Spring Special Reminder & Favourite Character List

Abigail and I are offering a spring sale on our books The Shadow Things and The Soldier's Cross, from now until April 30. The books will be available for $20 (combined, not each), including shipping, and will also be autographed; if you would like a specific note in each, post a comment with the desired inscription, or email Abigail (jeanne@squeakycleanreviews.com) or me (sprigofbroom293@gmail.com). If you enjoy the books, we would love it if you posted your thoughts in an Amazon review!

The Shadow Things:

The Legions have left the province of Britain and the Western Roman Empire has dissolved into chaos. With the world plunged into darkness, paganism and superstition are as rampant as ever. In the Down country of southern Britain, young Indi has grown up knowing nothing more than his gods of horses and thunder; so when a man from across the sea comes preaching a single God slain on a cross, Indi must choose between his gods or the one God and face the consequences of his decision.

The Soldier's Cross:

A.D. 1415 - Fiona's world is a carefully built castle in the air, made up of the fancies, wishes, and memories of her childhood. It begins to crumble as she watches her brother march away to join in the English invasion of France. It falls to pieces when he is brought home dead.

Robbed of the one dearest to her and alone in the world, Fiona turns to her brother's silver cross in search of the peace he said it would bring. But when she finds it missing, she swears she will have it and sets out on a journey across the Channel and war-ravaged France to regain it and find the peace it carries.

Multiple Copies

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By way of entertainment, to myself and others, I drew up a list of my thirty favourite fictional characters, sticking strictly to literature and inserting none of my own. These are figures whom I admire, who amuse me, who have influenced me, who have stuck with me through the monstrous plethora of books I have read and the vast pantheon of characters I have met. Let me introduce you to my friends!

1. Beowulf: One of the toughest guys in legend, and the most God-fearing.

2. Wiglaf: Beowulf’s loyal young cousin, the only man who stuck with him to the end.

3. Tiberius Lucius Justinianus: Shy and steadfast, Justin is the most darling of unlikely heroes. But don’t tell him I said so.

4. Marcellus Flavius Aquila: A comet-tail hero, a natural leader, frank, open, self-assured…and Roman.

5. Doctor Elwin Ransom: I have difficulty remembering Ransom is a university fellow in light of the wealth of his mind, his actions, his occasional humour, and his mystery. He is so much more than a mere Englishman.

6. Puck: Beneath his jovial persona of your magical creature is a seriously enchanting pulse worthy of Merlin.

7. Eltrap Meridon: A loyal friend, a fantastic fighter, and he’s ginger. Enough said.

8. North Wind: I don’t have a lot to say about North Wind, because she’s not an easy character to know. Nevertheless, her motherly, wild, shape-shifting mystery lends her enough charm to make her one of my favourites.

9. Bjorn Bjornson: I like the quiet, potent, clairvoyant types, the ones whose battles are all fought within and never sung about.

10. Bagheera: Halfway up the hill [Mowgli] met Bagheera with the morning dew shining like moonstones on his coat. The sleek black lord of the jungle, wise and mysterious Bagheera, the shadowy genius of Mowgli’s story…how could I not love him?

11. Cottia: I relate to Cottia in a lot of ways, in her fierceness, in her smallness, in her fear of being caged and cramped and squeezed into a modern mould which harkens of none of her wild earthy ties.

12. Aslan: This character has always brought to the forefront of my awareness the knowledge that God’s splendour and majesty, his loving-kindness, his justice and his mercy is deeper and more wild than I could ever imagine.

13. Puddleglum: Optimistic though dour, Puddleglum is the bedrock of The Silver Chair.

14. Tirian: Despite his rashness, despite the overwhelming odds of defeat, the last king of Narnia remains faithful to the true Aslan to the end—and beyond.

15. Jewel: You can’t have Tirian without Jewel. As with electrum, Jewel is the silver to Tirian’s gold.

16. Jill Pole: While I can’t say I necessarily share personality traits with Jill, I’ve always related to her and she has always had a special place in my heart. And I’ve always wanted to know how to shoot a bow.

17. Tyr: I’ve always liked the one-handed holm-ganging god, and the fact that he got off rather lightly in Loki’s taunting.

18. Bilbo Baggins: Probably your most unlikely hero of all time, this diminutive character grows to a shining light in Tolkien’s story and quite possibly tops the hero on whose story his is styled.

19. Eowyn: Tolkien’s tribute to the proud ancient Norse woman, Eowyn’s backbone and tender heart are fantastic to read about.

20. Jonas Faulkner: Despite his mysterious past and scars, Jonas presents to the world a dashing, smiling image, a touch of seriousness coupled with a gushing child-like attitude. And I have a thing for skinny, convivial Victorian gentlemen.

21. Screwtape: This most logical if not always valid villain has intrigued me for years. His attitude of a schoolmaster (occasionally longing to give his pupil a good shaking)—blunt and reasonable—cuts through the tangled web of ethical conundrums to get at the heart of the wickedness that plagues us from day to day.

22. Aunt Honoria: As good as a man with a penchant for makeup. Aunt Honoria’s worth is as hard to pinpoint as a single beam is on the face of the sun: she is permeated with stalwart nature and a tender if practical disposition.

23. Lady Talarrie: Resourceful, loving, magical, a woman for all seasons… I am not sure I have met a mother in a story to match this one.

24. Elizabeth Bennet: Elfin, intelligent, sure of her own mind to the point of being prejudiced, I can see a lot of myself in this famous heroine (some of the good bits and a lot of the bad). Her wit and charm filled me with endless delight as I read her story.

25. Emma Woodhouse: Spoiled but well-meaning, precocious and naïve, as with Elizabeth Bennent, Emma and I share an alarming amount of traits.

26. Mr Darcy: The pride of Pride and Prejudice. Mr Darcy cuts a straight-laced, unforgiving figure on the Georgian scene. He gives the motionless but masculine image of Greco-Roman statuary a potent life (and a better wardrobe) which I find fantastic.

27. Mr Knightley: A gentleman among gentlemen, I have the good fortune of knowing a man much like Mr Knightley: witty, intelligent, tender-hearted, a stalwart figure in the midst of a whirling, silly world.

28. Lena: Lena’s tremendous physical power and presence is only half of why I love her. Beneath her hideous exterior beats a loving and repentant heart. And rushing out with all the noise of a shadow to bite a bad guy’s leg in two is kind of awesome.

29. Gummy: It came to my attention after another reading of The Gammage Cup that Gummy, albeit much more jolly, is a lot like my own dearly beloved character of my own invention. Sunny-hearted with a backbone of iron, that’s Gummy. Couldn’t do without him.

30. Loki: Eh, not the most endearing character, but he makes the sort of villain you can really hate: shake-you-down-to-the-roots-of-your-soul hate. For some reason I’ve always liked that smooth, insidious, conniving villain. He’s taught me a thing or two, Loki has. But he’s a little tied up right now.

There they are! There are many others who would have liked to have made it on the list, and who almost made it on the list, but we must be exclusive or there is no meaning to the word 'favourite.' How about you? Who are your favourite characters?

4 ripostes:

  1. I think perhaps Mr John Knightley has to go on my list. He is utterly hilarious.

    "You refer to letters of business, though, sir, whereas mine are letters of friendship."

    "I have always thought they were rather the worst of the two. Business may bring one money, but friendship rarely ever does."


    I especially like Justin because he's like my Justin. Flavius is awesome (and has red hair! Oh wait, that's redundant: awesome = red hair). Tyr, apart from being a pagan god, is a great hero ("Room for his shadow on the grass - let it pass! To the left and the right stand clear. This is the buyer of the blade - be afraid! This is the great god Tyr!"). I still need to read The Shield Ring... Aunt Honoria is epic. Bilbo is great (although I'm absurdly fond of Thorin, myself). I always preferred Arwen to Eowyn, but I need to reread those books.

    Mm, yay...!

  2. Oh, you cruel!

    I can't make up a list of only thirty characters. I hate favorites lists because there are always so many beautiful people who must be left out, and I so hate hurting their feelings, and even if I only count literature there's far, far too many...

    I'm not surprised at any of your people, though, except for maybe Lena: perhaps it's just that I don't remember her all that well, but she always vaguely frightened me. (Of course, she wasn't safe, but she was good underneath...that would explain why she's on your Best Beloveds List, and I ought to read her story again.)

    And I really must meet this version of Puck, especially since you said he reminded you of my Merry. So much goodness there is in the world, and so little time to savour it!

  3. *applauds Marcus Aquila and Cottia*

    *looks for Esca on the list*

    Since you asked, Esca holds a very... hm... special place with me ;)

    As well, I very much love Horatio Hornblower, and Stephen Maturin, NIcholas Nickleby and Smike: poor, dear, dear Smike. *starts to sob*.... sorry. I really, really love Smike.

    Really enjoyed the post. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Abby!

    As I was telling my brother-in-law, there are many characters whom I could have put in my list, but if I put everyone in whom I remotely enjoy or look up to, then the list would have lost its exclusive meaning. I would have liked to have brought along characters like Esca, but he had to stay at home.

    Do you enjoy Napoleonic naval yarns? My sister Abigail on Scribbles and Inkstains is in the process of writing a novel on the First Barbary War. The poor thing is a problem child, but if you are interested, and wheedle and cajole, you might prompt her to post an excerpt or two on her blog. Meanwhile, here's the poem which inspired her:

    I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
    And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
    And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

    I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
    Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
    And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
    And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

    I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
    To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
    And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
    And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
    Sea-Fever by John Masefield