When her magazine suffers cyber-invasion, possibly related to an encounter with Quarry Hall and its enemies, reporter Jenni Doran and Sophie team up. They dig through the network, uncovering plots and traitors, and Sophie recognizes a program she designed when she was young and naive.
The man who possesses the program wants to possess Sophie, and is willing to destroy everyone she loves to accomplish that. Sophie and Joan have worked for years to dismantle his empire. The emotional shock and paralysis are as bad as the bullets that put Sophie in her wheelchair.
Where is her faith? Where is the security she has fought so long to win? As Sophie unravels the coding attacking the magazine, she faces the pain and fear of her past and the unpleasant fact that healing and freedom might mean facing her tormenter one more time.
"It suddenly strikes me, Sophie, that I don't say often enough how thankful I am that you're part of our family. If it weren't for you, your influence..." Carter shrugged. "Joan might still not be home, here, if you hadn't been working on her all those years when all I could do was pray. Even the Oracle has his limits."
"Yeah, well, Joan certainly stretched my limits sometimes. We kept each other alive and sane and fought each other's battles. There were a couple times I thought my nasty past was going to get both of us killed, just as sure as hers." She shuddered, flashing back to that moment when she fell, numb with the shock of that bullet in her back, men shouting and guns barking. Joan had come out of the darkness and threw her body across her, shielding her. Sophie never wanted to relive that moment, when her friend risked her life to shield her, and all she could think was that if Joan died, she was doomed for all eternity.
"Are you still..." Carter shrugged. "Searching? Not exactly looking over your shoulder, but watching for signs of anyone coming close to your trail?"
"Which trail?" She managed to smile, shaking off that brief trip into the moment that changed her life so drastically. "The real trail to the real me, or all the false trails with poisoned breadcrumbs Joan and I had so much fun creating?"
"The Oligarch can never be fully defeated by poisoned breadcrumbs, as you so poetically put it."
"No." She tipped her head to one side and fluttered her eyelashes. "But we can sure as shootin' give him some massive indigestion."