The Red School is an American government assassination bureau.
It operates out of the heartland of the nation, literally the center of the country, Kansas where the idea of an orphanage for gifted children is looked upon as a noble, albeit boring, activity. The school has some but little contact with the local people and a large tract of land on which to operate. It is as invisible as could be possible by being so plain and unassuming. It has been so for a couple of decades.
A handful of instructors, several of them former graduates, and a small domestic crew live in the large school/orphanage along with the students. Every two years talent scouts tour the nation looking for promising five year-old orphans who might be in institutions or in foster care. They pick six from the thousands available and make special arrangements with the guardians. The children are brought to the school and given new names to help them feel like they are starting over. The makeup of these six is varied. Race and sex is of little importance. What is important is the prospect of the child learning the unique skills they will need later in life.
The lessons in the school are taught to the "recruits" in a friendly and non-threatening way but they are intense. Reading and writing comes first but is followed soon by branching into other languages besides English. By the time they reach seven, they know English, Spanish, German, and Russian and one other language chosen for each student. Each year brings new subjects to master from the common arithmetic and sciences to more unique ones like opening any lock or how to track someone over any terrain.
Small arms training comes as soon as the students can adequately hold a pistol. Rigorous exercise is coupled with hand-to-hand lessons. Explosives are eventually taught so by the time the children reach adolescence, they have been tutored in a wide range of methods to kill but also instructed into how and when to do it or to not do it. The purpose of the Red School is to turn out trained operatives for the government, not psychotic killers.
Though they live and learn in Kansas, they are exposed to far more than rural life. They make frequent fieldtrips to big cities and eventually to many other countries so they can see first hand what they are like and to become accustomed to other ways of life. Their language skills are honed as are their abilities to blend in with the locals. At eleven they go on their first mission, always a simple but necessary assignment that they will do together under the careful supervision of a soon-to-graduate older student. After that they will occasionally be taken off alone or in a pair on a "vacation" where they will take part in another mission. It might last a couple of days or a couple of weeks. When they come back, they are taught to never discuss the trip with anyone, even their best friends.
When they graduate, they are set up for the next stage of their lives but the "vacations" never stop. This is the life they will lead from then on.
The two-book (so far) series tells the story of one class from the time the Red School headmaster, named Jerrick, approached each foster family to collect the newcomers to their graduation and their first major missions. The natural leader of this group is Noel, a very intelligent and quick-minded boy who has an eidetic memory. Mary is a very pretty but quite shy girl that an older Noel will take a special interest in. Mohammed is an Egyptian boy that will be Noel's roommate for the next few years. Marcus and Kurt are the other two males in the class and highly athletic Leslie is another girl who rooms with Mary.
The first book takes the reader through the schooling years of this group from the time they were brought to Red School to when they were 18 and ready to depart. The second book follows their first couple of years after graduation, culminating in a major mission to take down a particularly nasty and dangerous killer.