The Merkin Chronicles trace the early life of Francis Urquhart Merkin: Francis to her friends, FU to her business associates and Fanny to her intimates.
Francis is the result of a carefully managed genetic program managed by the Guild, an ancient, secretive, global trading network.
She represents a new breed of woman for the Guild. She has inherited the Assassin strain, which allows her to kill without conscience and the Venus strain, which endows her with extraordinary sexual powers. For the Guild, it is a rare and fortuitous combination.
Her mother, Elizabeth, was a concert cellist. As a result, Frances had been exposed to the entire cello repertoire before she was born and grew to be an accomplished concert cellist in her own right. When she died just after Francis was born, Elizabeth bequeathed to Francis not only her musical talents but also a Stradivarius cello, the Castlebarco.
During her early childhood, Frances receives benefits of the Guild’s advanced training techniques. Most powerful of these is embedding a small chip in her brain to enable the downloading of neural patterns that can be activated later in life. These include muscle memories of many world-class athletes and martial arts experts. It also includes the patterns of most European languages as well as a select number of Asian languages. Francis is taught how to activate these patterns when she requires them.
While at a state primary school, Francis met Manu and Lenny, two tough Maori kids, who grew up to be her lifelong guardian angels. She also receives an education that only the resources of the Guild could provide. When she shows advanced talents in the martial arts, Francis is sent to study with the legendary Sensi Kano. He recognises in Francis a capability far exceeding his own.
While at the exclusive girls’ school, St Trinians, Francis meets the exotically beautiful Madeline Brown, with whom she forms a lifelong lesbian relationship. As a result of her training with Sensi Kano and with the muscle memories download during childhood, Francis is able to achieve high levels of skill in most sports. She uses this in joining Madeline in the St Trinians tennis doubles. With Francis’ 100kmph service, they coast to easy, but unpopular, victory.
She also meets Roger Walker, the captain of the school’s athletics team. A brief and torrid sexual encounter in the changing rooms introduces Francis to Performance Enhancing Sex. At training that night, she runs 52.4 seconds for 400m taking four seconds off her previous Personal Best time. Roger runs a Personal Worst.
After completing their undergraduate degrees in Archaeology and Psychology, Frances and Madeline go to Mexico. Here Francis undergoes a rigourous training in guerrilla warfare. She also begins to understand her role in the Guild.
Francis joins her father as a member of the Guild an organization with vast economic power and influence which exceeds that of many sovereign states.
Back in Melbourne, Francis’ task is to infiltrate Australia’s cocaine import and distribution networks and begin substituting the Guild’s synthetic product, Pseudocaine, into them.
This involves eliminating or neutralising many of the major players in the local cocaine distribution business.
Ultimately, the Guild’s plan is vast in scale and elegant in simplicity. It involves collaboration with international governments to eliminate the sale of illegal cocaine and to substitute the Guild’s synthetic substitute, Pseudocaine, into legal pharmaceutical frameworks. This will reap untold profits for the Guild.
Francis is the key to the success of this plan.