In the weeks leading up to the release of my new novel Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, I'll be making a series of posts to serve as an extended introduction to the book — its origins, its influences, its themes, its setting and characters. Enjoy.
Last time I posted in this series, I introduced a few of the main characters - Aki, the protagonist; Börte, his wife and Yannick Seyrig, the godfather of the crime family (for lack of a better term) they were welcomed into. Now some notes about the rest of the cast:
Jarboe Seyrig: Daughter of the scion for the Seyrig family and long-range Split user, she takes control when her father falls unexpectedly into a coma. From what Aki and Börte see, she's nowhere nearly the visionary or protector her father was — she only seems interested in keeping the wheels turning and keeping their pockets lined. But she has other plans, far bigger ones that might not include any of them.
Shura: Jarboe's right-hand man and lover, a short-range Split user whose power complements his tastes for kicking butt and breaking heads. If there's one soft spot in his world, it's for Jarboe, and when she unveils new plans of her own, he's in with them all the way to the end. Although he might not be if he knew what it would all cost him.
Godfrey Delaney: In another life, Godfrey's long-range Split (originally used to bilk easy money from people looking for tarot and palm readings) would have been something the Seyrig family would have used to protect and empower itself. Then Jarboe assumed power over the family, and now Godfrey is a glorified bartender ... but he's not about to wait for someone to offer him something better. He's going to go out and make it himself.
Gavin: A rogue Split user the Seyrig family hauls in from off the street, a teenager with no future but tons of raw short-range talent. The last thing he wanted to do was get caught in the middle of a tug-of-war over who in the family gets to mentor (read: control) him, but the Seyrigs aren't the only party interested in him either. And who's to say he doesn't have his own ideas?
Yvain Seyrig: Yannick's son and Jarboe's "baby brother", a long-range Split user whose focus on the group's finances made him into their bagman. Tired of living in the shadow of his older sister (and under a green eyeshade), he and Lalla decide to strike out on their own — only to find out even bigger plans are already lying in wait for them.
Lalla: A short-range Split user, Yvain's beloved and also his bodyguard. Despite being nearly blind, she can use the Split to compensate for it — although "compensate" doesn't mean "replace". Yvain's all she's got left in this world, now that they've left the family behind; it's up to her if what they encounter in its wake can compensate for it. Let alone replace it.
Nowy: A Split user Godfrey has been sheltering privately on his own, out of sight of the rest of the family. Nowy sporting a variety of the Split no one else has seen before — at least not yet. Between the two of them, they've been putting together the rudiments of a new design for life they can share with others — and ways to look out for other Splits like Nowy's that might only be the tip of what's possible.
Terry Chandler: Head of a Silicon Valley outfit that delivers do-it-yourself digital medicine to the masses, Terry has something to offer Jarboe as part of her ambitions, something he hopes to make into a mutual project. At least for now.
One thing that occurred to me when compiling all this is how I have an affinity for fairly large casts of characters, as a way to mirror or exemplify all sorts of different aspects of the story. But at the end of the day I know a story has to be about one person at the center of it. That person is going to be our psychopomp through the story's underworld, leading himself and us alike out into the light. But they will need a kind of company that by its very existence comments on what the rest of the story is about too.
In the next installment of this series, I'll break out some of the themes it touches on, and how I chose to treat them.