Printed from WriteWords -

Jungrfrau Camping Synopsis

by  Anglisutuel

Posted: Friday, July 8, 2005
Word Count: 2166
Summary: I have a meeting with an agent soon who has the m/s of my finished children's novel: The Symbol Stone. She's also asked for a 'long as you like' synopsis of my other work in progress: Jungfrau Camping - a thriller for 12-14 y.o.s. I have [i]no[/i] idea how to structure a synopsis. Feedback very very welcome

Jungfrau Camping - Synopsis (working title only)

Jungfrau Camping is a thriller for 12-14 y.o. readers.

The finished m/s is planned to come in at just over 60,000 words.

The setting is the Bernsee-Oberland area of Switzerland, a spectacular region of the Swiss Alps around Interlaken – including places like Grindelwald, Wengen, Mürren, the Schilthorn and, of course, the Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch summits. The working title is taken from the name of the campsite Jungfrau Camping on the edges of Interlaken, where the protagonists have converged.

The cast is:

• Lidia and Vlado Stojanovic – a violent middle-aged Serbian gangster and his equally cold-blooded young wife
• Marie Reynolds, a botanist studying the effect of glacial melt on Alpine flora and her teenage son Luke, who is not best pleased to be spending yet another summer stranded in the bloody Alps rather than being at home with his mates
• Inge Löffler, the 14 y.o daughter of the campsite owners and her older brother Heine, who wants to be a photographer. They live on-site with their parents.
• Milic - a cousin and rival of Vlado’s who is determined to topple Vlado from his place in the Serbian Mafia hierarchy

Plot Basics:

Vlado Stojanovic discovers that his father, once a Nazi volunteer, was party to a concealed hoard of looted Roman gold from the great museums of Europe, buried in the Alps in the dying throes of WWII. Vlado and his wife Lidia set out to Switzerland to recover this treasure-trove. Vlado’s cousin Milic, whose intention is to kill Vlado and assume his place at the top of their local organised-crime ring, pursues them from Serbia only to lose them in Interlaken.

Vlado and Lidia rent a ‘chalet’ like an overblown cuckoo clock at a small camp-site called Jungfrau Camping on the outskirts of the tourist-town on the shores of lake Thun, because it will be an anonymous base for them.

Luke Reynolds, a 14-year-old English boy is also staying at this campsite (reluctantly) with his mother Marie, who is studying the impact of glacial melt on the flora around the Grindelwald glacier. He strikes up a friendship with Inge, the daughter of the campsite owners who is his age and her older brother Heine who at nearly 17 only sometimes consents to hang out with them. The rest of the time Heine is out putting together a portfolio of portraits of “tourists in their natural habitat” which he hopes will get him an art school place.

Inge takes Luke out around the area – up the funicular trains, on to the mountains. They go to Grindelwald a couple of times and start to notice Lidia and Vlado around on the mountain, acting weirdly and looking out-of-place in their ostentatious designer leisure-wear. They can’t help becoming curious and start to shadow them. Unfortunately they do not realise that they have failed to be as discrete as they thought and Vlado and Lidia are aware of their interest. Vlado and Lidia become convinced the kids are being paid to watch them and decide that they must do something about them. Lidia has also seen “another kid” who is sometimes about with them take some photographs of her and Vlado, which deepens their suspicion.

Heine continues to work on his portfolio. There are lots of interesting faces in the current crop of campers at Jungfrau Camping. An elderly Austrian woman with a face like a shrunken prune and a pug-dog under her arm; a vain young Scandinavian hiker who spends hours admiring himself in the mirror outside the shower room; and the hard-faced Lidia and Vlado. He meets a couple of his friends at a café in the center of Interlaken and shows them the large black and white prints he’s made in his home darkroom that morning. They pass the pictures round with much laughter and discussion. He does not notice the reaction of Milic, sitting at the next table. Milic had thought Vlado’s trail had gone cold but now he sees one of the young people holding up a large shot of Lidia lighting a cigarette outside the campsite shop. After Heine heads off to take some more pictures, Milic tails him and in a quiet alley grabs Heine from behind, knife to his neck, and demands information in poor German about the couple in the photographs. Scared and confused Heine says its just some people he’s seen at a campsite, but he can’t remember which one. Milic pushes him over, face first, grabs the portfolio and sprints away. Heine cracks his head against the wall and dazed only sees the back of the running figure.

Vlado and Lidia realise they have found the place where the gold must be, but they have not lost “those children” yet. They must take action. Lidia is to lure them further along the valley and then Vlado will start a rock-fall from above. It will either kill them or scare them off. The first part of the plan works – Lidia pretends to have sprained her ankle and calls for the children to go up the valley for help. She’s sure she’s seen some people up there if they could only just go on ahead for her, such a silly thing to have happened. Unfortunately for Lidia, but fortunately for the Inge and Luke there are people ahead, a small group of hikers. They appear just in time and go with them to help Lidia: one of the hikers is a doctor. He is very perturbed by Lidia’s injury as in he can see nothing wrong, no swelling, and no bruising. But he puts a supporting bandage onto her ankle and they help an infuriated Lidia (pretending to be in pain for all she is worth) back along the track to Pfingstegg to get the cable car down. Vlado appears from somewhere up the mountain to join the group and help his wife home. Inge and Luke slip back and decide to get in a different cable car with a large group, some of whom they recognise from the campsite.

When they are home, Luke and Inge find a shaken Heine who tells them about his mugging and its apparent connection to Vlado and Lidia. Luke and Inge fill him in about what happened below the glacier. Heine also shares the fact that he saw Lidia in high heels walking to the site shop to buy some beer only a few minutes ago without even a trace of a limp. They agree that there is something more than suspicious about this and they will follow them tomorrow. None of them are aware of the shadowy figure of Milic, who has gone through the portfolio and found several pictures of the main entrance to the campsite. He is flitting between the rows of little cabins at the top of the campsite looking for the one Lidia and Vlado are occupying. It does not take him long to find them – Lidia’s strident tones, haranguing her husband for his failure to deal with “those kids”. There is tomorrow still: tomorrow they must get back onto the mountain, get the gold, and be gone.

Milic hears what they are saying and thinks “so that is their plan”. He melts back into the darkness. A little snub-nosed gun nestles in his waistband: he is ready to wait until dawn and to tail them to the site on the mountain.

The next day, Vlado and Lidia creep from the cabin, Milic is ready, waiting, but holds back. He is in time to see the kid with the camera and then the two younger ones, appear. They too are following his quarry: the hunters are also the hunted.

Vlado and Lidia return to the spot where Lidia had faked her accident on the mountainside. They believe they are unobserved. Heine, Inge and Luke follow, unaware of their own shadow.

On the mountain Vlado and Lidia are so sure that they have it right, they are frantic. The crevasse and the tree stump match Vlado’s father’s description, but it is not quite right. After an hour of scratching and digging they find it does not open into a cave. They are in the wrong place. Furious, they double back. Inge, Luke and Heine have closed in on them, and Milic is also near-by. Vlado hears movement on the track and shouts. The kids panic. Heine goes one way and Inge and Luke another – they find a fissure in the cliff, just big enough for them to slip into. Crushed in they wait in terror of being found or of Heine being caught: they don’t know what Lidia and Vlado are up to but they know it is not good. Inge realises there are bones at her feet – human bones – and nearly screams. Luke clamps his hand over her mouth; they fall backwards. It’s not just a narrow crack – there is a cave behind. They squeeze into it. Luke has a torch and shines it on the skeleton, like a guard at the door, and behind there are boxes – old rotten crates stamped with the signs of the Waffen SS. They forget what they are hiding from as they realise that they have stumbled upon something big and prize open loose planks on the crates – they are cautious in case it is cases of explosives, but inside, under the hessian is gold – the most beautiful they have ever seen. They are captivated and wonder if this is what Lidia and Vlado were seeking: “we’ve got to get Heine and get some pictures of this” Inge says, but they hear voices. Lidia and Vlado have retraced their tracks, realised that they had gone too far before and that this must be the place they are seeking. They are outside the cave. Luke and Inge crawl back into the darkest corner and then Vlado & Lidia have found it, are in the cave with them. At last!

On the mountain Milic has not been able to see where the kids have gone and is still being cautious, but he sees Lidia and Vlado and edges towards them. He hears Lidia’s excited exclamation. He decides the kids have probably fled – scared and out of their depth. If this is done fast and efficiently enough, even if the kids get the authorities he will be gone with whatever it is Vlado and Lidia have found. He closes in on the cave. Vlado and Lidia are exclaiming excitedly, he can hear stuff being moved. Gun in his hand he enters: orders them to freeze. Even in the dark lit only by the faint light through the narrow entrance he can smell their greed and fear. He is about to shoot when suddenly a violent sneeze from the back of the cave startles all of the adults. It is Luke – dust up his nose. The moment’s distraction is enough and now Vlado’s gun is in his hand too. Both men’s guns are trained to the back of the cave. Luke and Inge step forward, terrified. Vlado and Milic exchange tense looks – Lidia snorts derisively. “Look, children, and you two men wired with fear. It’s simple. Shoot them and then take half the loot each. Bury the past and we’ll go our own ways.”

Vlado laughs, maybe he does love his wife after all. But Milic shakes his head, “not so easy” he says, then turns to Inge and Luke – “there’s only two of them here. The third will have gone for the police, and they don’t like child-killers in prison.”

A very tense stand off ensues, but Heine has not gone to find help. He is outside, listening, trying to work out what to do. He lowers his voice and shouts out “Police! Everyone freeze!” but Vlado is not prepared to let his cousin’s treachery profit him and draws to shoot Milic. They are well matched in terms of speed and accuracy. Both men fall to the ground simultaneously, seemingly dead. Inge starts to scream a sound that would bring an avalanche. But the police do not come. Lidia raises an eyebrow, scoops up a fallen gun. Glinting by the light of the torch, the gold beckons. Lidia backs away. Just one pretty thing, a talisman, a glorious roman necklace of interleaved golden laurels set with stones. This she will take. Inge and Luke are frozen – will she shoot them? But no she is gone, out onto the mountain, nearly knocking Heine down as she flees. Heine stumbles in to find his sister and Luke, two bleeding corpses and the biggest hoard of Roman gold ever seen outside of a museum.

In the distance they hear voices, calls, dogs approaching. Someone must have heard the shots and raised the authorities. They look around and start laughing helplessly: they are going to have some explaining to do that is for sure.