Sunday, 17 June 2012

Robert Goddard's Harry Barnett: Quite A Character

It will hopefully not be too long before my second novel is published, a legal and political suspense titled Sackcloth, Ashes & Penance, when some of the main characters from Hatred, Ridicule & Contempt will feature once more.

I am reminded of how Robert Goddard, one of my all time favourite authors, made such a success of a lead character in two follow ups. When Harry Barnett – “a middle aged failure, leading a shabby existence in the shadow of a past disgrace” - first saw the light of day in Into The Blue, his eventual triumph over the rotten hand that fate appeared to have dealt him was masterful in his own right. Then came Out Of The Sun and his discovery of David, the son he never knew he had, and the battle against the conspiracy and cover up surrounding David’s purported suicide attempt. And in Never Go Back, just when Harry might have deserved an uneventful retirement in Canada, he finds himself persuaded into joining an RAF reunion in Scotland with a hidden agenda. Quite a major one. Overall, a highly enjoyable (if perhaps accidental) trilogy where it is entirely natural to appreciate Harry's underlying virtues.

So when my follow up novel emerges, will any of my own recurring characters be seen to have taken inspiration from Harry Barnett’s endearing ability to survive all of the predicaments that descend so undeservingly upon him? Perhaps indirectly. Let’s just say for now that it’s not always necessary or desirable to take things lying down, or choose a quiet life, or draw a line and move on.

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