Apr 30, 2016

The Sons of Gyges (The Girl in the Mirror #2) by Philip J. Gould


"The characters are well-developed, complex and unforgettable, adding high-intensity and drama to this intoxicating page-turner. Sophie Jennings whose body develops faster than her brain absorbs information like a sponge. [...] "The Girl in the Mirror" is a heart-stopping thriller that you can't put down until finished. I loved it and can't wait for a sequel." - Goodreads, Wendi

Description:

Published: March 29th, 2016

With her mother murdered and her traitor father taken by the CIA, could things possibly get any worse for Sophie Jennings?

In her quest for the truth Sophie travels to America in search of the bio geneticist father responsible for the genetically enhanced DNA that has given her super-human abilities.

Wanting an explanation for recent tragic events and a cure for her invisibility, Sophie finds herself in Washington DC. With the help of the British Secret Intelligence Service and her own unique deadly skills Sophie uncovers a terrible truth. Plunged into the middle of a battle involving the American army, Sophie is faced with a task that threatens both her morality and sanity - save her father or save thousands of lives. 

The Sons of Gyges is the explosive, action-centric second novel in The Girl in the Mirror series.

Abduction. Theft. Murder. Betrayal.
Created as a prototype for a soldier of the future, sixteen-year-old Sophie Jennings possesses abilities like no other. With exceptional strength, intelligence, endurance, longevity and the ability to become invisible, she is a force to be reckoned with, but many will try.

Her father, a bio-geneticist with a murky past, has ties to a corporation whose motives are questionable. His unease with their intentions, prompts him to run, taking Sophie with him.

Their journey unleashes a malicious chain of events that will pin Sophie up against a sadistic and equally powerful opponent and force her into a position to utilise every skill necessary to outwit and outrun her pursuers.

Fight or flight? Hide or seek?
For Sophie, the decision is simple.
Unbeknownst to her, taking out two armed men will only be the beginning of what she’ll face during the next forty-eight hours.
Will Sophie, inexperienced and untested, prove to be their worst enemy?
The Girl in the Mirror is a gripping action adventure that twists and turns, and twists some more. Like Sophie Jennings, you won't see the end coming...


EXCERPT


EXCERPT from The Sons of Gyges

Emily Porter felt like she’d barely had time to take a breath as she followed Sophie’s voice at a run through the corridors, down flights of stairs and eventually out of the hospital.

Armed police heading into the building gave her little notice, assuming her haste was due to fear and the continuing racket of the alarm system. An invisible hand occasionally grappled with hers, leading her in directions less obvious.

Street lighting illuminated the paths surrounding the hospital buildings. Running to the left of the Critical Care Centre, passing the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer and the Pasquerilla Health Centres, Sophie brought her to a stop outside the garage entrance of the Georgetown University Hotel.

Out of breath, Emily doubled over in her standing position, trying to recover. She looked up to where she imagined Sophie was standing, just a step away from her. “I guess...” she started, “... I owe you one...” Her words were punctuated by gasps for oxygen.

“What were you and Ryan thinking?” Sophie scorned. “You could’ve died in there!”

“I...” Emily couldn’t think of an excuse. She stood upright. Her heart was still pumping fast. Instead she said: “I know. We are trying to help you!”

“And I appreciate that.” Sophie sounded quite the opposite. “Just do it from the end of a phone. I can do without these... distractions...”

“I think you are forgetting something.” Emily held up Agent Roberts’ shoes. “Without me we wouldn’t know how important these are.”

“Size nine brogues... Classy.”

“He hid something in the heel of one of them.” Emily turned the shoes over to inspect the soles. Not seeing anything obvious, she put one shoe down and paid closer attention to the one still in her hand. With a finger she probed the inside, feeling the lining for any signs of a secret compartment. She turned it back over and tapped the sole with the nail of her index finger. It sounded solid. She discarded the shoe in favour of the other.

“It’s beginning to look like you nearly died for nothing...”

Emily repeated her actions from the first shoe. Probing the lining inside the shoe again, she turned it over and ran the flat of her hand over the surface of the sole. The treads were rough for the most part but worn smooth in others.

“Just ditch the shoe and let’s go...”

Emily tapped the sole with the nail of an index finger once again. Solid... until the heel. The sound of the tapping changed pitch slightly ─ more dull, hollow.

“You were saying?” Emily noticed a very minute line of an indentation just above the surface of the flat of the heel. She tried prying it off with her nail but it seemed stuck down fast. “Do you have a knife?”

“Do I look like someone who carries a knife?” Sophie countered.

“Um, yes... actually you do!”

Sophie ignored the comment. “Here. Give it to me.”

Emily held the shoe out. It abruptly disappeared into thin air as Sophie snatched it away.

“Hmm. I see,” Sophie made a few more noises of affirmation. “Yes. Got it.” She placed the shoe back into Emily’s hand where it suddenly reappeared. 

“A sliding compartment,” she grunted satisfactorily. “Should have guessed that.” A thin piece of hard rubber at the base of the heel had been pushed from the centre outwards to the back, to reveal a small square compartment big enough to hide any object the size of a small matchbox. Whatever was hidden in the secret compartment was steeped in shadow. Emily upended the shoe and gave it a gentle tap with the flat of four fingers. A small flat piece of plastic the size of a thumbnail came dislodged and fell out into the palm of her hand. Carefully, she examined it under the soft light of a neighbouring streetlamp. 

“A flash card,” she said with an air of bewilderment, turning it over one handed with her thumb. In her head she heard Agent Spencer Roberts:

“In my... shoe... you’ll find... what you... want...”

EXCERPT FROM Book #1

Sophie was now standing in front of the fallen soldier. He slowly reached up to his ear and removed the earpiece, electronic voices continuing to whisper commands and instructions, oblivious to what had concluded in the apartment. He pulled the microphone out from his jacket and tossed it aside.

“I’m done,” he repeated hoarsely, then spat a globule of spit and blood out.

Sophie reached down and picked up the ear and mouth piece, holding it up to her ear.

“Alpha Team, what’s going on? Report? Back up team will be with you shortly. Do you copy?”

Sophie walked over to the place where the window had been, the curtains billowing in like an unfurled flag. She peered out just as her father had done earlier.

“Why won’t you leave us alone?” she asked into the microphone. “We’ve done nothing to you!”

At first the radio went silent.

In the distance the sound of sirens wailed as they fast approached in answer to all the gunfire and an elderly neighbour who’d been crudely woken from a nap in his armchair from all the hullabaloo. A small gathering of nosey onlookers had gathered at a safe distance down the road, their macabre fascination for blood, death and destruction fuelled their appetite to watch, no matter the risk to themselves.

“It’s not what you’ve done… Sophie. It’s what you are programmed to do.” An electronic voice secreted from the earpiece now held in the palm of Sophie’s right hand.

“You should stop. Whilst you have the chance. Stop now, I’m warning you.”

A police car appeared at the end of the road, tyres screeching, siren blaring, flashing lights splashing blue translucent colour urgently as it drew closer, coming to a halt outside the apartment block. Another police vehicle arrived moments later and still more sirens sounded in the background.

“Sophie… It doesn’t have to be like this. We could be friends, you and I.”

Sophie knew the voice at the end was playing with her, stalling for time, time which she didn’t have. She had to leave, and leave immediately, but before she did there were things she had to retrieve, things essential to her (and her father’s) survival.

Speaking as she worked, Sophie replied: “I doubt that very much.”

Retrieving a backpack and a large sports holdall, she filled the backpack with things she absolutely needed; spare clothes; provisions, water, food; the iPad which had miraculously survived the gunfire and violence; a mobile phone; a torch; her fluffy kangaroo from the safe room. What she couldn’t fit into the backpack, she placed into the holdall. She then emptied the refrigerator of every vial of serum, not forgetting to pack the jet injector. 

From one of the fallen soldiers she unholstered a handgun and collected all the ammunition she could find (from them both), six magazines in all.

“We need to meet Sophie. I’m sure we can come to a mutually beneficial arrangement.”

Lastly, Sophie located the place where her father’s floor safe was, hidden beneath a section of carpet that was easily lifted. She pulled up the floorboard, exposing the digital combination lock of the safe. She keyed in her date of birth − a combination, or version thereof favoured by her father:

1-6-0-4

The latch clicked as the door from within was released. Sophie opened the door and reached in; removing her father’s laptop and two thick A5 envelopes which she knew each contained a thick wad of fifty pound notes. These last items she dropped into the holdall without much ado, and zipped it closed.

“Nice talking to you creep. Let’s do it again… not!” Sophie dropped the ear and mouth piece back to intruder number two, and unseen she left the apartment carrying the big holdall in one hand and the backpack over the shoulder of her opposite arm. She passed the policemen who were busy marking their territory, some armed and taking up strategic positions, rifles aimed ahead of them; others cordoning off the area at a safe distance, trying to assess the situation.

She passed further the group of bystanders who’d gathered into a very large force of spectators, busily gleaning and gloating at the theatrics now playing out ahead of them. Ignoring them, she continued at a pace putting distance between her and the Chelsea apartment, passing the black car that had gained her father’s attention but which hadn’t quite convinced him that there was an occupant staking them out, despite the possible sighting of a riflescope or the glass from a pair of binoculars.

She paid the car little more than a sideward glance, deep in concentration as she tried to make sense of what had just happened and formulate some ideas as to what next to do.

Sophie knew there was only one place she could really go, one place where the people who lived therein she could honestly trust. Although angered to be leaving all her worldly goods and her home behind, she was equally excited at the prospect of seeing her sister again, the only friend she knew. 

The rear window of the black car, now behind her, electrically wound down. The passenger watched from a safe distance, night vision binoculars held against his eyes. For all intents and purposes he looked like a Peeping Tom. He watched the girl religiously, unseen by all she passed, her dishevelled appearance and determined look concealed to all except one. The man picked up a walkie-talkie and spoke into it.

“Bravo Team, stand down. Do not engage; repeat, DO NOT ENGAGE.”





About the author:

Philip John Gould, was born during the hot summer of August 1974 in Suffolk, England. From an early age he escaped reality by spending many hours daydreaming and aspiring to be an author. It's owing to positive feedback on the back of a short story when, aged 13, Phil's English teach wrote an encouraging phrase at the end of his assignment, that inspired him to persevere with his ambitions deep into adulthood.

In 1990, Phil left school and took a job in shipping, where he worked as an Export clerk for a very abusive manager. He changed careers in 1993, joining a large insurance company, where he undertook a number of positions, including training guide writer, and culminating in a junior manager role which he maintained until he was made redundant in 2003. A day after the announcement of losing his job, he had blood tests in relation to a growth in the side of his neck. A month later he was diagnosed with having Hodgkins Lymphoma.

In 2002, work on The Book of Alternative Records had begun, written with the assistance of Ralf Laue who owned the second largest database of achievement records in the world, behind the Guinness behemoth. Together, the book was compiled and completed in 2003 and published in 2004 by John Blake Publishing. In 2005 a German translation of the book was produced. Phil's ambition to be published was fulfilled, but his health and personal circumstances thwarted any hopes to pursue an immediate career in writing. 

In fact, it wasn't until 2011 that Phil got the itch to write again. Having been working back in insurance for a while, he decided that he would leave his paid day job early the following year to fulfil two things. One, to spend more time with his family (his wife had given birth to a son in October 2011 and Phil wanted to be more hands-on with his newborn's upbringing, an opportunity he'd missed with his two daughters), and two, to start working on a new writing project. Actually, an idea for a series of novels had been at the back of his mind for some time, but it wasn't until September 2012 (after an extended holiday), that Phil finally sat down and started working on what would be The Girl in the Mirror.

Still spending too many hours daydreaming, Phil continues to live in Suffolk with his wife, Beth, and three children, Rebecca, Sophie and Matthew.

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