Double Helix
Biographical Information
Real NameNoel Matthews
AliasesDouble Helix, Bahir, Lilith, Etienne Pelletier
Wild Card TraitsMetamorphosis, teleportation
Social Information
Place of BirthEngland
CitizenshipBritish citizen
OccupationAssassin, government agent, stage magician
AffiliationsOrder of the Silver Helix, Caliphate as Bahir, the Committee as Lilith
RelativesJasper (father; deceased), unnamed mother, Niobe (wife), Jasper (son)
AlliesDrake Thomas
First AppearanceInside Straight
CreatorMelinda Snodgrass

Noel Matthews is a fictional character in the Wild Cards series of novels. Created by Melinda Snodgrass, he is one of the primary protagonists of the Tor books trilogy beginning with Inside Straight.


Matthews is a secret ace and internationally renowned stage magician. He was recruited by the Order of the Silver Helix, a British knighthood of wild carders, to act as an assassin. In this capacity he began to infiltrate the Caliphate, for whom he acted as an assassin in his guise as the Arab ace Bahir. Once he had been embedded with them for some time, he assassinated the Caliph, the Nur al-Allah. The assassination allowed Prince Siraj of Jordan, who was more sympathetic to the West and who, coincidentally, had been Matthews' roommate in Cambridge, to ascend to leadership of the Caliphate.

In the wake of the assassination, the United Nations had grabbed the opportunity to enlist aces, who had intervened in the resulting genocide rocking Egypt, with other aces and named the resulting task force the Committee Extraordinary Interventions. Not wanting interference with their own designs on the Middle East, the Silver Helix set up Noel in his alternate guise as Lilith to infiltrate and undermine the Committee from within. At the same time, while working for the Caliphate as Bahir, he came into conflict with Tom Weathers, the Radical, who was fighting for the rival nation the People's Paradise of Africa. As Noel Matthews, he encountered Niobe and soon took on a new personal mission helping her keep Drake Thomas safe from the various factions out to kill or control him.

Eventually, Noel's personae were exposed, and his disgust at the actions of the Silver Helix embittered him with them as well. He became a rogue agent, loyal only to Niobe and Drake, yet he still made amends those he had manipulated, siding with both Siraj and the Committee against the Radical and the PPA. His actions against the Radical had by this time turned them into mortal enemies, and the Radical had taken to burning entire cities to flush him out.

Noel created a new male avatar and began to build a professional relationship with Alicia Nshombo and her brother the President-for-Life Dr. Kitengi Nshombo. This allowed him to get close enough to mastermind a daring heist that saw the Radical turn his hatred on the PPA president. Noel then sided with a number of Committee members who were engaging in an unsanctioned action against the PPA which put him in position to bring together the mix of ace powers that could defeat the Radical for good.

Returning to Niobe, Noel promised her that he was finished with manipulating world powers and settled down to life with as a father to their new baby boy.

Years later, Noel feared that he would not be a good parent due to his violent past and left Niobe and their son. He founded a company, Aces in Hand, providing services such as demolition and transportation using aces. Employees include Rustbelt and Auntie Gravity. Eventually he realized that his family needed him and returned to Niobe and his son.

Wild Card TraitsEdit

Noel Matthews has two alternate forms, one male and one female. He has some degree of control over their appearance but in each case his alternate forms retain golden (male form) and silver (female form) eyes. In his normal form his wild card is limited to metamorphosis, but in his alternate forms Noel is a powerful teleporter, able to teleport around the globe instantly. He occasionally teleports to places he has never been before by studying a clear image from Google Maps. However, his male form can only teleport during the day and his female form can only teleport at night.


Matthews' normal form is that of a small and slight man. Unknown to most people, he is actually a hermaphrodite. His alternate male and female forms are both highly attractive, both possessing distinctive and striking eyes. The male has gold eyes and the female possesses silver eyes.

Male avatar

  • Bahir: Bahir, the Sword of Allah, is a compact and muscular man with tanned skin, a thick beard, and golden eyes. He usually affects Arabian dress and carries a scimitar.
  • Etienne Pelletier: Taller and slimmer than Bahir, Pelletier is clean shaven and keeps sunglasses on at all times to hide his golden eyes.

Female avatar

  • Lilith is a pale and lithe woman with silver eyes, and has long black hair falling to her waist.


Matthews affects a debonair and sophisticated aloofness in his public persona. This masks his instincts as a trained assassin as well as his ability to care for others, notably his wife Niobe.

Selected ReadingEdit

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