Dark haired, darker eyed Alex is orphaned at the age of three. He is found beside the body of his single mother – after her death from a drug overdose – and placed in St Joseph’s Orphanage by the Children’s Services Department of the New South Wales Government. There he endures years of persecution and torment from Johnno and Gary, the Caretaker’s sons, and later by the Master of the Orphanage, Mr Proctor. Eventually Mr Proctor’s mistreatment is exposed and he is replaced by Mrs Horton. While she doesn’t personally participate in Alex’s abuse, she does nothing to end it.
At twelve years old, a chance meeting with a Patron of the Orphanage, Alicia St Clair, sees Alex’s fortunes take a dramatic change for the better. Alicia, well known for her philanthropy, decides to foster Alex. He is astounded at this turn of events as it has been relentlessly hammered into him he is such a hopeless case that no-one will ever want to take him in.
Consequently, Alex is very reticent at first when he meets Mr St Clair – Doug. But when he sees their daughter, Caitlin, his life takes an even greater turn, as he falls deeply and irrevocably in love with her. The freakish accidents that plague his life become a thing of the past, and he finally feels as though he has found his place in the world – until his world is altered again, beyond anything he could have ever imagined…
Caitlin St Clair
Vivacious, sapphire eyed, flaxen haired Caitlin, the only child of her doting parents, Alicia and Doug, has always longed for a sibling. When her mother brings Alex home, her excitement knows no bounds. At last she has a brother; a soul mate she can share all her dreams and hopes with. A brother she can turn to when her life hits inevitable pot-holes, and with whom she can laugh and share her deepest secrets.
Caitlin is a popular girl with a seemingly endless stream of boys vying for her attention. She is spirited and outgoing, but there is also a lot of her mother in her. She realises at once that Alex will need careful handling to bring him out of his shell, and is willing to do whatever it takes to help him.
Alicia St Clair
Philanthropist, mother, Patron of St Joseph’s Orphanage and moral crusader; Alicia can’t pass any person or creature in need and not try to do something to better their situation; especially in Alex’s case.
She is also a collector of Egyptian antiquities. Her interest in this begins when she inherits the priceless Scarlet Eye of Horus amulet and various lesser pieces, from her parents on their untimely death in a car crash.
Her eye for a genuine artefact leads her to amass a significant collection which catches the attention of the British museum in London. They approach her with a request to borrow her pieces for an exhibition honouring the god, Horus. Pieces are being sent by collectors from all over the world. She is thrilled, but little does she realise that soon afterwards the life she knows will be snatched away from her.
Doug St Clair
Entrepreneur, father, sports enthusiast and all around decent bloke; Doug is your typical bronzed Aussie. He loves his girls – Alicia and Caitlin – any outdoor activity, his job, and life in general. He is jovial, laid-back and eminently trustworthy.
There isn’t anything he won’t do for Alicia and Caitlin – as long as their safety isn’t compromised. When Alicia brings Alex home, it doesn’t take too much persuading on her part for him to give the boy a chance.
A strong anti-bullying proponent, Doug is especially keen to help Alex overcome his fears. He does everything he can to make the boy feel part of the family.
Meredith is Alicia’s sister. With very pale blonde curls and light blue eyes, Merry, as her friends call her, or ‘Pip’ as Alicia calls her, lives in the quaint Scottish Village of Gatehouse of Fleet in their old family home. Alicia moved to Sydney, Australia, when she married Doug. Merry has an almost pathological fear of flying, which she has to overcome when her sister and brother-in-law vanish. She achieves this with the help of her friend, Belinda Little.
It’s hard to tell how old Belinda really is; She has the smooth olive complexion and dark, exotic eyes of someone from the Middle East. She runs a small bookshop in Gatehouse of Fleet, having moved there several years ago. She also practices a kind of aromatherapy-cum-meditation using scented candles and an old black lantern, to help people solve their problems and fears. She is very popular in the village, and something of a local attraction. People come from far and near to book a session with her in the ‘Reading Room’.
A history professor, Cameron is skinny, energetic and enthusiastic about almost everything, especially his current favourite topic, the Standing Stones of Britain. He recruits Merry as his research assistant. Merry soon falls for his boyish charm, but Cameron seems oblivious, until his brother Bane arrives.
Aloof, enigmatic and with an air of superiority that gets Merry’s back up from their first meeting, Bane is a man on a mission. Nobody seems to know what that mission is, though he does confide some of the details to Belinda, an old friend he knows from his days working in Cairo.
He is not best pleased to be diverted from his course when Belinda asks for his help with Alex and Caitlin, but as he owes her for a past favour, he agrees – reluctantly – to help her.
Isis, Egyptian goddess; mother of Horus, wife of Osiris and sister to Set.
Set, The Egyptian god of chaos and night.
Horus, Egyptian sky god; ruled Lower Egypt initially, and then all of Egypt through the Pharaohs after Set’s banishment.
Aker, The Gatekeeper to the Underworld.
Aken, The Ferryman to the Underworld – and in this story – the brother of Aker.
Ra, Egyptian god of the sun, ruler of the Underworld – and in this story – father of the gods.
Anubis, Egyptian god who assists the dead ‘cross over’. Annubis is associated with mummification and other funereal procedures.