Talent is a fast paced thriller in which three gifted individuals are forced to compete by the formidable Helena De’Wynter in order to fulfil her dream of living forever. Each is given a brief case containing something De’Wynter believes will help them to achieve their goal. Beyond that, there are no rules. Our protagonist is Cameron, a socially awkward genius who stumbled upon De’Wynter’s challenge when his talent for puzzles led him to crack the code hidden in De’Wynter’s message. Although his natural inclination is to run from the contest, events conspire against him. Cameron’s sister, Ellie, is kidnapped by the other two ruthless competitors. The two are quickly caught up in a deadly game of cat and mouse with people who will stop at nothing to win. No one knows the day or the hour when the challenge will end and De’Wynter’s instructions to bring her what she wants are cryptic. Who will win the contest? Who will survive the game?
Talent is based on The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25: 14-30. A master goes on a trip and leaves his three servants with some money, the amount varying according to their ability. Upon his return, he rewards the servants who have invested the money and punishes the servant who has not. The story is often interpreted as encouraging us to use the gifts we have been given. In Talent, the figure of the master is Helena De’Wynter, who gives the three people an individual gift, which she believes will help them to ensure her legacy. To give our main character more of a journey, I wanted to suggest that he is the one who initially tries to hide his talent before being encouraged to rise to De’Wynter’s challenge. I was also struck by the idea that the master in the parable does not explicitly say what he expects from the servants but hopes they will discern this for themselves. Similarly the master does not say when he will return, a theme which is common in the Bible (Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32). Subsequently, De’Wynter does not tell those competing how long they will have.