Thursday, April 9, 2015

Character Spotlight: Sophia del Morte

I am honored to have a Character Spotlight from the amazing author Philippa Ballantine, celebrating the release of The Diamond Conspiracy. I've shared my thoughts on the book last week, so if you haven't read my review I do hope you stop by to check it out. The character Pip talks about to day is one I have enjoyed reading more and more of this character as the series has grown with each book. So, without further ado, please welcome Pip Ballantine to the blog to share a special (and dangerous) character with you.

Spotlight on Sophia del Morte from the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series

Sophia is a character, much like Puck in my book Chasing the Bard. Both of them were only meant to be side characters, small parts in the main story. However both of them soon developed into larger, and more vibrant characters.

Yes, they sort of took over.

Rather than be bothered by that, both Tee Morris and I have embraced Sophia. She is a character, that goes anywhere, does anything, and is totally unapologetic about it.

Sophia is our Italian assassin, who was originally a nice foil for Eliza. In fact both of them could be sisters. Sophia is a dark haired beauty, who travels the world on nefarious business. Her particular skillset of seduction and lethality has gotten her far in the world. Despite all this she does have her own set of morals, and will never kill children.

Yet, even among her family of trained killers, she is very skilled. However, as the series of books have progressed, there have been changes in Sophia. She finds herself working with people with different ethics, and she is also seeing the way the evil people around her operate.

There are big changes around the corner for our assassin, and ones we hope to explore in further books, once we are done with the story of Wellington and Eliza.

Here's just a little sampling of Sophia from the Diamond Conspiracy.

Sophia took her breath, still keeping her blade in reach as the other hand checked the time. She was two minutes early. The weapon should have given her a comfort of some kind, but instinct dismissed any as a false reassurance. That plunged her insides into a hard chill, a sensation she was not familiar with.

Blackfriars Bridge loomed before her out of the fog, its gilding gleaming only slightly. She stood there and took in a long, deep breath, tasting the bitterness of the Thames in her mouth. Her fears, she ascertained as minute waves lapped against the viaduct’s foundation, were unfounded but merely tested her nerves. She was once a woman to be feared, not the one cowering as would a hound beaten to heel. Once far and away from the Maestro, Sophia would discover that woman again. This alliance would serve her in so many ways; and as she had done before, once her commitments were met, Sophia would return home. Perhaps reaching beyond the borders of her beloved Italy had been too ambitious of a notion. Some time in familiar villas would be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Another shadow emerged from the pitch black underneath Blackfriars. His face was concealed by the shadow of his bowler’s brim, but there was just enough touches of silver—a lapel pin, the head of his walking stick, and the cravat just visible between the lapels of his long, black coat—that Sophia recognised straight away as her saviour’s signature fashion. Straightening to her full height, she widened her stride and devoured the distance between them.

“Buonasera, Sigñora,” he spoke, his voice like velvet against such hard, terrible surroundings.

Upon emerging into the dim light from lamps of the streets overhead, Sophia felt the air around her chill ever so slightly. She recalled the last time she felt this way was upon seeing the Maestro in his dishevelled, manic state, his mind warring between the real, the engineered, and the perceived. She still did not care for that memory as she had thought she knew all forms of fear, but the Maestro—as she had come to learn under his service—had far more to teach her of the darker corners of the human psyche.

She received the same feeling from this man. Her instincts were all in the most heightened of states, but he appeared quite normal in every outward respect. He appeared well groomed, a fine carriage, and confident. Boundless confidence in his demeanour, a quality that usually Sophia found appealing in certain respects.

Not on this one.

“Sigñora, it has been too long.”

If you have enjoyed reading Sophia del Morte and would like more, you could check out the Christmas Special short story (novella) that Pip and Tee have written for a Christmas with Sophia.
   You can listen at Tales from the Archives
   or You can pick up the novella to read at Amazon: A Christmas to Die For

The Diamond Conspiracy
By: Philippa Ballantine & Tee Morris
For years, the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has enjoyed the favor of Her Majesty the Queen. But even the oldest loyalties can turn in a moment…

Having narrowly escaped the electrifying machinations of Thomas Edison, Books and Braun are looking forward to a relaxing and possibly romantic voyage home. But when Braun’s emergency signal goes off, all thoughts of recreation vanish. Braun’s street-wise team of child informants, the Ministry Seven, is in grave peril, and Books and Braun must return to England immediately.

But when the intrepid agents finally arrive in London, the situation is even more dire than they imagined. The Ministry has been disavowed, and the Department of Imperial Inconveniences has been called in to decommission its agents in a most deadly fashion. The plan reeks of the Maestro’s dastardly scheming. Only, this time, he has a dangerous new ally—a duplicitous doctor whose pernicious poisons have infected the highest levels of society, reaching even the Queen herself...

Pick up the latest Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novel:
The Diamond Conspiracy

If you need the previous two novels:


  1. Interesting. I am glad she might see the evil peeps around her, even if she is dark too

    1. Blodeuedd, oh yeah. She's dark, but she has her own set of morals that some of the evil don't live by. It's cool. And she's such a neat character. :)

  2. I'm in the middle of this one. I can't wait to see what happens. I was glad they brought in Sophia more into this book.

    1. Oh Melissa (B&T) Hope you loved it. I was thrilled to see Sophia more here. :)

  3. Replies
    1. Jennifer Bielman, she is an awesome character that has come to the surface in this series. Hope you get to check her out. :)


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