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Monday, 1 June 2015

'Behind The Text’ 21 Villains

Behind The Text’ Part 21_Villains

‘That One May Smile And Smile And Be A Villain.’ (Shakespeare: ‘Hamlet’)


In much of the 'Jonas Forbes Saga' the opposition might be termed ‘competition’ – and that includes various security Services (e.g. KGB, Mossad and Mukhabarat). Those styled ‘femmes fatales’ elsewhere may illustrate the above heading but the three villains here most certainly do not.
James Bonus (aka János Beneŝ) in ‘Dare Call It Treason’’(Book 2 of the series)  is an employee who strives to excess. He surely has a massive chip on his shoulder because of his immigrant status and consequent(?) failure to make his mark legitimately. Does he enjoy his work? Certainly, note he never kills by treachery but face to face. Does he kill for money? Mainly, that’s why he disposes of Michael Stevens & Serge Petrovsky. But he also kills for his own security (Tom Reynolds & a failed attempt on Jonas). Most interestingly he murders Dmitry Komovsky (and misses his chance with Ivan Alekseev) because he feels cheated and betrayed. So the first motive is ‘professional’ but the last is the emotional outpouring of an amateur. His gang prove both ill-assorted and ineffective, revealing a poor judge of character – also true of his dealings with the Russians. One murder, that of Natasha Rykov, is hard to explain. Did he fear her exposure of the plot or of his gang? A better motivation appears to be just pure spite against Jonas who was upsetting his schemes.
Plato (aka John Stewart Peel) appears in ‘And Death Will Have His day’,  (Book 11), Plato kills to fund his academic studies into Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’. He’s ruthless, careful and crafty – feared rather than respected by his ‘associates’. He works alone, because he trusts nobody; he tortures Paul Taillard, because he betrays him; and he’s used to decoy Jonas Forbes because the gang fear and loathe him. The gang mock him (BEHIND his back) because they neither can understand nor hope to match him. Jonas is impressed when he explores Plato’s flat – the vast number of books (by Descartes, Hobbes etc.), his dedication to neatness, cleanliness and effeteness. He’s the professional ‘par excellence’ and it’s so fitting for him to die in Kings College, London. I’m still wondering what his academic masterpiece would have looked like.
Shaidan appears in ‘So Few Come Out’ (Book 15 ). Put very simply the effect of the Biafran War is to drive him insane, so I won’t give his proper name because the real man, on the verge of recovery, is so shocked at what he’d become he turns his back on any hope and, in effect, commits suicide trying to save a follower. He dominates his military unit & even his C-in-C President Chukwuemeka Ojukwu by his physique, his military ability but mostly by a reputation for ruthless cruelty. From butchering an entire village to selling women into slavery to murdering helpless prisoners there is no limit to his atrocities. When Biafra surrenders Shaidan fights on, fuelled by hate and determined to escape the rage tearing at his vitals by death. Neither of his corporals, Iheannacho or Eze understand him – the former obeys through fear, the latter through habitual loyalty. His fiancée, Nneka Eze, would never have understood. And yet, in the end, Jonas is prepared to lie for him and to honour his obscurity.
Bob Hyslop

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