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Desert Coyote Productions publishing blog

Characters in Action: The Guardsman

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So now that I've vented over the frustrations of promoting my book, let me get to the actual business of promoting it ... starting with a look at all of the novel's characters: who they are, what they do, how they go about their business, what they drink for fun, so on and so forth.

This time around, it's the Guardsman.

The Guardsman is the name of a paladin knight, linked to a mystic long Sword (which is usually capitalized when it's referred to), which has been passed down a single bloodline since Biblical times. Men (and some women) of the Sharpe bloodline have wielded the Sword and borne its legacy upon them into countless wars and conflicts.

At the start of The Advance Guard, we're introduced to its newest bearer, 9 year old Kenny Sharpe. He receives the Sword from his uncle Jeff, who used the weapon in World War II and Korea. Jeff proceeds to train Kenny to become the Sword's next bearer, versing him in fighting and swordplay as best as he can. Jeff wants to make sure Kenny is fully prepared to bear the burden when the time comes for him to claim it. Unfortunately, Jeff's death leaves Kenny in a lurch, until another mysterious trainer comes along: Frank Gabriel, a former OSS agent who acted as Jeff's handler.

Kenny, as he grows to adulthood, will come to bear the Sword for the next thirty years., and the birthright left to him by Jeff may leave him regretting being so accepting of his legacy. As his personal life begins to erode around him, the result of his commitment to be the Sword's bearer, Kenny doubts himself, doubts the Sword and doubts the role of the paladin in his life. It will take some serious soul-searching for him to continue to take on the burden.

So what's so bad about being the Guardsman? Frank Gabriel puts it best: "You don't have to go looking for trouble. Trouble finds you."

The Guardsman's essentials:

He is a silent, near-invulnerable paladin knight. His armor is summoned when the Sword is drawn from its scabbard: the armor literally grows around the bearer. The Guardsman posseses great strength and stamina, and magnifies the host's knowledge of swordplay when he is present. His Sword also has special qualities, in that it will not harm anyone whom the host views as an ally. It is also quite effective in disposing of demons.

The Guardsman's history:

The Guardsman, in one form or another, has shown up in nearly every major conflict in Western history since the time of the Romans. (One of the few exceptions is the Vietnam War.) Kenny is the Sword's 99th bearer, all Sharpe blood relatives. Speculation exists that some famous historical figures may have possessed Sharpe blood and, in turn, borne the Sword: one of these (unverified) rumored bearers is Joan of Arc.

The modern Guardsman:

The Guardsman has called the U.S. home soil since the mid-19th Century, although he saw his first action on the North American continent in the French and Indian War (the Sharpe bearer was an English lieutenant, who later fought two battles in the Revolutionary War before being recalled to Britain). The first American Guardsman fought on the Union side in the Civil War: in the 20th Century he became a special "secret weapon," initially called in at the pleasure of the President, then later delegated to the OSS (later the CIA), where he has been based ever since.

More about Ken Sharpe's Guardsman can be found in The Advance Guard, on sale now.

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