If you’re a fan of international conspiracy thrillers in the vein of James Bond and James Bourne – and you like your action fast and furious – this latest offering from father and son writing team, James and Lance Morcan, is guaranteed not to disappoint. The first of a trilogy, The Ninth Orphan follows the fate of Sebastian George Hannar, the ninth orphan of Chicago’s Pedemont Orphanage. We meet ‘Nine’ at the age of 31, a highly skilled assassin, trained since birth to be the perfect secret agent. Increasingly frustrated with the life that he has been bred for – and the dark secrets it entails – our protagonist decides to make his next mission his last, and secure his freedom with the highly sensitive information he is privy to. But of course, our hero making a quick escape to the suburbs and settling into a life of quiet domesticity would not a satisfying thriller make. No rogue agent ever escaped from a covert, evil organization with designs to ‘take over the world’ so easily, and ours is no exception. Just as it seems that Nine might achieve his goal of independence, a chance encounter with a beguiling photographer, Isabelle Alleget, causes his plans to unravel. And so begins a frenetically paced cat and mouse chase that takes us all over the world, from Paris to the Philippines. Deftly weaving some fantastical twists and turns, flashbacks to our hero’s extraordinary childhood, and a series of impressive action sequences into a tense plot, the Morcans deliver a satisfying narrative that never lets up. And as he is hotly pursued by his mentor, Tommy Kentbridge, and various secret organizations, Nine’s intriguing, chameleon-like ability to disguise himself ensures that our attention never wavers. 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 sinister 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 Ninth Orphan
How do you catch a man who is never the same man twice? This is the question posed by the international spy thriller, The Ninth Orphan, the first in The Orphan Trilogy.
James and Lance Morcan
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