A Book of Revelations
A Book of Revelations
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Dorothy Black is the assistant headmaster. She’s also an assassin.
At the start of her third year at Confrere Preparatory Academy, Mui discovers Dorothy Black’s secret and is determined to learn more about the mysterious woman.
To get closer to Black, Mui agrees to intern for the assistant headmaster and stumbles across a sinister plot that will ultimately put her and Black on a collision course with the truth about Mui’s father.
The adventure continues in the third book of this pulse-pounding series. The assassin’s daughter doesn’t disappoint.
Read An Excerpt
Read An Excerpt
Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia
The five-ton animal stood the height of a school bus and had to have been at least twenty-one feet from trunk to tail. From its jaws, white ivory tusks extended no less than five feet with a girth matching that of a grown man’s thigh. They were the most enormous tusks Philippe Dufour had ever laid eyes on, and he’d been hunting elephants for a long time.
It was five-thirty in the morning, and daylight had just begun to creep into the jungle. Dufour continued to observe the animals through his night-vision binoculars.
There were four bulls in the group; the largest one was awake. He stood toward the edge of the pack. His trunk swayed slowly back and forth, the tip brushing the ground. Occasionally he’d flap his ears and let out a large breath, but other than that, the large bull remained quiet and undisturbed. He was the lookout while the others rested.
Dufour and his men had been tracking the bachelor herd of elephants in the Cambodian jungle for two weeks. He was on the verge of calling it quits when he decided to spend another day in the Phnom Prich wildlife sanctuary. They had already overstayed their welcome and knew that any day they could run into a ranger patrol and risk being shot dead.
Before becoming a poacher, Dufour spent ten years in France’s Special Forces. He ran his hunts like a military operation. Everything was well planned—a strict chain of command was always followed. Dufour pressed on his throat mic and ordered his men to advance to his position. He always used the same team on every operation.
Thom Keo, a native Cambodian, came up beside Dufour. Both men wore military fatigues, and Keo carried a backpack filled with gear. He’d been working alongside the Frenchman as a guide for nearly a year. Not only could Keo track just about anything that moved in the jungle, he also knew the terrain like the back of his hand.
The other two in the outfit were brothers: Bona and Kiri. They were the hunters in the group. Obtaining firearms in Cambodia was tough, so Dufour relied on the brothers’ archery skills. Using recurve bows, the brothers shot arrows whose tips were dipped in a potent pesticide cocktail. While it took ten to twelve hours for the animal to succumb to the poison, the approach had its advantages. Large-caliber rifles could alert a nearby ranger patrol, and Dufour was no stranger to them. The rangers had been hunting Dufour since the first elephant he poached.
Together, he and his men had already killed eight elephants. Unlike the poachers in Africa, Dufour butchered the animal for more than its ivory. The skin was of value, especially the mottled skin of an elephant’s ear. In recent years, China's demand for elephant hide had tripled; the Chinese believed it a cure for several dermatological ailments such as eczema and fungal infections. Dufour also had buyers requesting the feet, tails, trunk, and genitalia.
The tusks alone from those four animals would bring in at least US$700,000. Throw in the skin, feet, tails, and genitals, and Dufour was looking at nearly a million dollars, just thirty-five yards away.
The plan was to have the brothers flank the lookout bull. They needed to strike that animal first since it was awake. There wasn’t any doubt in Dufour’s mind that the animal would attack if they failed. After they hit the bull with the arrow, it would sound the alarm, waking the others before running off. The three other bulls would be confused upon waking. The brothers had a small window to hit those other bulls with the poisoned arrows. After, Keo would go to work tracking the animals until they dropped dead. At that point, all Dufour needed was thirty minutes to butcher each animal of everything valuable.
Dufour watched the large bull with his binoculars while Kiri took his gear and headed west. Bona headed east. The men would keep in communication via their comms system.
“Do you think we can pull this off?” Keo asked Dufour.
“I do. If Bona and Kiri do exactly as planned, they should be able to hit all four elephants before they take off.”
“Or attack us.”
Dufour lowered the binoculars and looked at Keo. “Let’s try and remain positive, okay?”
* * *
Kiri crept along the jungle floor, keeping his eyes on the lookout bull. It had moved a few feet, but it was nothing to worry about. Kiri stopped to look through his binoculars. Suddenly a hand clamped across his mouth.
Before he could react, he felt the pressure across his neck, only to realize seconds later that something sharp had slit his throat. Kiri dropped the binoculars and grabbed hold of his throat with both hands. The warmth poured out like a dam had burst. His vision darkened, and within seconds everything had turned black.
The shadowy figure standing behind Kiri quietly lowered the man to the ground. That person then took Kiri’s bow and quiver and moved on, looping around the group of elephants. The figure spotted a second man, Bona, through thermal imaging optics; he was creeping up on the herd. The figure moved in closer to eliminate most of the natural obstacles that would prevent a clear shot.
Bona had removed an arrow and placed it in his bow. The shadowy figure did the same. A second later, the arrow struck Bona in the neck. He let out a strangled cry as he fell to the ground. That was enough to alert the lookout bull.
The high-pitched trumpeting awakened the sleeping birds in the trees above, sending them flapping away. The bull continued to trumpet as its front feet stamped the ground. The other bulls joined in the trumpeting. Their heads swayed side to side as they searched for the source of danger.
Dufour called out to his men using his throat mic. “Kiri. Bona. Come in. Do you hear me?”
But there was no response.
Just then, an arrow struck Keo in the chest. His eyes popped open as he stared at the protruding arrow. His breathing turned into panicked howling as realization set in. A second later, another arrow struck Keo, and he collapsed.
Dufour had no idea where his attacker was, but he wasn’t sticking around to find out. He took off running, bouncing off trees while slapping hanging vines out of his way. Suddenly he heard it: the footsteps of someone chasing him. He looked over his shoulder but saw no one behind him. The jungle had already grown lighter since discovering the herd. If he could hear the person, he should be able to see them. That simply wasn’t the case.
Dufour couldn’t understand how someone could have eliminated his entire team within a matter of minutes. He didn’t for one second believe the rangers that patrolled the sanctuary were behind the ambush. They weren’t trained in covert killing, which is precisely what appeared to be happening. Dufour removed the .45 Luger from his hip holster as he looked over his shoulder. He spotted movement and fired. Then movement appeared in another location. He fired again. Is there more than one person? There has to be. One person can’t have done all of this. He continued to fire at what seemed like multiple people chasing him until he emptied the clip.
Dufour fumbled with his utility belt for a second clip. He found it, and in the process of locking it in place dropped it. Dufour acted nothing like ex-Special Forces. The way it all had gone down—it was like his attacker was a ghost. Coming under attack by people like this, in the jungle, during that hour… It was the last thing Dufour expected, and he would pay dearly for his poor preparation.
* * *
Later that morning, Dorothy Black sat at a table under a small teak tree that helped shield her from the sun. She wore an all-white pantsuit with a light pink scarf wrapped loosely around her neck. Her silver-gray hair was parted on the side and slicked back. A gold bracelet adorned her right wrist while the left sported a diamond-encrusted watch. Two of her fingers showed off jeweled rings with large, sparkly stones. She’d been enjoying Cambodian lotus tea with nom korng, a local donut, while perusing an expat newspaper.
“Ms. Black,” a woman’s voice called out. “Ms. Black.”
Black looked up and saw Bopha Ampor walking hurriedly toward her. She was the director of a local conservation and environmental protection NGO that supported wildlife sanctuaries in the province.
Black had taken an interest in the small organization awhile back and had come for a visit to meet with them and see firsthand the sort of work they were doing to protect the forested lands—most importantly, the elephants that lived there. Since she was a child, Black had always reserved a warm place in her heart for the gentle giants. When she later learned about poaching, not just with elephants but all animals, she vowed to do what she could to stop it.
“Good morning, Bopha,” Black said with a smile.
“Did you hear what happened?” the middle-aged woman asked, slightly out of breath.
“The infamous poacher Philippe Dufour has been caught.”
“Is that so? Now that is excellent news.”
“It is. He is personally responsible for all of the elephant poaching in this province for the last year.”
“The rangers finally caught up with him. Serves him right.”
“No, Ms. Black. The rangers didn’t capture him. We found him tied and gagged outside our offices this morning.” She pointed.
Black looked in that direction. “Is that so? And you have no idea who caught him and left him there?”
“None at all, but it doesn’t matter really; it’s a blessing. The rangers are in the process of taking him away now.”
“I wondered why their vehicles were here. I thought it was a routine check-in.”
Just then, Bopha noticed Black’s suitcase. “Are you leaving us already?”
“Yes, I’m afraid so. I have business to attend to back in the States. But I will say I very much enjoyed my stay here. I also wanted to tell you that your organization's efforts to protect the jungle and the elephants are impressive. So much that I have decided to make a sizeable donation to help.”
Black removed an envelope from her purse and handed it to Bopha. She opened the envelope, and her eyes nearly popped out of her head.
“Ms. Black. One hundred thousand dollars.” Tears welled in her eyes. “This is very generous of you. It will help tremendously. Thank you so much.” She quickly wiped her eyes with her hand.
“Over the week that I’ve been here, I’ve learned that you truly do care for the elephants. You deserve the much-needed resources to do your job, and I’m happy to help with that.”
Just then, a vehicle with tinted windows arrived.
“I believe that’s my ride,” Black said. She stood and grabbed the handle of her suitcase.
“Please, let me help you with that.”
Bopha reached for the handle and took it from Black.
“Ms. Black, what happened? You have a large scratch on your hand.”
“Nothing to worry about. It happened earlier in the morning while I took care of some last-minute things before leaving. I’ll be fine.”
Bopha walked Black to the car and gave her a big hug.
As the vehicle started to drive away, Black saw the rangers escorting a handcuffed man: Dufour. She rolled down her window and studied Dufour. He looked like he’d taken a beating and then some. Dufour peered into Black’s vehicle as it passed by. His face went white, as if he’d seen a ghost. Black’s face was expressionless as she rolled her window back up.
Mui returns for her third year at Confrere Preparatory Academy and discovers a dark secret about the assistant headmaster.
"This story has intrigue, suspense, and completely loveable characters." — ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader Review
Series: Mui Assassin #3
Ebook: 298 pages