Posts Tagged ‘international-thrillers’

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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An epic, atmospheric story that begins with twenty three genetically superior orphans being groomed to become elite spies in Chicago’s Pedemont Orphanage and concludes with a political assassination deep in the Amazon jungle.

 

The Orphan Factory (The Orphan Trilogy Book 2)

THE ORPHAN FACTORY (The Orphan Trilogy, #2)

 

Prologue

An old vagrant hummed tunelessly to himself as he warmed his bony hands over a fire he’d lit minutes earlier in a drum long since blackened by perhaps a hundred such fires. Certainly more fires than he, or any of his street cronies, could remember. He stopped humming when, across a busy thoroughfare, a gravel-voiced busker began reciting poetry.

“Stormy, husky, brawling,” the busker rumbled. “City of the big shoulders.” He was reciting verse from the works of hometown poet-made-good, Carl Sandburg. The poem was appropriately titled Chicago. “Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.” The busker, a long-haired Vietnam veteran whose only concession to his military past was his VSM service medal which he still wore with pride, looked directly at the old vagrant opposite.

The vagrant imagined the busker smiled at him, though he couldn’t be sure in the fading early evening light. Even so, he flashed a toothless grin in the other’s direction.

Soon, the old man was joined by half a dozen street pals. All homeless like him, they appeared like disheveled ghosts out of the shadows, attracted partly by the warmth of the fire and partly by the busker. They listened intently to the poet’s words that flowed effortlessly from the busker’s mouth. Words that painted images so vivid in their minds it was as if the men were watching a kaleidoscope of their own youth.

“Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,” the busker continued. “Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs.”

Several passersby paused to listen, but none bothered to drop a donation into the hat that lay at the busker’s feet. Finally, as the busker finished his recital, a business executive threw a quarter into the hat without breaking stride. Encouraged, the busker launched into another Sandberg poem.

Listening to the busker delivering further verses about his beloved Windy City, the old vagrant couldn’t help but note the irony: there wasn’t a breath of wind on this still Chicago evening.

The vagrant’s parents had always assured him the city’s misleading nickname had nothing to do with the weather. His mother had insisted the Windy City  label came from the longwinded speeches given by the city’s Nineteenth Century politicians, while his father claimed the moniker had been mischievously bestowed by competitive New Yorkers in their attempt to win the World Trade Fair of 1893.

To add to the contradictions, even though it was February, it was an unusually mild winter’s evening. The vagrants gathered around the fire warming their hands did so more out of habit than necessity on this occasion.

Chicago’s streets were busy and the mood downtown was fairly upbeat. President Jimmy Carter was due to visit the city and greater Illinois the following day. Word had spread: the President would be here soon, and come hell or high water he was going to receive a right, royal Illinois welcome.

As Chicagoans went about their business, hurrying home after a long day at the office or heading out to sample the city’s nightlife, none were remotely aware of the sinister, Nazi-like experiment taking place virtually under their noses.

Despite the experiment’s seventy five million dollar price tag, only a select few knew about it. Those in the know did not include the city’s Mayor or any state politicians; at Federal level, not even the President knew about it.

The experiment was taking place in a laboratory in the concealed basement of a renovated warehouse just off North Michigan Avenue. Seven pregnant women were in various stages of labor in the lab that served as a makeshift maternity hospital.

Like some Orwellian nightmare, the women were giving birth in clockwork-like fashion, almost in unison.

Small teams comprised of doctors and white-coated geneticists assisted the women. A specialist induced latecomers. In the lab’s far corner, two suited men looked on expectantly.

The numerous personnel in attendance were all in the employ of the Omega Agency, a recently formed and highly secretive outfit which would one day become the world’s most powerful shadow organization.

Supervising the eerie experiment was Omega’s own Doctor Frankenstein – better known as Doctor Pedemont, the brilliant biomedical scientist responsible for the radical science behind it. Over the past few years, with the help of his team of geneticists, Doctor Pedemont had painstakingly selected the fetus’ genes from thousands of sperm donations combined with the genes of his female subjects. The donations had come from another medical experiment referred to as the Genius Sperm Bank.

The motivation behind the Genius Sperm Bank, which had been initiated over a decade earlier, was to advance the breeding of super-intelligent people. The bank was stocked full of semen donations solicited from many of the world’s most intelligent men.

Benefiting from the efforts of some of Omega’s elite operatives, Doctor Pedemont had unlawfully obtained hundreds of samples from the Genius Sperm Bank. Then, taking the best of the sperm donations, he’d artificially inseminated the very women who were now in the process of giving birth. This meant each child that was about to be born effectively had one mother and numerous fathers.

The legalities of the entire operation were of no concern to Omega. Although still in its formative stages, the agency was already above the law.

A tense Doctor Pedemont and three geneticists fussed over the first mother-to-be, a young redheaded woman, as she entered the final stages of labor. The two suits observing from afar waited anxiously as the geneticists used advanced scientific equipment to monitor the birth.

The redhead gave birth to female twins. They arrived six minutes apart. Doctor Pedemont picked up the first twin. After removing the umbilical cord, he placed the newborn baby on a set of scales. “Number Five,” he announced. “Born 7.43 pm. Weight seven pounds, thirteen ounces.”

One of the geneticists recorded the doctor’s findings in a file labeled Number Five. Sadly, this would be the closest the girl would ever have to a real name.

Doctor Pedemont gave the baby to another geneticist then grabbed her newborn sister and weighed her. “Number Six. Born 7.49 pm. Weight seven pounds, one ounce.”

The advent of twins was no accident, of course. Their arrival had been planned for, like everything else that occurred within the Omega Agency.

The next baby was born minutes later to an African-American woman. It was a boy who was clearly of African descent. However, he had a much lighter skin tone than his mother, indicating most or all of the sperm donations inseminated into the woman were taken from Caucasian men.

“Number Seven,” Doctor Pedemont announced. “Born 7.56 pm. Weighs exactly five pounds. A few weeks prem, but is perfectly healthy.”

Because Number Seven was a premature birth, one of the geneticists immediately placed him in an incubator. Number Eight, who was born quarter of an hour later, was a healthy girl of Oriental descent.

When Number Nine was born, the mother, a beautiful dark-haired woman with striking green eyes, reached out to Doctor Pedemont to indicate she wished to hold the boy she had just birthed. The doctor looked around enquiringly at the two mysterious suits who remained in the corner. After discussing it between themselves, the older of the two nodded.

Doctor Pedemont looked back at the newborn’s mother cautiously. “You know you’ll never see him again, Annette?”

Annette nodded forlornly. She fully understood the ramifications of her agreement with the Omega Agency. Doctor Pedemont reluctantly placed Number Nine in Annette’s arms. The baby boy reached out and placed his tiny hand on the ruby that hung from a silver necklace she wore.

“Sebastian,” Annette whispered tearfully as she looked into her son’s eyes. “I name you Sebastian, after my father.”

Anxious to avoid further bonding between mother and son, Doctor Pedemont took Number Nine from Annette and handed him to one of the geneticists who, without ceremony, jabbed a needle into the boy. Predictably, Nine started screaming. His mother looked on resignedly.

Later that night, two more boys and another girl were born. Like Number Nine, all three were Caucasian.

As Number Twelve, the last of the newborns, was weighed, the two suits approached a relieved Doctor Pedemont. They looked more relaxed now. The older of the two, a short, stocky, dapper individual with heavily pock-marked skin, reached for the doctor’s hand and shook it firmly. This was Andrew Naylor, the Omega Agency’s hard-nosed director who was known for his foul temper as well as for his lazy eye, which never quite managed to focus on whomever he was addressing at the time.

“Congratulations, doctor,” Naylor mumbled without even a hint of a smile.

“Thank you,” a beaming Doctor Pedemont responded, taking care to avoid eye contact with Naylor as he found the other’s lazy eye highly disconcerting.

Naylor’s companion, Special Agent Tommy Kentbridge, patted the doctor on the back in congratulatory fashion. “Well done,” Kentbridge said. Tall and ruggedly handsome – physically the polar opposite of Naylor – the special agent was one of Omega’s young stars. As a field operative, he had the sort of record most agents twice his age would be proud of. Although only in his early twenties, Kentbridge had been assigned to manage the products of this agency experiment. Like it or not, he would be the nearest to a father any of them would have.

It was a long-term experiment and no-one knew exactly what the outcome would be. The experiment was known in Omega circles as The Pedemont Project

 

Product Details

 

THE ORPHAN FACTORY (The Orphan Trilogy, #2)  is exclusive to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008M9WWKW/

 

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An orphan grows up to become an assassin for a highly secretive organization. When he tries to break free and live a normal life, he is hunted by his mentor and father figure, and by a female orphan he spent his childhood with. On the run, the mysterious man’s life becomes entwined with his beautiful French-African hostage and a shocking past riddled with the darkest of conspiracies is revealed.

 

TheNinthOrphan ebook cover

THE NINTH ORPHAN (The Orphan Trilogy, #1)

 

Prologue

A deer grazed on lush grass in a forest clearing. Around her, early morning mist clung to the tops of the spruce and fir trees common to Montana’s Custer National Park. Her ears twitched as the distant screech of a Merlin falcon carried to her in the still mountain air. The deer looked up, but mist concealed any view of the small and relatively rare bird of prey. She resumed grazing.

The deer wasn’t to know, but her remaining lifespan could be measured in minutes.

Two hundred yards downwind, an unusually large hunting party approached. This was a hunting party with a difference. Only one of the hunters was armed – their leader, Tommy Kentbridge; the others were all children ranging in age from ten to twelve. Male and female, they were of various racial backgrounds. Following Kentbridge, they walked silently in single file along a forest trail.

A tall, powerfully-built man in his mid-thirties, Kentbridge moved effortlessly across the hilly terrain. In his wake, the youngsters had to scramble to keep up. Muddy underfoot conditions added to their difficulties. Despite the challenges posed by keeping pace with their fast-moving leader, the children were doing admirably well. Their faces were flushed with excitement.

Kentbridge, who earlier that day had transported the kids from Chicago’s Pedemont Orphanage, kept one eye on his charges as the trail took them along the edge of a cliff. He noted with satisfaction not one of them seemed fazed by the thousand foot drop. They appeared to cope with the danger with all the poise of adults, or of young adults at least.

As he continued to observe the orphans, Kentbridge’s keen eyes missed nothing. A head count confirmed all twenty three were still with him. Strangely, he only ever referred to them by numbers. The oldest child was Number One, the youngest Twenty Three.

Directly behind Kentbridge, following like a shadow, was a serious-looking, twelve-year-old boy. Number Nine, who was the ninth-born orphan, had startling green eyes that seemed all-knowing and gave him a maturity beyond his years. Nine’s intelligent face was framed by dark, wavy hair. He wore a silver necklace. A ruby dangled from it, bouncing on his chest as he walked. The exquisite stone gave off a blood red glow in the sunlight.

A slightly younger, blonde-haired girl followed close behind. Number Seventeen was, of course, the seventeenth-born orphan. She surveyed the world through icy-blue eyes. Those same eyes were now fixed on the center of Nine’s back. It irked the competitive Seventeen that Nine had ensconced himself between Kentbridge and herself. She felt like she was always following in the boy’s footsteps.

Kentbridge slowed momentarily as the trail took them away from the cliff-top. The screech of a Merlin falcon attracted his attention. Just as the mist had concealed the falcon from the deer’s view moments earlier, it also concealed the falcon from Kentbridge’s view.

Some sixth sense prompted Kentbridge to unshoulder his rifle – a powerful, semi-automatic, military-issue weapon which he handled with the familiarity of a sniper.

The orphans’ leader suddenly froze. Behind him, the children became motionless also. A hundred yards upwind, a beautiful deer stood grazing, superimposed against the green foliage. She continued to graze, unaware humans were in the vicinity.

Kentbridge flashed military-style hand signals to his young charges. In unison, the orphans dropped to the ground. Close behind Kentbridge, Nine and Seventeen watched in awe as their leader sunk down onto one knee and aimed his rifle at the deer. At the last second, he lowered his weapon a fraction then fired. The shot shattered the silence. The deer went down.

The orphans and their leader raced over to the deer to discover she was not yet dead. On her side, the deer was trembling and white foam covered her nose and mouth. The foam turned pink then red as her inner organs reacted to the trauma caused by one not-so-well-placed bullet. Her breathing came in short rasps. The dying animal pawed the air with her legs as the orphans crowded around her.

Kentbridge handed his rifle to his shadow, Number Nine, and nodded toward the trembling animal. Of all the orphans, Nine was his most brilliant pupil. He was stubborn and defiant, but also highly intelligent. In many ways he reminded Kentbridge of himself.

The other twenty two orphans felt varying degrees of jealousy as they watched Nine psyching himself up to carry out their teacher’s order. Although very intelligent and gifted in their own right, the others sensed Nine had some indefinable X-factor that gave him an edge over them. It set him apart and they knew it.

Not even Kentbridge could say exactly what it was that gave the ninth-born orphan the edge. It wasn’t as if Nine was necessarily smarter than the others. He just seemed more sensitive and maybe that, Kentbridge reasoned, was where the boy’s genius lay. Nine appeared to feel life so deeply at times it was as if he had an extrasensory awareness.

Indeed, Kentbridge knew that kind of heightened consciousness, or right-brained intuitiveness, was the common element among all great thinkers. It was the mental frequency he hoped all his orphans would eventually operate at.

Cradling the rifle which was almost as long as he was tall, Nine looked down at the deer and prepared to put the animal out of its misery. The others watched intently as he lifted the weapon to his shoulder and took aim. Through the rifle’s scope, he saw the deer’s terrified eyes staring back at him. The boy hesitated.

“Finish the mission, Nine,” Kentbridge commanded. Nine looked up at his master then returned his gaze to the deer which was now twitching violently. “That’s an order!” Kentbridge said, raising his voice.

Nine was feeling increasingly traumatized. Seventeen shuffled close behind, as if encouraging him to hand the weapon to her. Unable to do the deed, Nine lowered the rifle.

Kentbridge snatched the rifle from him and handed it to the blonde-haired girl. “Complete the mission, Seventeen.”

Seventeen was delighted. She’d been waiting all her life for an opportunity to outdo Nine. However, she hid her delight as she expertly raised the rifle and took aim.

Unable to watch, Nine walked away from the scene. As he did, Kentbridge observed the boy had the same haunted look the deer had at that very moment.

A single shot rang out, its echo rebounding off the surrounding hills. The sound reverberated in Nine’s head, like a jackhammer inside his brain.

Without looking back, Nine walked deeper into the forest. He began to cry as he internalized the deer’s pain. Almost without realizing, Nine touched the ruby that hung from his necklace. As always, for no apparent reason, its touch brought him comfort.

 

Product Details

 

THE NINTH ORPHAN (The Orphan Trilogy, #1)  is exclusive to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0056I4FKC

 

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The Orphan Trilogy ebook cover

New cover for The Orphan Trilogy box set now available via Amazon.

 

A new cover has been designed for our top rating international thriller series THE ORPHAN TRILOGY (The Ninth Orphan / The Orphan Factory / The Orphan Uprising).

See what reviewers are saying about the trilogy:

★★★★★ “An invitation to acknowledge the world around you as it is.” -Historian Remy Benoit

★★★★★ “The best of the best in thrillers!” –Alice M. Dinizo 

★★★★★ “Edge of your seat stuff.” –David Wilson

★★★★★ “Thrills galore…highly addictive and recommended. –L. Townsend

 

The Orphan Trilogy  is available via Amazon at: http://amazon.com/dp/B00BGGM05U/

 

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In our top rating thriller novel THE ORPHAN UPRISING (The Orphan Trilogy, #3)  our central character, the ninth-born orphan known as Nine, is forced out of retirement when his former masters at the Omega Agency abduct Francis, his young son. 

The Orphan Uprising (The Orphan Trilogy Book 3)

An excerpt from the novel follows. It describes the moment the former operative realises Francis is being abducted. The action takes place in the Marquesas Islands, in remote French Polynesia, where Nine and his wife Isabelle have been hiding out since dropping off the grid five years earlier. Nine is jogging high in the hills overlooking a picturesque bay in the tropical island he now calls home. These days, he exercises for the sake of his health as he has a relatively common heart condition called stenosis.

The excerpt follows: 

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.

The former operative didn’t know it, but he wasn’t the only one observing the two men. His spiritual master, Luang, had noticed them around the same time Nine had. The elderly monk was watching from the entrance of the temple Nine and Francis had visited a short time earlier. Like Nine, he thought the two strangers seemed out of place.

Luang’s suspicions grew when the men purposefully marched up to one of the boys. He recognized the boy as Nine’s son. “Francis!” he shouted.

The boy, who was now playing quite close to the temple, looked at the monk and innocently waved.

Luang motioned to him with his hand. “Francis, come!” He motioned to him again.

Francis suddenly noticed the two strangers approaching. They were only a few yards away. Sensing they meant him harm, he sprinted toward the kindly monk and the sanctuary of the temple. The men began running after him.

Only now did Isabelle and the other mothers notice anything untoward from where they sat some distance away. Immediately concerned, they hurried to investigate. The island women began shouting at the strangers. Isabelle screamed when she realized it was Francis the men were chasing.

Fear drove Francis’ legs. The terrified boy ran as if his life depended on it. He reached Luang just before the strangers could catch him. The monk took Francis in his strong, wiry arms and threw him inside the temple. “Hide!” he ordered.

Francis ran to the rear of the temple and hid behind the statue of Buddha while Luang drew a long ceremonial sword from its scabbard that hung just inside the temple’s entrance. An exponent of the Muay Thai martial art, Luang was no slouch with a sword either – as the two strangers were about to find out.

The first man to enter the temple was the younger of the two. Confident the monk would offer no resistance, he hadn’t bothered to draw the pistol he carried on him as he stepped inside. He didn’t even see the steel blade that slashed his arm open to the bone. Screaming in pain, the wounded man threw himself to one side just in time to avoid a second slash that would have taken his head off.

Luang turned to face the second man too late to avoid the gunshot that ended his life. The monk was dead before he hit the temple’s concrete floor.

The sound of the gunshot galvanized Isabelle and the other women into action. Shouting to attract the attention of menfolk in the vicinity, they started running toward the temple. In her pregnant state, Isabelle was left far behind.

The women were still some distance from the temple when the older of the two men emerged with a struggling Francis under his arm. He was followed by the younger man whose wounded arm hung limply at his side. His once white shirt was blood-soaked. The older man pointed his pistol at the advancing women who by now were swearing obscenities at the pair. The sight of a pistol had no effect on the women, so he fired a warning shot above their heads, stopping them in their tracks.

Only Isabelle wasn’t deterred. “Francis!” she screamed as she ran toward the men whom she now knew were intent on abducting her son.

With a squirming Francis still under his arm, the older man ran off toward the beached inflatable craft, closely followed by his wounded partner.

“Mama!” Francis screamed.

Isabelle tripped and fell heavily. By the time she struggled to her feet, the men were already pushing their inflatable into the water. She was powerless to resist as they fired its engine into life and sped off toward the waiting floatplane.

“Mama!” Francis’ plaintiff cries reached his mother, but she was powerless to help.

High in the hills above the bay, Nine had started running as soon as the men began chasing after Francis. By the time they’d bundled the boy and their inflatable into the floatplane, Nine was already down at sea level and sprinting toward the waterfront. His lungs were burning and his legs felt like lead, but he ignored that. All he could think of was Francis.

The previous few minutes had seemed like a nightmare to Nine. There was no obvious explanation for what he’d just witnessed. Falling back on his training, his mind worked at a thousand clicks per second as he tried to figure out what was happening and who was behind it. It could only be Omega! He figured the Omega Agency must have discovered his whereabouts. But how? And why Francis? Why not me? There were so many questions and no answers.

Nine drove himself to run faster.

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As he neared the waterfront, he felt a searing pain in his chest. Nine knew immediately what was happening. He was having the heart attack his specialist had warned he’d have if he overdid things.

Despite his condition, he had the presence of mind to note the description of the plane that was now taxiing out into deep water in preparation for take-off: it was a de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter floatplane of the type favored by the Air Command of the Canadian Forces because of its excellent search and rescue capabilities.

The floatplane was the last thing Nine saw before everything went black.

Product Details

To read more about The Orphan Uprising  go to Amazon: http://amazon.com/dp/B00BFC66DM/

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How do you catch a man who is never the same man twice? That’s the question posed in the conspiracy thriller novel The Ninth Orphan, book one in The Orphan Trilogy.

TheNinthOrphan ebook cover

An orphan grows up to become an assassin for a highly secretive organization. When he tries to break free and live a normal life, he is hunted by his mentor and father figure, and by a female orphan he spent his childhood with. On the run, the mysterious man’s life becomes entwined with his beautiful French-African hostage and a shocking past riddled with the darkest of conspiracies is revealed.

But can the ninth-born orphan ever get off the grid? To find out you’ll need to go on a tumultuous journey around the globe to such far-flung locations as China, France, the Philippines, Andorra, America, England, Germany and French Polynesia. The frenetic cat-and-mouse chase moves from airports to train stations and hidden torture prisons, taking the reader on a shocking, nail-biting ride into the world’s closet of skeletons that goes beyond conspiracy theories to painful reality.

Here’s what Amazon reviewers are saying about The Ninth Orphan:

★★★★★ “What makes The Ninth Orphan stand out from other thrillers is its intelligent handling of its themes. Like Kazuo Ishiguro’s haunting novel, Never Let Me Go, The Ninth Orphan taps into our fascination with the possibilities of genetic selection, and the consequences it may bring. Throw in a pinch of romance and the suggestion of political shadow organizations that may or may not operate in the real world, and you have an exhilarating read that will keep the little grey cells ticking over long after you’ve reached the final page.” –The Flaneur Book Reviews UK

★★★★★ “The authors manage to weave political intrigue, espionage and eugenics into an exciting fabric of mystery and entertainment. The reader can’t but believe that the novel may not be only a work of fiction.” -I.A. Wilhite, Ph.D.

★★★★★ “Moves at the speed of a runaway train” -J.R. Rogers (author of ‘Doomed Spy’)

★★★★  “A Cloak and Dagger Grand Prix” -The Kindle Book Review

★★★★★ “A fantastic spy thriller” -A Made Up Story Book Reviews

★★★★ “This book is fast paced, and I mean fast.” -C9C Reviews

★★★★★ “Every twist and turn that you can imagine” -Holy Smoley Book Review

★★★★ “Ranks amongst the best thrillers” -Kindle Book Review UK

★★★★★ “This psychological thriller really kept me on the edge of my seat!” –Susan M. Heim, bestselling author of the ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ series

 

The Ninth Orphan is available via Amazon as a trade paperback and Kindle ebook at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0056I4FKC

 

Happy reading! -Lance & James

 

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We are pleased to announce the new cover launch for our thriller THE ORPHAN UPRISING (The Orphan Trilogy, #3).

The Orphan Uprising ebook cover

THE ORPHAN UPRISING is the sequel to THE NINTH ORPHAN, book one in this international thriller series.

The storyline:

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.

Having eluded his former masters at the Omega Agency and escaped his past life as an operative, Nine has married his soul mate, Isabelle. They’ve carved out a new life for themselves, off the grid, in the remote islands of French Polynesia.

The contented couple have a five-year-old son, Francis, who is a chip off the old block and who has inherited his father’s unique DNA. Francis will soon have a sister as Isabelle is about to give birth to a baby girl.

Their idyllic lifestyle is shattered when Francis is abducted by operatives in the employ of the Omega Agency, the shadowy organization that brought Nine into the world and once controlled every aspect of his life. The terrified boy with the unique DNA is dispatched to one of Omega’s underground medical laboratories for scientific testing and experimentation.

Nine is desperate to find Francis before Omega can harm him. He soon finds he’s up against his fellow orphans – all elite operatives as he once was – who are under orders to kill him on sight. To overcome them, he must call on all his former training and skills. His search takes him around the world – from Tahiti to America, Germany, Greenland and the Congo.

To add to Nine’s worries, he has a serious heart condition that requires immediate surgery. The clock is ticking and he knows he’s on borrowed time. It’s a race against the clock to find his son before Omega can harm the boy – and before his heart gives out.

 

THE ORPHAN UPRISING is available via Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BFC66DM/

 Product Details

 

Happy reading! –Lance & James

 

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