We haven’t met Hope Gardner or her son in a while, have we? What’s she up to?
Meeting up with Danny as it turns out, to try and hire him to find Emma. During a conversation in which the point of view randomly jumps back and forth between them, they bond over their shared grief and the point is hammered home that Hope is now stronger and more powerful than ever before. Danny insists that Emma is dead, but Hope counters that she knows her daughter it still alive through the power of Being A Mother, and on a related note there’s lots of guff about how much STRONGER Hope is now that she’s out protecting her children. You know, the usual.
After insisting that he won’t help them for a whole Danny abruptly decides actually he is going to help them, and in order to do that he needs Devlin. Problem: he hasn’t answered three phonecalls from Devlin, which means (according to the absurdly complicated rules that govern these character’s professional lives) that he’s officially been cut off from any more Branch 4 operations. Solution: go to the secret underground spy-office that Danny apparently has and HACK until he finds Devlin’s real identity. You know, the identity that is so top secret only one person in the entire world besides Devlin knows what it is, and which doesn’t appear to actually exist on any computer or network but Danny’s going to try anyway. He might as well, since in the world of this book hacking generates information from thin air.
After some waffling Danny manages to reverse-engineer the whatever and gets in contact with Devlin, who tells him about something going down on board the Clara Vallis. Danny, Hope and Rory all tear off for the Grand Finale that’s still a disappointing number of chapters away.
MEAWHILE Skorzeny is busy making billions and billions of dollars by capitalising on the recent terror attacks in ways that aren’t described very well. Some very helpful commentors a few posts back went a bit into the economic side effects of terrorist attacks, so let me ask those same people if this sounds plausible: the worldwide economy (not just in the US, but everywhere) is being so badly effected that Skorzeny is able to buy whole companies for ten cents on the dollar”; he secures a majority interest in General Electric, one of the biggest companies in the world by some metrics, after their stock falls to “depression-era levels”. A bit later on Skorzeny’s henchman off-handedly mentions the possibility of taking complete ownership of Citicorp and Bank of America within less than a day.
I just find it hard to believe that the economy would be that badly effected by a school hostage crisis and two bombings. And if it was, why are none of Skorzeny’s companies being hit as well?
But never mind all that, Skorzeny is being creepy and weird because Amanda Harrington hasn’t called him after he raped her. She’s probably busy drugging the twelve year old girl she kidnapped, Skorzeny.
(These characters are very subtle and well realised, in case you couldn’t tell)
Skorzeny acts decadently sophisticated and European for a while, then Charles gets in touch from London. The Plan is ready to proceed, but first Charles has to kill Devlin. You see, Charles wants to kill Devlin super bad due to that whole incident in Paris we heard about earlier, but Skorzeny also wants to kill Devlin super bad, for reasons that aren’t quite revealed just yet.
Skorzeny also tells Charles to tell Amanda to bring “the insurance policy” (Emma) to his country house in France, which prompts Charles to have a sudden fit of paranoia and wonder whether he knows about Charles and Amanda sexing it up behind his back. The chapter ends with all of the villains actively contemplating double-crossing each other in one of those he-knows-that-I-know situations where they’re putting on a front of still working together, which is mildly entertaining.