.

Emergent begins just after Tris’s death with a meeting of an unknown group inside Chicago.  These are mostly former faction leaders or people who wanted to be faction leaders and they all either hold some form of political power or wish to hold it.  One of the topics of conversation is Tris, who is regarded as a hero by the fractured remains of Dauntless, the Allegiant, the Factionless, and Abdignation  (possibly others, Lou was having trouble remembering their names).  Anyway, they are talking about ways to use Tris’s memory to regain control.  Proposals are gurded and subtle – no one wants to lose an advantage.  Then a figure who is wearing a cloak and who sits in the darkened part of the room starts laughing.  Everyone angrily shuts up and turns to him.  This figure is preferred to only as “The Emergent”.  He asks if they seriously think that anyone would allow a resource as valuable as Tris to slip away from them.  The scene closes with the readers wondering what is going on.

Then we cut to Tobias.  His is still mourning for Tris but clearly he and Christina are spending time together.  The world inside Chicago is crumbling.  Small street gangs are gaining power.  Tobias begins to assemble a group pulled from all of the factions and training them to serve as a kind of police force.  They are patrolling in shifts and training every moment they are not patrolling.  Tobias is being run ragged and hasn’t slept for days.  At one point his is out with a group of new recruits and they stumble upon what appears to be looting.  Tobias hallucinates that the looters have guns and shoots several of them.  The recruits are horrified because they can see that these are children and elderly people.  The leadership council of Tobias’s newly formed group (Lou couldn’t remember the name of the group) puts him on trial. 

Meanwhile, Christina stayed behind at the place of the massacre and sees someone slipping away.  It is the Emergent.  Although she is almost spotted several times, she stays hidden and follows him to an abandoned building.  She hears him talking with someone and explaining that he used a airborne hallucinogen targeted t Tobias’s genetic structure and that it was a success – Tobias has effectively been taken out of the action.  Christina gets herself into a better vantage point by climbing a stairway and looking down from the second floor and sees a lot of machines and a tube that has Tris’s body in it.  The Emergent asks the guy he is talking to if she is okay, and the guy replies that vital signs are nominal.  Tris is alive, Christina realizes.

But now she wonders what to do next.  She can’t restore Tris to consciousness herself (and in light of her developing romance with Tobias, she isn’t sure that she wants to.) but she also has to try to restore Tobias’s good name.

At this point, Lou went off on a tangent about the other books in the Katherine Tegan list.  When I finally got him back on track, he seemed less certain of the plot.  So Christina returns and eventually convinces the council that Tobias was under the influence of a hallucinogen.  It helps that Tobias raged in his cell for a three hours, then fell into a deep sleep for 18 hours.  When Tobias understands what Christian tells him about the Emergent, he decides that his army needs to go on the offensive.  Christina does not tell him about Tris at first, thinking that it could only lead to him falling apart if Tris gets killed again. 

Battles rage in the city for several days, neither side can seem to get a decisive victory, but more and more people are joining up on one side or the other.  Tobias’s group has several sightings of the Emergent, but they never catch him.   Then Tobias’s group gets word that the Emergent is going to be bringing in a huge army -- from Milwaukee.  It turns out that the Milwaukee experiment involved using the drug from Divergent to create a hive mentality.  So everyone in Milwaukee is controlled from a central location and though they lack the training that the dauntless have, they have vast numbers. They are fed, but no attention is given to their hygiene.  They also can continue fighting even after losing a lot of blood and even limbs.  It will be like fighting a zombie apocalypse.

This convinces Christina to tell Tobias about Tris being alive.  Of course this cools their relationship – but Tobias doesn’t have time to be angry – he recognizes they will need Tris if they are going to survive the onslaught of crazed Milwaukeeans.  Tobias leads an assault on the building that Christina had found.  A former member of Erudite who is in the group (Lou could not remember if her name was Tabitha or Ellie) is able to extract Tris from the machines.  She is weak, but is able to say Tobias’s name. 

Then it is all about the final confrontation.  Lou wouldn’t tell me all the details (he wanted to talk about his kid’s birthday party) but he said it involved Tobias and Tris deliberately derailing an el train and a huge showdown atop the Sear’s tower.  He also said something about Tobias’s group using trained feral dogs.    And he said that the identity of the Emergent would shock everyone and that it would be someone that we all know.  He also said the readers who were angered by the ending of Allegiant would be much happier with the ending of Emergent.  He said there would also be a nice scene between Tris and Tobias.  And he thought it involved a tamed feral dog as well.

Now again, I cannot be sure of any of these details because Lou was, at that point, enjoying a very, let’s say, relaxed sort of lunch.  But I am excited about the return of Tris!


  1. If this is an April fools, I will be very unhappy.

  2. My students and I just finished reading Divergent as a class. They will be excited to hear about this if it is not April Fools joke. :)

  3. This IS an April Fool's joke, Bill, good one, I finally get it! And I announced the scoop, you will be glad to hear, in my YA class last night, whereupon people got out their I Phones and computers and could not confirm this. Thought you would like to hear the extent of your "pun king" your readers here, thanks! :)