Posts Tagged ‘orphans’

 

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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 Male Holocaust Survivors Outlive Pre-War Emmigrants

Experimentation on orphans features prominently throughout our thriller series The Orphan Trilogy – not surprising given our central characters are products of the Pedemont Orphanage, a secretive institution on Chicago’s impoverished South Side, where experimentation is the rule, not the exception.

 

“I’m one of twenty-three orphan prodigies. We were created using genetic engineering technologies that have been suppressed from the mainstream. I’m at least half a century ahead of our times in terms of official science. The embryologists who created me selected the strongest genes from about a thousand sperm donors then used in-vitro fertilization to impregnate my mother and other women.”The Ninth Orphan

 

Keen to maintain at least a level of believability, we spent a considerable amount of time researching this somewhat unsavory and unpalatable topic. What we found makes for disturbing reading.

Records of experimentation on children and orphans are often indistinguishable, and for good reason: in many if not most cases the children involved are, or were, orphans. Those who weren’t technically classed as such were from one-parent families where, for one reason or another, that parent – usually the mother – was absent or negligent. In which case the child might as well have been an orphan.

Those records date right back to biblical times – to experiments performed on young Jewish prisoners in the Book of Daniel.

To remain reasonably contemporary, we chose to limit most of our research to the 1930’s onwards.

 

The man tried to shut out the voices from his childhood which now echoed in his head. He could hear the other orphans calling his name. Nine! Suppressed memories of his time spent at the Pedemont Orphanage surfaced from the depths of his psyche.The Ninth Orphan

 

The very first case that caught our eye was tame compared to others that followed, but nevertheless was devastating for those children involved. Popularly known as The Monster Study, it entailed conducting an experiment on 22 children – including 10 orphans – in Davenport, Iowa, in 1939.

The brainchild of one Wendell Johnson, himself a stutterer, at the University of Iowa, the experiment was conducted by grad student Mary Tudor who was tasked with giving half the children positive speech therapy and half negative speech therapy. Those in the former group were praised for their speech fluency while those in the latter were ridiculed and told they were stutterers.

Wendell Johnson

Wendell Johnson…architect of The Monster Study.

Most disturbingly, many of the orphan children in the ‘negative’ group suffered psychologically and developed permanent speech problems even though they were once normal speaking children.

Mary Tudor…conducted the experiment.

The experiment, which was cynically described as The Monster Study by Johnson’s peers, coincided with news of Nazi experiments on Jewish and other children early in World War Two, and so was kept hidden from the public at large.

In a New York Times article dated March 16, 2003, columnist Gretchen Reynolds says Johnson’s findings about the nature of stuttering, once it has begun, remains the accepted wisdom to this day. “The disorder does respond to conditioning, and once established, stuttering can have a ruinous momentum. Often, the worse someone stutters, the more he fears speaking, and the worse his speech becomes.”

Reynolds adds, “It is an ugly thing, after all, to experiment on orphans. And Johnson’s admirers, who still are legion, struggle to understand why he proposed and designed the project.”

No doubt many assumed Johnson believed it was okay to sacrifice a few to help the many other children who stuttered. The ends justify the means mindset has been the impetus behind many a cruel medical or social experiment.

Children, including some orphans, involved in The Monster Study.

Wikipedia reports that the University of Iowa publicly apologized for The Monster Study in 2001. It quotes University of Iowa assistant professor of speech pathology [name redacted] as saying “we still don’t know what causes stuttering, but the ‘Iowa’ way of approaching study and treatment is still heavily influenced by Johnson, but with an added emphasis on speech production”.

Well that’s all fine and dandy, but what about the experiment’s subjects? By all accounts the State of Iowa awarded six of the orphan children close to US$1 millionfor lifelong psychological and emotional scars caused by six months of torment during the study. And before her death, Tudor expressed deep regret, claiming Johnson should have done more to reverse thenegative effects on the orphan children’s speech.

Too little, too late, we say.

 

Peering down through the vent, Kentbridge couldn’t believe his eyes: the vent opened up into an underground base occupied by children – boys and girls. Nomore than five or six years old, they seemed to be hypnotized and moved around like zombies. As some moved out of sight, others came into Kentbridge’s line of vision. Dozens of them. The senior agent looked aghast at Nine, then returned his attention to the macabre scene below. The Ninth Orphan

 

The Lebensborn Program

The Monster Study pales into insignificance next to the horror stories that have come out of Nazi Germany – such as the Lebensborn Program, which we touched on briefly in Chapter 2.

To recap,Lebensborn was just one of many Nazi programs incorporating mind control techniques and was a pet project of Heinrich Himmler. The aim of the SS-backed program was to increase the Aryan population and it involved kidnapping thousands of very young children – including orphans – who were deemed to be ‘racially pure’. They were interned in camps where they were subjected to mind control tactics and brainwashed to think like Nazis.

Young inductees into the Nazis’ Lebensborn Program.

In the respected German news site, Spiegel Online International, columnist David Crossland reported (in November 2006) that after decades of hushed shame, the children of the Lebensborn program to create a blond, blue-eyed master race have started to speak out.

“Topic number one is the painful search for their true parents,” said Crossland. “And then that nagging question: Was my father a war criminal?”

Crossland observed that the children of the Nazis’ Lebensborn (‘Spring of Life’) program to create an Aryan master race were starting to go public with their plight and were renewing efforts to find out who their true parents were.

Uncle Adolph (Hitler) and one of the Lebensborn children.

Reports from a variety of sources reveal the Nazis kidnapped children from Russia, the Ukraine and throughout Europe. Poland and Yugoslavia figure prominently with estimates of the number of Polish children kidnapped ranging from 20,000 to 200,000.

By all accountsthe children were tested then placed in one of three groups, including one for those not wanted. The unfortunate members of that group were killed or dispatched to concentration camps.

Unfortunately, such horrors didn’t end with Nazi Germany.

 

It gradually dawned on Nine that Francis’ abduction could somehow be connected to the Black Forest orphanage or one of the other underground medical labs Omega was rumored to be operating elsewhere in the world. Whilst with Omega, Nine had heard the rumors that the agency was conducting illegal scientific experiments on genetically enhanced children at various isolated labs. He’d seen it for himself in Germany, and didn’t doubt for a minute there could be others. The Orphan Uprising

 

The Duplessis Orphans

Protesting Catholic Church

In the 1940’s, the government of Quebec, Canada, in league with the Roman Catholic Church, began falsely certifying thousands of orphans as mentally ill and confining them in psychiatric institutions.

Why? The short answer: money.

It happened during the tenure of Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis in the 1940’s and 1950’s when a change in government policy saw higher federal subsidies paid out to hospitals than to orphanages. One shameful result of this was indecent numbers of healthy children were hastily diagnosed as psychotic to capitalize on the increased subsidies.

As CBC Canada reports on its CBC Digital Archives site, the diagnoses were always swift – the children went to bed orphans and woke up psychiatric patients.

Here’s excerpts from that report:

“Some children allegedly endured lobotomies, electroshock, straitjackets and abuse. For the rest of their lives they would struggle to bring attention to their story and demand compensation. They called themselves the Duplessis Orphans.

“Born out of wedlock and deemed “children of sin,” thousands of Quebec children were cut off from society and sent to orphanages… Many were improperly diagnosed as mentally incompetent. The diagnosis would be a lifelong sentence; the orphans endured a difficult and sometimes abusive childhood…the orphans…have organized and are seeking compensation. With each day, more and more people are coming forward with claims of abuse.”

The Duplessis Orphans…stories of lobotomies, electroshock, straitjackets and abuse.

Among those survivors seeking compensation, some have asked the Quebec government to exhume bodies in an abandoned Montreal cemetery thought to hold the remains of orphans subjected to medical experiments. The survivors are pushing for autopsies to be performed.

 

Naylor inspected the documents. They included files and photos Nine had uplifted from the Berlin journalist Naylor had ordered him to execute a year earlier. Among them were graphic photos of orphans who had been subjected to horrific scientific experiments. The Ninth Orphan

 

Syphilis testing in Guatemala

Now here’s an experiment that defies belief. It involved the proven and acknowledged infection of Guatemalan orphans, schoolchildren, psychiatric patients, prison inmates and many others with venereal diseases in the late 1940’s by – wait for it – American public health doctors!

Through the late Nineties and early 2000’s rumors of deliberate infection of Guatemalans became whispers until finally, in 2005, hard evidence of what one senior US health official described as “a dark chapter in the history of medicine”was produced.

The world learned that for years American public health doctors deliberately infected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis and other venereal diseases. Apparently, the reason for this was to test the effectiveness of penicillin on those infections.

International Rights Advocates claim more than 5000 Guatemalans were experimented on and, in the course of those experiments, over 1000 were infected with venereal diseases.

Guatemalan youngsters among those experimented on.

One experiment entailed syphilis-infected prostitutes sleeping with prisoners in Guatemalan prisons. It transpires that prisoners not infected were administered the bacteria by injection or other means. While those who contracted syphilis were given antibiotics, it remains unclear exactly how many – if any – were cured.

The experiments, funded by America’s National Institutes of Health, were facilitated by Guatemalan health officials without the informed consent of subjects. Reports show at least 80 deaths resulted – with some estimates being much higher.

In October 2010 the US Government officially apologized for the actions of American citizens involved in the whole ugly business.

In a joint statement,Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said: “Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health. We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices.”

clinton_sebelius_113009

Secretaries Hillary Clinton and Kathleen Sebelius apologize for syphilis tests in Guatemala.

In a twist to the revelation, the New York Times issue of October 1, 2010 reported – beneath the banner headline U.S. apologizes for syphilis tests in Guatemala – that “The public health doctor who led the experiment, John C. Cutler, would later have an important role in the Tuskegee study.”

The study referred to was the US Public Health Service’s unethical and infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment that saw African-American males with syphilis deliberately left untreated for 40 years (from 1932 to 1972). But that’s a whole other story.

Getting back to the Guatemala experiments, a (US) Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues concluded that, after an intensive nine-month investigation, “The Guatemala experiments involved gross violations of ethics…It is the Commission’s firm belief that many of the actions undertaken in Guatemala were especially egregious moral wrongs because many of the individuals involved held positions of public institutional responsibility.”

Our research into this experiment has not uncovered reports of successful prosecutions against any of the American health officials or medical staffers involved in this travesty. Nor has it revealed whether any of the experiment’s subjects have received compensation for the atrocities committed. We can only assume the answer is No to both those questions.

 

Kentbridge tensed as white-coated scientists appeared below. They flashed psychedelic lights into the children’s eyes, putting them into even more of a trance-like state. To his horror, the senior agent noticed the children had bizarre physical defects. Some had multi-colored skin; others had adult-like facial hair; one young girl had the face of an elderly woman. The Ninth Orphan

 

Disproven allegations

In a series of articles first published in the early to mid-2000’s, dogged journalist Liam Scheff, who has been described by at least one mainstream US media outlet as a ‘HIV denialist’, claimed cruel AIDS experiments on children – usually orphans – were being conducted in New York’s Incarnation Children’s Center (ICC).

Scheff claimed his investigations revealed the children were being force-fed numerous drugs after allegedly testing positive to HIV/AIDS tests.

The allegations were vehemently denied by ICC staffers, and a subsequent New York State Department of Health investigation found none of the allegations could be substantiated. The department also indicated that the accusers appeared to subscribe to the unpopular theory that HIV does not cause AIDS.

One major media outlet pointed out that the allegations came from one person (Scheff) and weren’t backed up with real names or evidence of any kind.

When Scheff couldn’t get any traction for his allegations with mainstream media, he turned to online media to air his grievances.

Okay, so what does this have to do with experiments on orphans? Apparently…nothing at all. We mention it only to remind any readers who may consider themselves conspiracy theorists how important it is not to believe every conspiracy theory out there.

By the same token, if you’ve picked up anything from the preceding chapters, you’d have to agree only a fool would automatically accept as gospel everything officialdom tells us.

 

Nine went on to explain the notes he’d recovered from the journalist left no doubt Omega was manufacturing a new breed of genetically-superior orphans. Kentbridge’s mind was racing as Nine brought him up to speed. The program had obviously changed out of sight since The Pedemont Project. Why wasn’t I told? Now, it appeared, the emphasis was on radical medical experimentation. The Ninth Orphan

 

Liam Scheff’s apparently fictional allegations are eerily reminiscent of some of our fictional musings in The Orphan Trilogy – in particular in books one and three, The Ninth Orphan and The Orphan Uprising – in which the ninth-born orphan visits clandestine orphanages and medical labs on three continents.

And besides all the true accounts of orphan experimentation covered in this chapter, what if there are more advanced, secretive experiments on orphans and children generally that we never hear of?

Again we ask, where does the fiction end and the truth begin?

 

Read more in The Orphan Conspiracies: 29 Conspiracy Theories from The Orphan Trilogy – available now via Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Orphan-Conspiracies-Conspiracy-Theories-ebook/dp/B00J4MPFT6/

A book that’s for the common people.

 

Not all is what it seems! –James & Lance

 

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“The moral of this tale is that you don’t ever, ever abduct the young son of your best and most dangerous operative.” – That’s according to c9c Reviews’ Andrew Thompson in his Amazon review of our conspiracy thriller The Orphan Uprising (The Orphan Trilogy, #3).

Thriller resonates

Andrew’s 4-Star review lowers this novel’s 5-Star average rating (to 4.9 Stars) on Amazon. However, it’s such an insightful review we thought we’d share it with you…

Be careful who you kidnap

The moral of this tale is that you don’t ever, ever abduct the young son of your best and most dangerous operative. Such people will go to great lengths to get their children back, especially as they are very aware of the horrors that await their offspring.

Nine does his very best to look after his pregnant wife while attempting to rescue his son. His employers should have known better and they learn their lesson. Nine is hampered by a heart ailment, but despite this he manages to keep his promises to his family.

Another, final, installment of the Orphan series which does not disappoint.

For a brief synopsis of The Orphan Uprising see c9c Reviews’ blurb at: http://c9creviews.com/

For more reviews of this novel go to: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BFC66DM/

 

Happy reading! –Lance & James

 

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Truthdig.com, the online news site that takes pride in “drilling beneath the headlines”, has done it again: it has conjured up the most insightful review we’ve managed to uncover yet on what surely will turn out to be one of the most talked-about books of 2014…

We refer, of course, to Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files, which provides an eye-opening overview of whistleblower Edward Snowden’s running battle with the National Security Agency after leaking thousands of classified files to news organizations.

Book reviewer Greg Miller, national security correspondent for The Washington Post, reminds readers via his truthdig.com review of Feb.21 that author Luke Harding is the same LH who is a correspondent for The Guardian newspaper, which broke the initial Snowden story.

Miller also reminds us that “the course that Snowden chose…surreptitiously stockpiling thousands of classified files, leaking them…and finally fleeing first to Hong Kong and then Russia has been polarizing. He has been condemned as treasonous and hailed as courageous. Either way, his story is one of the most compelling in the history of American espionage.”

Further excerpts (abridged) from Miller’s review follow:

“The Snowden Files”…is the first to assemble the sequence of events in a single volume. The book captures the drama of Snowden’s operation in often cinematic detail but doesn’t necessarily enhance our understanding of the magnitude and impact of the leaks. It is most successful when focused tightly on its then-29-year-old protagonist, whose youth and low station in the spy world were so at odds with the caliber of the material he accessed that his journalist contacts, upon meeting him for the first time, shook their heads in disbelief. Snowden comes across as almost icily composed. He seems to have been undaunted by the challenge of outmaneuvering his employer, the National Security Agency, the largest spy agency in the world. He choreographed his encounters with journalists and revealed himself to the world largely on his own terms…

…Although the book is billed as “the inside story of the world’s most wanted man,” there is no indication Harding had direct contact with his subject. Instead, it reads more like the inside account of Snowden’s interactions with The Guardian. The details drawn from those encounters are fascinating, if not always illuminating. Snowden was so concerned about security at the hotel where they met that the few times he left his room he placed a glass of water behind the door, positioned to spill on a piece of tissue paper marked with a symbol sketched in soy sauce…

…“The Snowden Files” won’t be the last book on this subject nor likely the best, with Gellman and Greenwald titles already in the works. But Harding has delivered a clearly written and captivating account of the Snowden leaks and their aftermath, succeeding beyond its most basic ambition, which was to arrive in bookstores first.

For the full review go to: http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/the_snowden_files_20140221

Many of the concerns Snowden has raised regarding America’s surveillance programs and its espionage methodologies are highlighted in our top rated conspiracy thriller series The Orphan Trilogy (The Ninth Orphan / The Orphan Factory / The Orphan Uprising). That’s not to say we necessarily sympathize with Snowden or approve of his actions, but we do sympathize with many of the ‘Big Brother’ concerns he and others like him have raised.

Product Details

The Orphan Trilogy exposes a global agenda designed to keep the power in the hands of a select few. Our antagonists are a shadow government acting above and beyond the likes of the White House, the FBI, the Pentagon and the NSA… Sounds familiar?

Merging fact with fiction, the trilogy illuminates shadow organizations rumored to actually exist. Our three novels explore a plethora of conspiracies involving real organizations like the CIA, MI6, and the UN, and public figures such as President Obama, Queen Elizabeth II as well as the Clinton, Marcos and Bush families.

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

 

Happy reading! –Lance & James

 

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Check out this Goodreads.com list of novels that have mind control as a major theme in their plots. Ranked according to Goodreads’ members votes, the books in our conspiracy thriller series The Orphan Trilogy occupy the first four places on the list!

Here’s the top 10 books (ranked 1-10) on Goodreads’ Mind Control Fiction popularity list courtesy of Listopia:

The Ninth Orphan (The Orpha... The Ninth Orphan (The Orphan Trilogy, #1) byJames Morcan 3.65 of 5 stars 3.65 avg rating — 328 ratings
The Orphan Trilogy The Orphan Trilogy byJames Morcan 4.55 of 5 stars 4.55 avg rating — 47 ratings
The Orphan Uprising (The Or... The Orphan Uprising (The Orphan Trilogy, #3) byJames Morcan 4.44 of 5 stars 4.44 avg rating — 68 ratings
The Orphan Factory (The Orp... The Orphan Factory (The Orphan Trilogy, #2) byJames Morcan 4.27 of 5 stars 4.27 avg rating — 100 ratings
Manchurian Candidate Manchurian Candidate byRichard Condon 4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 9,163 ratings
1984 1984 byGeorge Orwell 4.08 of 5 stars 4.08 avg rating — 1,133,976 ratings
Scott Bloom en de Dochters ... Scott Bloom en de Dochters van Chenchen byRosa Miller (Goodreads Author) 4.29 of 5 stars 4.29 avg rating — 14 ratings
Animal Farm Animal Farm byGeorge Orwell 3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 1,176,284 ratings
Brave New World Brave New World byAldous Huxley 3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 663,648 ratings
The Stepford Wives The Stepford Wives byIra Levin 3.61 of 5 stars 3.61 avg rating — 11,056 ratings

For the top 100 novels on this list go to: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/11984.Mind_Control_Fiction#13250061

Occupying first place, The Ninth Orphan is book one in The Orphan Trilogy. Here’s the storyline for anyone interested:

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.

Fast-paced, totally fresh and original, filled with deep and complex characters, The Ninth Orphan is a controversial, high-octane thriller with an edge. Merging fact with fiction, it illuminates shadow organizations rumored to actually exist in our world. The novel explores a plethora of conspiracies involving real organizations like the CIA, MI6, and the UN, and public figures such as President Obama as well as the Clinton, Marcos and Bush families.

The Ninth Orphan (The Orphan Trilogy, #1) is available via Amazon as a trade paperback and Kindle ebook. Here’s the Kindle link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0056I4FKC

 

Happy reading! –Lance & James

 

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Our coming-of-age spy thriller, The Orphan Factory (The Orphan Trilogy, #2), is available to Kindle users at the reduced price of 99c via Amazon.com and Amazon.UK until Feb. 17th PST.

4.6 Star average review rating

This top rated thriller is the prequel to The Ninth Orphan, book one in The Orphan Trilogy. It’s 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. Embark on another frenetic journey with Nine, the ninth-born orphan, as he goes on the run across America.

Here’s a brief synopsis:

In the late 1970’s, in Chicago, Illinois, the secretive Omega Agency initiates the Pedemont Project – a radical experiment utilizing genetic engineering technologies – to create twenty-three orphan babies with the plan to turn them into the world’s most effective assassins.

One of the prodigies will rebel: meet Number Nine, an orphan with a mind of his own.

In 1998, when Nine reaches adulthood and graduates with honors from the Pedemont Orphanage, he is already an adept of the deadly espionage arts. Ordered by his Omega masters to assassinate a survivor of the Jonestown tragedy in Guyana’s Amazon rainforest, Nine is forced to draw upon all of his advanced training just to stay alive.

After 38 reviews, The Orphan Factory maintains its 4.6 Star average review rating on Amazon.

Here’s a sample of Amazon reviewers’ comments:

I loved getting to know more about Nine and his early years, his rivalry with 17 and interaction with other orphans, his self discovery and his ability to survive in a dangerous and deadly world. I am now looking forward to reading the third and final novel in this thrilling trilogy. –Pat O’Meara

Fast paced and never boring. I was drawn into the plot almost right from the beginning. –S.C.M. Hartstra-van Kan

Action and drama prevail in this exciting story. –Sheri A. Wilkinson

This novel explains how the orphans were produced and why and how they were trained…An awesome read. –“Westerntarheel”

A very well written, multifaceted book that is a joy to read. The authors have taken a genre which has been attacked from many angles and woven a modern, distinctive adventure. I am now going to re-read The Ninth Orphan.  –S.J. Hailey

An exceptional read, well written with just the right amount of explosive excitement that makes you sit up and take notice. Looking forward to the first and last in the trilogy which gives me the excuse to read the second one once again. –D. Catterall

The authors remind you The Orphan Factory is available now through to February 17th PST at the sharply discounted price of 99c. It’s available via Kindle at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008M9WWKW/

 

Happy reading! –Lance & James

 

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Books to read in 2014: From Murakami to Moore and more

Posted in #Chicago blog by Laura Pearson on Jan 8, 2014
From Going Clear to Tenth of December, from The Flamethrowers to less-talked-about-but-no-less-brilliant books (i.e., Mindsploitation), 2013 was a good year for reading. 2014 carries on strong, with a slew of noteworthy debut novels, new works by local authors and fresh fiction by familiar names such as E.L. Doctorow, Haruki Murakami and Lorrie Moore. With all the staring at screens we do, our resolution is to better balance a mostly web-based media diet with a healthy serving of escapist lit—both smart fiction and transporting nonfiction. No disrespect to e-readers, but we’re talking real books on real paper. Printed matter. Gutenberg shit. Here’s what will top our bedside stack of books this year. (It’s a tall stack.)

Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart (Random House, $27) The satirical novelist and prolific blurber‘s first memoir recalls his aspirations, struggles and family’s immigration to the U.S. from the Soviet Union. Out now.

Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot by Masha Gessen (Riverhead, $16) Examining the arrest and incarceration of Russian punk band Pussy Riot, which captured international attention, this book by a Russian-American journalist was published early due to two members’ release from prison. Out now.

A Highly Unlikely Scenario, or a Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World by Rachel Cantor (Melville House, $16.95) In a future world where competing fast-food factions rule, an employee at a pizza chain manages the complaints hotline. It’s a mind-numbing job—until he’s contacted by a 13th-century explorer named Marco. Drawing comparisons to A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, this debut novel sounds anything but boring. Jan 14.

The Last Days of California by Mary Miller (Liveright, $24.95) We enjoyed Miller’s story collection, Big World, and don’t want to be left behind in reading her first novel, about a family from Montgomery, Alabama, on a westward road trip in anticipation of the Rapture. Jan 20.

Andrew’s Brain by E.L. Doctorow (Random House, $26) Exploring themes of truth and memory, Doctorow tells the story of a man with a habit of wreaking havoc. Jan 26.

Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball (Pantheon, $23.95) The Chicago-based author of Samedi the Deafness and The Curfew returns with a story of the “Narito Disappearances,” in which eight people vanish from their homes in the same Japanese town, a single playing card left on each door. A journalist—also named Jesse Ball—is swept into the case. Jan 28.

A Life in Men by Gina Frangello (Algonquin, $15) The Chicago novelist, editor of The Nervous Breakdown and Sunday Editor of The Rumpus publishes her third book of fiction, about a woman with cystic fibrosis attempting to understand why a relationship with her best friend unraveled years prior—an investigation that leads to both questionable decisions and valuable discoveries. Feb 4.

The Dismal Science by Peter Mountford (Tin House, $15.95) A novel about identity, rationality and starting over, Mountford’s book follows a former VP at the World Bank as he tries to rebuild his life following a series of scandals and losses. Feb 11.

Bark by Lorrie Moore (Knopf, $24.95) Moore is often praised for her humor but we find many of her stories depressing. In particular, her most recent novel, A Gate at the Stairs, felt emotionally unsatisfying. That said, we’re still eager to read her first new collection in 15 years. The form suits her. Less is Moore. Feb 26.

A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man by Holly George-Warren (Viking, $27.95) The first biography of the teen rock star, Big Star frontman, dishwasher and influential solo artist (in that order) was written by a Chilton acquaintance and draws on interviews with more than 100 bandmates, family members and friends. In the words of Big Star: Thank you, friends. Mar 20.

Every Day Is for the Thief by Teju Cole (Random House, $23) Revised and updated, this 2007 book by Nigerian-American writer Cole (Open City) was originally published in Africa and now makes its highly anticipated English-language debut. Mar 25.

You Feel So Mortal by Peggy Shinner (University of Chicago Press, $22) In a series of essays, the Chicago-based writer considers the body through various lenses—historical,  social and political—and via topics such as bras, feet and hair. Apr 1.

Let Go and Go On and On by Tim Kinsella (Curbside Splendor, $15,95) We’re fascinated by the premise of Kinsella’s second novel, a fictional riff on what happened to real-life cult actress Laurie Bird, who appeared in the films Two Lane Blacktop, Cockfighter and Annie Hall before committing suicide at age 26. Told in the second person, the novel considers the timeless lure of celebrity. Apr 15.

Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy by Dr. Pat Morris with Joanna Epstein (Blue Rider Press, $19.95) We wish we could go back in time and visit the quirky collection of curios of Walter Potter, a country taxidermist who created storybook-like scenes of kitten tea parties and sword-fighting squirrels. This book, stocked with photos, is the next best thing. Apr 17.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris (Little, Brown, $26) This novel follows the life of Paul O’Rourke, a man of many contradictions (i.e., a dentist who smokes), as someone begins to impersonate him online—and pretty well, creepily enough. It considers the real versus the virtual aspects of everyday life, and the absurdity of both. May 6.

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay (Grove Press, $16) In her first novel, Gay—co-editor of PANK, essays editor for The Rumpus and teacher at Eastern Illinois University (among other things; she’s everywhere!)—writes of a Haitian woman kidnapped for ransom, and what happens when her father refuses to pay her captors. May 6.

The WORN Archive: A Fashion Journal about the Art, Ideas, & History of What We Wear by Serah-Marie McMahon (Drawn and Quarterly, $29.95) This best-of collection of the smart Canadian fashion journal explores the places where fashion, art and pop culture intersect. Seems like a must-read for people who love clothes but, for example, hate the word “clothes horse.” May 6.

The 40s: The Story of a Decade by the New Yorker Magazine (Random House, $30) This portrait of an endlessly fascinating decade, from the perspective of The New Yorker, features contributors old and new, including Elizabeth Bishop, John Cheever, Shirley Jackson, Jill Lepore, Susan Orlean and Zadie Smith. May 6.

Once I Was Cool by Megan Stielstra (Curbside Splendor, $15.95) The seasoned storyteller—who, in addition to teaching and writing, has performed at Chicago’s 2nd Story storytelling series for more than a decadepresents a collection of personal essays that sounds quite cool. May 13.

Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush by Geoff Dyer (Pantheon, $24.95) The veteran writer recalls his time aboard the American aircraft carrier and his lifelong fascination with military service. May 20.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez (Knopf, $24.95) The Chicago writer’s highly anticipated novel tells the love story of a Pananamian boy and Mexican girl—the latter of whom suffers a near-fatal accident—and the language, racial and cultural obstacles their families face in America. Jun 3.

Paper Lantern: Love Stories by Stuart Dybek (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24) The distinguished author of I Sailed with Magellan and The Coast of Chicago publishes a collection of love stories, the titular one of which first appeared in The New Yorker in 1995. Jun 3.

Nobody Is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey (FSG Originals, $14) In this new novel, a woman abruptly leaves her life in Manhattan, including a husband who has no idea what happened to her, on a one-way flight to New Zealand. There, she drifts farther into unknown territory—emotionally, mentally, as well as physically. Jul 8.

California by Edan Lepucki (Little, Brown, $26) Lepucki’s debut is an inventive take on the post-apocalytic novel, about a couple who moves from an isolated existence in the wilderness to a guarded community that, they soon realize, harbors terrifying secrets and unforeseen dangers. We’ll probably read this one on the morning commute instead of at bedtime. Jul 8.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami (Knopf, $25) The English translation of the latest work by the much-loved Japanese writer arrives this summer. Thousands of people lined up at Tokyo bookstores at midnight to buy a copy. Aug 12.

Ancient Oceans of Kentucky by David Connerley Nahm (Two Dollar Radio, $15.50) Exploring small-town life in the middle of Kentucky, this debut novel tells the story of Leah, whose brother, Jacob, disappeared during their childhood. Now, as an adult, she directs a nonprofit organization, and a man shows up at work claiming to be Jacob. We anticipate a haunting and riveting read. Aug 12.

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin (Dutton, $27.95) What can we distractible types learn from those who manage to stay focused in a hyperconnected, details-drenched, technology-dependent world? Levitin lets us know. Aug 19.

The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, the Importance of Handbags, and Other Cultural Inquiries by Daphne Merkin (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27) The former New Yorker columnist examines faded icons, famous writers and the pervasive desire for celebrity in our present world. Aug 19.

A Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk (McSweeney’s, $24) We’re not quite sure what to expect from this first book by the hilarious comedian-writer, which promises to contain absurdist monologues, intentionally bad theater and “free-verse more powerful than the work of Calvin Trillin, Jewel and Robert Louis Stevenson combined”—besides utter hilarity. Sept 9.

A Different Bed Every Time by Jac Jemc (Dzanc Books, price not yet listed) Following her highly praise poetic novel, My Only Wife, the Chicago writer, poetry editor of decomP and fiction web editor for Hobart returns with a story collection this fall. Don’t miss it. October.

RECOMMENDED: Best books of 2013

To read more go to TimeOutChicago’s excellent blog at: http://www.timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/books/16524926/books-to-read-in-2014-from-murakami-to-moore-and-more

Happy reading! –Lance & James

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