Posts Tagged ‘action-thrillers’

The thriller novel THE ORPHAN UPRISING (The Orphan Trilogy, Book 3)  is described by Welcome Home Soldier Reviews as “A heart tearing, mind splitting, gut churning crusade.” 

Here’s what other reviewers are saying about this novel:

★★★★★ “The Law and Order like twists keep you on the edge of your seat. An extreme roller coaster ride of emotions awaits the reader.” -My Scribe World

★★★★★ “A Finale Worthy of Your Attention.” -Greg Kuhn (author & quantum physicist)

★★★★★ “Great end to a great series.” -Lynelle Clark (author of ‘A Pirate’s Wife’)

★★★★ “Does not disappoint.” -C9C Reviews

★★★★★A well-written and suspense-filled thriller.” -J.B. DiNizo (author of ‘Comingsand Goings’)

★★★★★ “Fast paced action and an extremely thought provoking premise” -Phoenix Book Review

 

The Orphan Uprising (The Orphan Trilogy Book 3) by [Morcan, James, Morcan, Lance]

Third book in series a gut churning crusade says one critic.

 

THE ORPHAN UPRISING (The Orphan Trilogy, #3) is available via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BFC66DM/

 

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The recent release, action-thriller novel, THE DOGON INITIATIVE, highlights some of the many myths and theories surrounding the fascinating Dogon people of Mali. In particular, their unexplained knowledge of the invisible-to-the-eye Sirius B white dwarf star, the rings of Saturn and other heavenly bodies, and their rumored ancestral relationship to ancient Egyptians.

 

The Dogon Initiative (The Deniables Book 1) by [Morcan, Lance, Morcan, James]

“Excellent black ops adventure.” -Amazon Reviews

 

THE DOGON INITIATIVE (The Deniables Book 1) is available via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKTD515/

 

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The CIA recruits a team of foreign mercenaries. They are considered ‘deniable assets’ and go by the unlikely but somewhat prophetic name the Deniables. Their first mission is to repatriate one Moussa Diarra, an African exile, from New York back to his Dogon homeland in Mali, West Africa. Unfortunately, there are militant ethnic factions in Mali intent on preventing Moussa’s return and exterminating his people. His fate is in the hands of the Deniables.

That’s the premise of our new release action-thriller The Dogon Initiative (The Deniables, #1).

 

The Dogon Initiative (The Deniables, #1)
New action thriller available on Amazon.

 

For fans of the action-thriller genre, here’s two early chapters from this novel. In them, a newly formed team of young CIA hotshots plan a new initiative only a very select few at the agency even know about.

CHAPTER 3

Next morning, eight thousand miles away at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, USA, a small, select, think tank group of agency personnel brainstormed a new venture.

The four women and three men present were of various ethnicities and came from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Ranging in age from twenty-one to thirty-seven, they were surprisingly young considering the responsibilities and magnitude of the task entrusted to them. All seven dressed casually, looking more like university students than intelligence agents in their dress jeans and casual shirts or T-shirts (and their baseball caps in the case of the two youngest men) and they reclined on beanbags rather than conventional office chairs.

Four of them drank Fair Trade-certified coffee from recycled, environmentally-friendly, reusable, takeaway cups while one of the baseball caps absentmindedly demonstrated his expertise with a yo-yo and the youngest female chewed gum as they bounced ideas off each other.

The vigorous discussion was punctuated with banter, and interjections were frequent. Participants casually referred to the project they were brainstorming as the Dogon Initiative, or, sometimes more colloquially as the Dogon Job; the gum-chewer simply referred to it as the Dog Job, and that vulgarism was starting to catch on amongst her colleagues. Their use of everyday slang and obvious preference for casual dress seemed apt given there was nothing remotely formal or regular about this group of agents.

An outsider looking in might consider they were ad agency workers or software nerds perhaps, but first impressions can be deceiving. They were the CIA’s hotshots, recognized by management as seven of the agency’s most intelligent and unique thinkers. And despite appearances and despite their relative youthfulness, all but the three youngest had operational experience in the field.

Collectively, they made up the total staff of the grandiose-sounding but suitably vague The New Paradigms Team, which officially came under the umbrella of the agency’s Directorate of Science and Technology, but in reality was its own directorate.

It was no coincidence their roomy, well appointed, basement office was off limits to all but a few senior officials whose number included the agency’s director and deputy director. The hotshots were at the cutting edge of something only a handful of others at Langley even knew about it. Something that represented a daring departure from tradition.

The beanbags the think tank members occupied were roughly aligned in a circle on the plush, carpeted floor. In the middle of the circle was a three-foot tall replica of Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza, and it was that which currently commanded the attention of all.

On loan from one of the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC, the realistic, scale model was a spectacular reminder of how magnificent the original pyramid must have looked many thousands of years earlier. Sunlight streaming through ground floor-level windows strategically located just below ceiling level along the full length of one wall reflected off the replica’s gleaming, limestone-colored exterior and off the golden capstone at its very top, making it sparkle. The dazzling effect was such the replica might have been constructed of gold, silver, diamonds and other precious stones.

The model pyramid had special significance for the seven agents seated around it. They’d been tasked with masterminding a bold, new, long-term program within the agency. A program that the Dogon Initiative would be but one part of – albeit an important part.

The so-called Dog Job would herald the commencement of the new approach by American intelligence that the agency’s Cape Town asset, Lotte, had alluded to when pitching to Dean Hawkins in Nigeria the previous day. A more ethical approach that wouldn’t result in the usual blowback the CIA infamously attracted from its enemies around the world and from media watchdogs at home and abroad.

The office door opened and in walked Senior Agent Fred Daley. The suave, fifty-five-year-old closed both eyes as he was momentarily blinded by the brilliant sunlight reflecting off the replica pyramid’s golden capstone.

“For Christ’s sake, kids!” he grumbled, squinting at the assembled through one half-open eye.

One or two of Daley’s junior colleagues had trouble suppressing a smile as the twenty-seven-year agency veteran bypassed the last remaining vacant beanbag to plonk his tall, lanky frame down on the room’s only conventional office chair. It was an innocent action that somehow symbolized the differences between him and them.

Age and seating preferences weren’t the only differences. Daley’s tailored gray suit, starched white shirt, pale blue tie and expensive Italian shoes contrasted noticeably with the casual clothing and footwear favored by his subordinates.

The differences didn’t bother the others, and if they irked him he never let on.

Eying the young hotshots, Daley said, “Okay, I’ve heard back from the Budget Office’s Deputy Director. She insists she needs more details, hard details, if she’s to consider the twenty-five percent budget increase you want for this Mali mission.”

The hotshots collectively groaned.

“Goddamn it,” one of the baseball caps muttered.

“C’mon now,” Daley said as he looked around at the disappointed faces. “You gotta admit this is a speculative project you’ve chosen for a first-up assignment. There’s major risks involved using assets. Especially foreign assets –”

“Deniable assets,” one of the female agents reminded him.

The senior agent waved a dismissive hand. “Whatever… A speculative project using deniable assets who’ve never been contracted by the agency before… And on top of that, there’s a risk the ancient technology or whatever it is you’re hoping the Dogon have retained from the Earth’s ancient past may be nothing but Alex Jones-style conspiracy nonsense.”

Daley paused as if to invite objections. When there were none, he pulled out his smartphone, switched on its Video Recording mode and checked the screen to ensure all seven hotshots were in the camera’s frame.

“So sell it to me one more time,” he said as he began filming. “Convince me how the Dogon and their ancient history or technology can help America and I’ll try to get you the extra twenty-five percent.”

CHAPTER 4

Twenty-three year old Asian-American Tom Cheung, one of the baseball caps, and, at five foot four, the shortest by a country mile of all the assembled, leaned forward on his beanbag and stared directly at Daley over the top of the replica pyramid.

“Classified files both within the agency and other US and foreign intel agencies reveal a great deal of evidence,” Cheung said. “Not proof admittedly, but strong evidence that the Dogon’s advanced astronomical knowledge is very ancient and so predates the French astronomers who first visited them in Mali in 1893.” Cheung paused as he noisily adjusted his position on the beanbag.  “This essentially debunks the popular myth that the Dogon people had no astronomical knowledge to speak of before then… before 1893… and were simply regurgitating the French –”

“Well let’s focus on the lack of proof then,” Daley interrupted. “Why hold faith in Dogon science if we don’t have absolute proof?”

“Because their culture is worth saving regardless!” twenty-eight-year-old Kathy Einhorn, a Jewish woman, said passionately. The six-foot tall Yale graduate added, “Remember, the Dogon are facing the likelihood of cultural extinction in the near future.” She retrieved her smartphone from the pocket of the denim jacket she wore and accessed a specific app.

A large, colourful hologram suddenly appeared, like magic, in the air just above the pyramid.

No-one was surprised. American intelligence had been using holographic technology for decades now – almost as long as the US Military had.

Einhorn’s hologram depicted a map of Mali. She pressed digital icons on her phone’s screen to zoom in so that the holographic map focused on Mali’s central plateau region where the Dogon reside. The map seemed to shimmer in the sunlight.

Cheung closed the blinds and the hologram was immediately enhanced.

 “As we speak, the Dogon are being attacked by militant Muslims and other religious groups… right… there,” Einhorn said as red holographic arrows appeared above half a dozen villages highlighted on the map. “Our sources confirm some factions within the current Mali Government want the Dogon eradicated, too. These poor people are getting slammed from all sides for the very reasons we want to protect them… They hold ancient knowledge.” She looked directly at Daley. “Paradoxically, just as that knowledge is a threat to organized religions and established beliefs, it also could also be crucial to America’s future… and the world’s future, too.”

Still not convinced, Daley remained expressionless as he continued to video proceedings.

“You expect me to believe that any knowledge or wisdom to be found inside the heads of African desert nomads could somehow be crucial to our future?” he asked.

“Hell, yeah!” thirty-year-old transgendered (female to male) think tank member Bryce McNickle said, incensed. Pushing himself to his feet, he said, “We’re talkin’ free energy methodologies, interstellar engineering designs… Possibly even recovered ancient alien technologies” – the handsome transgender gestured to the replica pyramid before them – “not to mention how the pyramids were constructed… And our best scientists working on classified research projects claim all of those theories are quite possible. Thus the secrets the Dogon hold may help us in innumerable ways.”

“Well,” Daley responded, “what evidence do we have that they were aware of the Sirius thing before the French astronomers visited them?” He referred to a mystery that had long puzzled modern-day astronomers.

“A lot, actually,” Cheung said, reinserting himself into the discussion. “For example, many researchers believe the Dogon have work tools and implements whose shape is identical to Canis Major, or the Sirius Constellation. That includes Sirius B, the white dwarf star invisible to the naked eye.”

As Cheung spoke, Einhorn played with her smartphone. Above the replica pyramid in their midst, a new holographic image of a ceremonial Dogon hunting tool appeared with a map of the heavens superimposed behind it. Various points on the hunting tool aligned perfectly with the Sirius Constellation and even appeared to align with the white dwarf star Sirius B her colleague referred to.

 Cheung continued, “Sirius B wasn’t discovered by our civilization’s astronomers until 1862, yet this ceremonial Dogon tool depicting that very dwarf star and its orbit around Sirius A is estimated to have been crafted many hundreds of years before the Nineteenth Century. Furthermore, the Dogon have an ancient ceremony called Sigui that directly mirrors the orbit of Sirius B around Sirius A… and, get this, there are four hundred-year-old Dogon masks still being used in Sigui ceremonial rites. This means the Dogon were at least centuries ahead of Nineteenth Century astronomers.”

“Well, have we or any of our associates reached out to the Dogon themselves to get their opinions on all these mysteries?” Daley asked.

“Yep,” Cheung said. “The Dogon say their astronomical knowledge was passed down in oral tradition and goes back thousands of years.” Before his boss could interject, the young agent quickly added, “I know that doesn’t equate to proof the Dogon knew about a star that’s invisible to the naked eye, but their response to criticisms from academia complicates things as 1893 isn’t that long ago. For example…” He nodded to Einhorn who promptly tapped the screen of her smart phone.

A holographic video of an eldery Dogon man appeared above the pyramid.

Cheung continued, “Here’s a video of a Dogon elder over a hundred years old. One hundred and sixteen I believe he was when this video was filmed last year. Still alive last we heard, which makes him one of the oldest in Africa.” He glanced at his companions and several nodded, confirming the elder was still alive. “And so if you do the math, this man’s parents were born long before 1893. Yet he swears both his parents learnt the stories of Sirius B from their parents… Another piece of crucial evidence that predates the French astronomers’ arrival in Mali by many decades at least.”

“How would you explain that?” Daley asked, adopting a skeptical tone that didn’t necessarily reflect his personal feelings.

Cheung waited for one of his colleagues to answer. When none did, he said, “Well, as Bryce alluded” – he nodded to McNickle – “some would have it the Dogon received knowledge from visitors… Extraterrestrial visitors.”

Daley continued to play Devil’s Advocate.

“So you’re asking me to tell my superiors that ETs came from some distant galaxy, and the only people they decided to visit were a bunch of cliff-dwelling Africans in the middle of nowhere?”

“The Dogon are some of the oldest people around,” Latin American Ricky Santos said, entering the discussion. The thirty-three-year-old Stanford University law graduate continued, “So if the Ancient Aliens Theory is legit… and by the way I’m not necessarily saying any of us believe that ET hypothesis… Then potentially the Dogon might be one of the few peoples left on Earth who can remember the visitations… and recite it via their extensive oral tradition. But others around the planet allude to something very similar.” Santos looked at Daley who was still filming. “Shall I go on?”

The senior agent nodded.

Santos continued, “A good example of what I’m talking about is the Nazca Lines in Peru… They seem to be an attempt to communicate with sky gods. Likewise, Australia’s Aborigines have various sky beings in their oral traditions… So I think asking ‘Why only these people and nobody else?’ isn’t really relevant, especially concerning very ancient peoples like the Dogon. That’s just a hackneyed line mainstreamers use to try to debunk the possibility of such visitations.”

Daley was about to reply, when the youngest of the hotshots, twenty-one-year-old redhead Rachel Nider, the gum-chewer, and, as it happened, the owner of the highest IQ in the building, spoke up. “Many researchers also assume that detailed astronomical knowledge of distant stars invisible to the naked eye would necessitate ETs coming to our planet… Which is kinda a modern perspective and perhaps a by-product of a Hollywood-influenced culture… Like, who’s to say those who built the pyramids and performed other incredible feats of engineering weren’t capable of traveling to Sirius with advanced ancient physical technology created by humans on Earth? Or else something more obscure like exploring the universe using mental techniques… like remote viewing?”

Daley shook his head in frustration. “Can somebody just summarize this for me in a nutshell… and in English, please?”

All eyes turn to anthropologist Mary Catrell, who, at thirty-seven, was the oldest of the think tank members. Headhunted by the CIA only a year earlier, she’d already successfully completed two overseas field assignments, having been fast-tracked into active service by case managers who had quickly identified her unique abilities.

“There are undeniable connections between scientific and cosmological knowledge encoded in the myths of many cultures,” Catrell said. “These cosmo myths spread from Gobekli Tepe to pre-dynastic Egypt and the Shakti cult of India, and then from India into Egypt again in dynastic times and eventually around the world. The Dogon are preserving a lot of myths from Egypt as well as from other sources such as early Buddhism.”

Einhorn interjected, saying, “A good example being the Maori of New Zealand who have the same myths and use much of the same terminology.”

“Exactly,” Catrell agreed. “The Dogon myths and traditions have some authenticity because of parallels in Egypt that involve the same words for the same concepts. We can see this for ourselves in the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics painted on the walls of caves in the Dogon’s homeland. As for their ancient knowledge of Sirius B, I agree with Rachel and don’t necessarily think beings came to Earth from there… or from any other planet. After all, the Dogon’s astronomical knowledge is part of a treasure trove of scientific knowledge encoded in myths.”

“A treasure trove of scientific knowledge encoded in myths?” Daley responded, and not without a trace of sarcasm.

Several think tank members shared knowing looks. Their superior liked to pretend he was a hard-ass, but they knew he was a bit of a softy beneath his gruff exterior. Except when he needed to be a hard-ass.

Undeterred, Catrell continued, “The more I look into it, the more convinced I am there was a human civilization that was advanced in engineering and science, but was largely wiped out by the onset of the near-glacial period we call the Younger Dryas, and nearly finished off by the end of that post-Ice Age period about eleven thousand five hundred years ago. Scientists believe a large solar outburst was responsible for the end of the Younger Dryas, remember. Such an event would devastate any advanced technological civilization, be it ancient or modern.”

“Mary’s right,” the other baseball cap said. Twenty-seven-year-old African-American Milton Rucker, who, to the amusement of the others wore his cap back to front, added, “After all, even a smaller climatic event on that scale would probably wipe out our civilization.”

The diminutive Cheung, who sat next to the six foot six inch tall Rucker, leaned over to his taller, older colleague and murmured, “We were wondering when you were gonna wake up.”

Rucker grinned and whispered a rude response only Cheung could hear.

Senior Agent Daley meanwhile continued filming as his young, high-flying, high-IQ colleagues kept bombarding him with information.

 

You have been reading an excerpt from The Dogon Initiative. Available now via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKTD515/ 

 

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In this explosive conclusion to The Orphan Trilogy, the ninth-born orphan’s dramatic story resumes five years after book one, The Ninth Orphan, ends.

 

The Orphan Uprising (The Orphan Trilogy Book 3)

THE ORPHAN UPRISING (The Orphan Trilogy, #3)

 

Chapter 1

A man and a small boy knelt before a large, golden Buddha statue inside a temple and recited an affirmation in well-practiced unison.

“I am a free man and a polymath. Whatever I set my mind to, I always achieve. The limitations that apply to the rest of humanity, Do not apply to me.”

A hundred flickering candles added to the tranquility of the setting. They’d been lovingly prepared by an elderly Buddhist monk who sat cross-legged just inside the temple door as he waited for his two guests to finish their devotions.

The distant sound of children playing outside carried to them on a gentle tropical breeze. Unfortunately, the breeze did little to alleviate the humidity, which was already oppressive even though the sun had not long risen. The temple’s occupants were drenched in sweat, but they were used to it: heat and humidity were part of everyday life in the Pacific Islands.

Finally, the guests arose and walked hand in hand toward the exit. The man was Sebastian Hannar, or Number Nine  as he’d been unceremoniously labeled by the Omega Agency when he was brought into the world thirty-six eventful years ago; the boy was his five-year-old son Francis. They enjoyed the temple’s peaceful atmosphere and the togetherness they experienced within its confines, and so such visits had become a regular occurrence of late.

The affirmation they’d just recited was similar to one that Nine had been forced to recite every day of his life alongside the other twenty-two orphans raised at Omega’s Pedemont Orphanage in Riverdale, Chicago. Since breaking free of the agency five years earlier, Nine had changed the affirmation’s opening line from I am an Omegan and a polymath  to I am a free man and a polymath.

Although the affirmation reminded him of a past he’d rather forget, it also served to remind him that not everything he’d experienced at the orphanage had been bad, and many of the lessons learned could be applied to everyday life.

As father-and-son approached, the elderly, bald-headed monk stood to receive them. Luang Alongkot Panchan, a native of Thailand, couldn’t help thinking how alike Nine and Francis were. Living in the tropics had darkened their skin so that they were hard to distinguish from the Marquesas Islanders who made up the bulk of the population in this remote corner of French Polynesia.

When the pair reached Luang, they bowed to him. He and Nine exchanged pleasantries. The ninth-born orphan treated the kindly monk with respect bordering on reverence. He viewed Luang as his adopted spiritual master.

Nine’s startling green eyes locked with Luang’s all-knowing eyes. There was much between them that was unsaid. Over the years, they’d come to know each other so well they could communicate without even speaking. Nine felt it was as if his friend could look into his innermost being and know him better than he knew himself.

Luang could see that Francis was straining to get outside and play, so he stepped aside and smiled at Nine. “Remain in light, my friend,” Luang said, bowing deeply with hands clasped in prayer.

“And you, my friend,” Nine said responding in kind.

The former orphan-operative allowed Francis to pull him by the hand outside. Though it was still early morning, the sun’s rays hit them like a furnace, serving as a rude reminder how hot it could get in the islands.

A cluster of frangipani trees some fifty yards away beckoned them, and the pair hurried toward the trees and the heavily pregnant woman who waited for them in the shade. She was Nine’s French-born mixed-race wife Isabelle, the mother of Francis.

“Race you!” Francis challenged his father.

“You’re on!” Nine said. “On three. One, two–”

The boy knew this game well and set off before Nine finished counting.

“Three, go!” Nine said. “Hey!” He took after his son whose athletic little legs were pumping like pistons. Nine quickly made up the lost ground, but slowed to make a race of it.

By now Francis was shrieking with laughter, alerting his mom to the imminent arrival of the two favorite men in her life.

“Faster, Francis!” Isabelle shouted in French.

Before the boy could reach his mom, Nine scooped him up with one arm and collapsed, panting, beside Isabelle. They were all laughing now.

As soon as he’d regained his breath, Nine kissed his wife tenderly. “Miss me?” he asked in English. As they’d done since first meeting, they effortlessly switched between English and French whenever they conversed with each other.

“Yes and so did our daughter,” Isabelle chuckled, rubbing her pregnant belly. This time she, too, spoke English, but there was no hiding the strong French inflection.

Nine placed his palm on her belly and immediately felt the baby kick. At the same time, he observed his wife lovingly. What a goddess. He never tired of her beauty. Thirty-three-year-old Isabelle’s French-African heritage combined with her strong accent gave her an exoticness that excited him even in her current state. Nine was convinced she looked more radiant than ever. It was obvious that motherhood and years of island living agreed with her.

“I’m thirsty,” Francis announced, breaking the mood.

Isabelle laughed and immediately produced a tumbler of freshly squeezed pineapple juice from a cooler, which the thirsty boy gulped down.

Squeals of delight carried to them from a nearby grove of coconut trees. Local island children were playing tag while their mothers looked on. The children didn’t seem to notice the heat. Beyond them, fishermen could be seen casting their nets into the turquoise waters of the bay. It was an idyllic scene so typical of this part of the world.

Francis recognized a couple of the children. “Can I go play, mama?”

“Of course you can, but don’t outstay your welcome!” Isabelle chuckled in French.

Francis ran off to play. His doting parents watched as he unabashedly introduced himself to the children and joined in their play.

“He makes friends so easily,” Isabelle said.

“Yes he does,” Nine agreed. “He gets that from you.”

“And from you,” Isabelle countered.

Nine shook his head. “No he has made more friends in the past year than I did in the first thirty years of my life.”

“Well, there’s a good reason for that, my love.” Isabelle kissed him tenderly.

“I guess.” Nine smiled. His eyes were drawn to the ruby that hung from the silver necklace Isabelle wore. He had inherited it from the mother he’d never known and had given it to Isabelle as a declaration of his love for her.

Isabelle noticed the object of his attention and reflexively touched the ruby. For some reason, its touch brought her comfort, as it had Nine when he’d worn it.

“Well, I must love you and leave you,” Nine announced.

Isabelle watched as her husband donned a pair of running shoes in preparation for his daily training run. “Don’t overdo it in this heat,” she warned.

“No, mother.”

“I mean it, Sebastian!”

“Don’t worry.” Smiling mischievously, Nine set off at a gentle pace. As always, he would pick the pace up as soon as he was out of his wife’s sight.

Isabelle’s concern was not without good reason. Nine had developed a heart condition, which his specialist had diagnosed as a relatively common complaint called stenosis – a narrowing of one of the heart valves.

The former operative had become aware all was not well soon after he and Isabelle had arrived in the tropics from France. Chest pains had prompted him to seek professional advice. The specialist had prescribed physical activity and a heart-smart diet, but warned an operation would be required if Nine’s condition deteriorated. That had been four-and-a-half years ago, and so far so good. Sensible food and exercise had seen no recurrence of chest pains. Even so, Isabelle had insisted Nine keep to the recommended schedule of quarterly visits to the specialist. A major inconvenience considering the specialist was based in Tahiti, nearly a thousand miles away.

A caring Isabelle watched Nine as he jogged away. She noted for possibly the hundredth time how different he was to the man who had abducted her while on the run in Paris. Apart from a few gray hairs around the temple, she thought he looked as youthful and vibrant as ever. There was a certain calmness surrounding him – proof of the peace he’d found. Proof also that he’d finally banished the inner demons that had plagued him since his unusual and some would say abusive upbringing at the Pedemont Orphanage.

Once out of sight of Isabelle, Nine strode out. Though not in the same peak condition as when an elite operative with the Omega Agency, he was still a fine physical specimen – a shade over six foot and toned like an athlete. He moved like an athlete, too. Soon he was breathing hard and sweating even more profusely.

As he ran, Nine reflected on how content he was with his life. After many years as a virtual prisoner of the Omega Agency, constantly traveling the globe and killing at the whim of his Omega masters, he finally had the life he’d always wanted – a family and a normal existence. It was, he reminded himself, a far cry from the dark days working as an operative. An assassin more like it. He used to have nightmares about those days, but no more.

After he’d broken away from Omega, he and Isabelle had fled France and settled on an isolated and unoccupied island he’d inherited in the Marquesas Islands, effectively getting off the grid. Their stay there had been short-lived. The onset of Nine’s heart condition and other circumstances had conspired to prompt their relocation to the main settlement of Taiohae, on the island of Nuku Hiva, elsewhere in the Marquesas group.

A difficult pregnancy with Francis meant Isabelle had required ready access to medical assistance – assistance that wasn’t available on their former island paradise. And she and Nine also wanted Francis and any future offspring to receive proper schooling.

So the move to Taiohae had been almost inevitable. It had worked out for the best. The couple, who married soon after they relocated, had been readily accepted by the locals and had made many good friends. Francis had also adapted well to life at school. The boy spoke French and English equally well, and could even communicate with the islanders in their native tongue.

In material terms, life was treating the family pretty well, too. Some shrewd offshore investments had seen Nine increase his not-inconsiderable wealth several times over, so money wasn’t a problem.

Nine was following a well worn path that took him high into the steep hills overlooking Taiohae Bay. He could just make out his wife and son down near the waterfront. Francis was playing an impromptu game of soccer with his newfound friends while Isabelle and the other mothers sat in the shade, looking on.

The sweat was pouring off him as he ran up a steep incline. Sudden shortness of breath prompted him to slow to a walk. He thought nothing of it, putting it down to the heat. You’re getting old, Sebastian.

Still looking down at Taiohae Bay, he noticed an inflatable craft approaching the distant waterfront at speed. It was manned by two men and appeared to have come from a floatplane Nine had seen touch down on the water a short time earlier out in the bay. He watched as the inflatable nosed up onto the beach and two men jumped out. They began walking purposefully toward where Francis and the other children played.

Something about the pair bothered Nine. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but it didn’t seem right. Even from a distance, he could see the two weren’t your average tourists. Besides the dark sunglasses they wore, there wasn’t a camera, sun hat or beach towel in sight. They looked more like business executives in their white shirts and long, dark trousers. One even wore a tie.

Nine found himself growing apprehensive as he continued to watch the pair closely.

 

Product Details

 

THE ORPHAN UPRISING (The Orphan Trilogy, #3) is exclusive to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BFC66DM/

 

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