Phebe Knight is training to become a ballerina. At fifteen, she has never once questioned that this is the life she wants. But now, one year away from joining the Company, her mind begins to wander. She decides to spend the summer with her father, who lives in Switzerland, in the hope that a change of scene will bring her focus back to the barre.
Nikolai Kotalev is a sixteen-year-old chess champion who has been befriended by Phebe's father. Nikolai is looking for the chess teacher he needs: the legendary Stas Vlajnik. Nikolai's attention never wanders. He plays beautiful chess and wants to learn from Stas how to become a grandmaster capable of both grace and speed.
Phebe, who knows what it means to follow one's obsessions, organizes a search to help Nikolai find the elusive Stas. They travel across Europe with Phebe's father and his girlfriend, hunting for Stas in all the places where chess's elegant patterns live. Phebe and Nikolai study each other's obsessions to find the lives they want.
The Kings Are Already Here explores the limits of what one is willing to pay for perfection and beauty.
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