04 April, 2012

D is for Dubric

Ahh, Dubric. The imaginary guy who both enhanced and complicated my life.

Not exactly sure what I should say about him, facts? Secrets? Where he came from? 

Let's start with a few basics.

For those who don't regularly read this blog, Dubric Byerly is the main character of my series, The Dubric Byerly Mysteries, published by Bantam Books (more information on my Books and Such page). Dubric was born on the 6th day of eleven moon, 2195, and is 68 summers old in all three published novels (they take place in the first half of 2264). Yeah, you read that right, 2264. But it's not earth, okay, it's a completely different place with its own timeline. Contrary to rumor, Dubric's world isn't medieval, it's post apocalyptic. Yup. Post apocalyptic. Only, in his world, the collapse happened near the end of the industrial revolution. The mages seized power and, centuries later, Dubric was among those who fought to restore reason. In his nation of Lagiern, at least.

Sounds rather patriotic, doesn't it? Being a leader in a revolution to assert the dominance of Reason over Magic. So is Dubric a revolutionary? Sort of. Of all of the leaders during the Great War, he was, in a lot of ways, the least reactionary. Yes, he knew they needed to stop the mages and worked quite hard to pursue that goal, but he was much more of a philosopher than a firebrand. His future wife, on the other hand, was quite vocal in her opinions, which made her a target and, ultimately, got her killed.

Only then, after Oriana died, did Dubric become the opinionated fellow my readers know and love.

I have to be honest here, and please forgive me, but I don't like Dubric. I've never liked him - I generally refer to him as 'that ass'. I think he's a great, multi-dimensional character, and he's certainly been strong enough to carry several novels, but he's not someone I'd want to hang out with. He's not a particularly 'nice guy'. Yes, he does 'good' things, like tracking murderers and standing up for the poor, but his core principles are generally self serving, or at least serve his vision of the greater goals and purpose he has set in his mind.

In Valley of the Soul, Sarea tells Lars, "I don't trust Dubric," she hissed. "He's never once, in all these summers, considered how things affect our family, our girls, our life. Nothing is more important than the damned job."

I consider that a true statement. Dubric doesn't care about how his actions impact others; only the end result matters. He claims to care a great deal about how things he disagrees with harm the populace, but it becomes much less of a consideration when his own ideals clash with other's needs.

I'm not saying he's a horrible despot. He's not. He isn't greedy or cruel or prone to subjugating innocents to his wild whims. He would, however, sacrifice one of his men if it would help him achieve his own goals. Others are like pieces on a game board to him. Tools, to be utilized.

Also, in Valley, Lars tells him, "...As long as I've worked for you, whenever you talk about the war you mention the boys that died under your command. Fourteen-, fifteen-summers-old boys. I'm one of them, sir, and it's quite possible that I'll die while serving you. I know that, and I can face that. But what of my life? What life, what joy have I ever had?"

If you haven't read the books, the dialog above is part of a scene where Lars (a teenage boy and member of Dubric's staff) is asking Dubric to honor a promise to give the kid a previously-scheduled day off to attend a faire with his girlfriend, Jess. Dubric is resistant because his own goals of finding a mage conflict with Lars's more personal goal of getting a kiss. Lars ultimately wins the debate and makes Dubric honor his promise, but not without an implied threat that he'd quit the job before missing his date. I believe that Dubric relents, not because of honoring the promise to let the boy have a specific day off, but because, at that time, Lars is a vital piece in the implementing of Dubric's overall plan.

Dubric consistently puts his broad goals ahead of personal issues, even his own, and it's become a long running theme in the story of his life.


Nikki said...

Great post. I just dropped by from the A - Z but enjoyed learning all about Dubric :)

Nikki – inspire nordic

Jean said...

That is one leadership style considered vitally important in some circles. It's not one I like or hope to emulate, but I know it's important in some circumstances.

Erin M. Hartshorn said...

I have to admit I've never liked Dubric much, either. Excellent writing, but not someone I could ever consider a friend.