James & Lance Morcan,
The Ninth Orphan
(Sterling Gate, 2011)

Raised as one of numerous orphans trained as assassins, the man known as Nine wants nothing more than freedom from the life he has lived since childhood. Key to his plan is selling the location of the last treasure hoard of General Yamashita to the highest bidder.

As Nine tries to strike a deal with Chinese agents for the treasure the Japanese hid in the Philippines during World War II, he must play a cat-and-mouse game with his owners who would rather see any of their brood dead than free to possibly disclose the secrets of their deeds and conspiracies.

A master of disguise, Nine eludes his mentor/father figure and a girl known as Seventeen (whom he doesn't realize at first is both his sister and most dangerous enemy) and attempts to make contact with the Chinese representative. In a chance encounter, the daughter of a French official photographs him and sees an item that threatens his welfare.

Nine takes Isabelle hostage, initially determined to liquidate her. Fate and human emotions take them on a different journey and the race is on to a series of nail-biting clashes guaranteed to keep the reader flipping pages to see what happens next.

Sure, there are some fantastic coincidences and questionable events. But this is fiction, meant to be entertainment and not absolute realism. If you're looking for Proust, read Proust. If you like heroes in the vein of Bond and Bourne, you should find this to your liking.

Lance Morcan, a novelist, screenwriter and film producer, and his son, James, an actor and writer, have produced another exciting tale of romance and adventure. And, Lance tells me, this is the first in a trilogy featuring Nine.

book review by
John Lindermuth

11 August 2012

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