My Magnificent Seven by J Vincent

In my Honour series--Napoleonic spy-mystery-romances--I have what I think of as my Magnificent Seven. The movie by that name starred Yul Brenner in 1960. There was this scene of the seven men reining to a halt atop a rise as shown on the dvd cover on the left. Instead of cowboys imagine five English cavalry officers from the 15th Light Dragoons during the Napoleonic wars, specifically the Peninsular War (war in Portugal and Spain). Add two English spies--a serious young Englishman and a young French émigré who pretends to be a fop (an effeminate fribble; a name borrowed from a celebrated character of that kind, in the play Miss in her Teens (1746) by David Garrick and you have my seven. Just like the men who made up the Magnificent Seven my heroes have a variety of character flaws and strengths.

Take Major Quentin Bellaport from the first book, Honour’s Debt. He’s a fairly ordinary man who quarreled with his father as a young man, stormed off to join a regiment and has never made peace. Not that he hasn’t tried. In the stubbornness department the apple didn’t fall far from the tree as they say. His father has been recalcitrant when it comes to letting by-gones-be bygones. Quentin has a strong sense of honor which he follows despite inconvenience and obstacles. He’s trustworthy, courageous, and determined to repay a nonmonetarya debt. His main flaw is an ability to see a problem from another’s point of view. Fortunately for him, the heroine in Debt is more than ready to teach that.

In book two, Honour’s Choice you’ll find the serious young Englishman. Hadleigh Tarrant, who orphaned as a child was raised by his uncle, the Earl of Tarrant. Interested in beetles, Hadleigh collects and studies them. The more easy going emigré and fellow orphan also raised by the Tretains, André Ribeymon (the pretend fop), convinces Hadleigh to join him in becoming a government agent. Captured, Hadleigh is tortured but reveals nothing. He is near death when discovered by the heroine of Choice. Recovering, Hadleigh becomes depressed, turns to alcohol as a buffer but then realizing he is in love fights his way to sobriety and the decision to pursue his love. That she is eight years older, a bit of a dowd, and stubbornly resistant to his courting does not deter Hadleigh. He gives up believing it best for her until André hints she is in danger.

In book three, Honour’s Compromise you’ll find Lieutenant James Vincouer. A young man, brash and bold, he is also courageous and willing to give his life for his friends during the dangerous retreat through Spanish mountains in the dead of winter when the English army is pursued by a force five times larger led by Napoleon. He is almost captured but saved by Spanish guerillas and begins sending intelligence reports to the commander of the English army in Spain which is led by the future Duke of Wellington. Beneath his bravado Jamey hides a broken heart. He of course would disagree with that assessment. Hasn’t he after all given the woman who broke his heart the sobriquet of The Glacier? Aren’t the battle royals they have proof there is no love lost between them? If he has gone out of his way to rescue her, it is only because he is a gentleman, he protests. Jamey doth protest too much but he proves remarkably stubborn in admitting the truth of the matter until Cecilia faces extreme danger.

Captain Lucian Merristorm is a regency bad boy. He is known for drinking, wenching, and galloping into battle with no regard for death. Most do not realize it is what he desperately seeks.

Major Lord Blake Danbury, youngest son of a duke. He is besieged by ennui—extreme boredom—and cannot be troubled to be bothered by anyone or anything. Ordered by Wellington to escort a young French lad to England he has no idea how far from lethargic detachment he will come before he discovers the lad is a lady.

And what of young naïve Lieutenant Samuel Goodchurch who can be taken in by one and all and goes through life quoting from the Bible? Molded, hardened, and scarred by the battles in Spain will he retain the gentleness, the kindness that first guided others to protect him?

Seven very different men who all share an underlying goodness even when they don’t realize it. Some are more flawed than others; some have longer journeys to travel to the truth of whom they are and what they hold most dear. All share a love of country, the desire to protect the women they love, and a willingness to go to any extent, accept any hardship to do so. Are their flaws more important than their strengths? What characteristic do you consider the most important in your heroes?


Reese Mobley said...

You heroes sound equally interesting and intriguing and all so very different. Which do you enjoy the most, writing the female or male viewpoint?

Joan Vincent said...

I've never thought about that. I don't think I enjoy one more than the other. It really depends on the character irregardless of sex. Female must be easier though except for girlie girls. I was more a tomboy than anything and grew up with more a male outlook than a girl's.

Melissa Robbins said...

I've got that theme song stuck in my head and what an image of seven Regency guys on horseback. I love stories with an ensemble of different characters. Pick your hero.

Starla Kaye said...

I enjoyed learning about your various heroes, thanks for sharing them.