Meet Victor Sirin

I'm excited to announce that the second volume of my new graphic-novel trilogy Monte-Cristo arrives in bookstores tomorrow (March 22) in France. It's the story of Sam Castillo, an innocent young man unjustly accused and imprisoned for 17 years, who returns as mysterious mega-billionaire Victor Sirin to take his revenge on the three men who stole his youth.

In 2005, post-9/11 America (Book One), 24-year-old SAM CASTILLO has every reason to be happy—promoted to foreman of his company's Iraq reconstruction project, engaged to his high-school sweetheart ABBY—until he's framed as a terrorist and rendered to a “black site” prison an ocean away.

Three men put him there: Sam’s supervisor EDDIE DALGLEISH, who’s been skimming money in a boondoggle Sam’s promotion threatens to expose; FBI agent WALTER FARRELL, who makes a devil’s bargain to conceal his Army general father-in-law's corrupt dealings with military contractor Greendale; and Abby’s best friend ANDREW McCLANE, who betrays Sam to clear the way for his own courtship of Abby.

Over the next 15 years, cut off from the world, Sam forms a deep friendship with fellow detainee FARHAD—a brilliant, multi-lingual master of intrigue, who bequeaths to Sam the bank codes of his late Russian-oligarch employer's hidden fortune... and by his own death enables Sam’s escape.

In Book Two (our present day), Sam arrives in the U.S. with a new identity as mysterious mega-billionaire emigré VICTOR SIRIN, owner of the offshore shell MONTE-CRISTO CORPORATION. The three men who separated him from Abby and shattered his life have risen in the world. Dalgleish is a hedge fund billionaire, McClane is a Congressman running for governor, and Farrell is U.S. Deputy Attorney General. Abby, now a public defender, is married to McClane with two children. They have no idea what's coming.

Victor skillfully plays on his enemies’ greed and ambition, using his wealth to insinuate himself into their world of power and privilege while he methodically lays the groundwork of an elaborate plot that he hopes will destroy them. Only young FBI agent DANICA JORJEVIC suspects him. Convinced that Victor’s elegant international façade masks a criminal identity, she lobbies her boss to investigate him. Victor appreciates Danica’s integrity and determination, even as he frustrates her attempts to learn the truth. Their ensuing battle of wits will test Danica's trust in the legal justice system she's sworn to uphold... and reawaken Victor’s frozen heart.

My collaborator, the supremely talented Italian illustrator Mario Alberti, has done incredible work bringing Sam, Victor, Abby, Danica, and their rich universe to life. I love these characters, and hope you will too. You can check out the first 10 pages of both volumes online here, and in French comic book stores starting tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my 30-years-ago journal continues this week on this website's Library page. On 22 March 1993, I was a 28-year-old American in Paris, discovering the world of European comics for the first time. Hugo Pratt, Jacques Tardi, and Enki Bilal (along with Alexandre Dumas) became key inspirations as I researched and developed the story for my next game, The Last Express. Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame was in its final weeks of playtesting and debugging.

I couldn't have dreamt then that 30 years later, I'd be back in France and once again immersed in comics, this time not just as a reader, but as an author. I hope fans of Prince of Persia, The Last Express and my other games will join me in rooting for Sam Castillo and Danica Jorjevic as they fight for justice, each in their way, against enemies so powerful that they seem untouchable. Monte-Cristo is my first adventure story set not in a historical or fantastic past, but in our own world of today. I can’t wait for you to discover it.