In a story, a good antagonist is as important as a good hero. Sometimes the antagonist is an outright villain, without any redeeming qualities. Other times he isn’t evil and even possesses heroic traits. While the hero is the star of the story, it’s not unusual for a compelling antagonist to be just as appealing.
In The Red King, the antagonist, Hypatios, has certain heroic qualities that make him not only a dangerous adversary for the hero, Areus, but a possible ally—if they are able to overcome their differences.
Influenced by both a violent father and a gentle nanny, Hypatios can be volatile yet compassionate. He is not only a skilled warrior, but he possesses the ability to converse with both animals and the spirits of the dead. He doesn’t hesitate to use his powers against his enemies, at times summoning beasts to attack and distract his foes. His otherworldly gifts have come at a high price, however, and he is known as the mad prince of Zaltana.
Though ruthless in battle, he prefers to assimilate rather than destroy his enemies and he is resolute about not harming women and children who reside in conquered villages. His ethics differ so much from those of traditional Zaltanian warriors that his life is often in danger from subordinates who prefer the abusive ways that have been accepted and expected for centuries in their kingdom.
While his code of honor inspires the hatred of certain warriors, it captures the heart of a woman who saves his life after he and Areus nearly kill each other in battle. She glimpses a side of Hypatios that few have ever seen.
Torn between his violent side and his gentle side, Hypatios walks a fine line between villain and hero. His main goal in The Red King is to destroy Areus and deliver his head on a pike to the King of Zaltana, but this brutal mission might destroy him instead.
How do you feel about antagonists who aren’t villains? Do you like the idea of an adversary who might become an ally or do you prefer one who is purely evil?
The Red King
by Kate Hill
Erotic Fantasy Romance
Available July 01, 2015
Torn from her beloved convent home, Delia is forced to marry Areus of Lortia. The contract states she must deliver an heir within a year or the marriage can be annulled. Delia vows to control her fate by ensuring there will be no child–until she is mesmerized by Areus, the proud, virile warrior king.
Areus agrees to marry Delia to gain her father’s army to continue his fight against Hypatios, the mad prince of Zaltana. He doesn’t expect to fall in love with a convent-reared mouse, but from the first, Delia rouses his lust and touches his heart.
Their life together hangs in the balance as the war with Zaltana advances and Areus discovers Hypatios is far more than just his sworn enemy.
He removed the helmet that shielded his face from view. Like Cassandra, he had terrible scars, most of which he’d won in battle. However the hideous scars covering half his face were self-inflicted–a disgraceful reminder of the weakness he’d suffered much earlier in life.
He turned to her with a wicked grin. “Yes another battle. A war actually. The war. Father has sent for me. He needs me.”
Cassandra didn’t return his smile and her concerned expression deepened. “For what?”
“To claim the rest of the Western Continent, of course, starting with Lortia. There’s nothing left to conquer here in the south, but King Areus has held off his generals in the north. Incompetent fools. We’ll bring him Areus’s head on a pike, won’t we, my Beauty?” Hypatios again caressed the snake. This time the creature’s tongue slid over his scarred cheek like a kiss.
Cassandra stepped closer and took his hand. Staring up at him, she said, “Hypatios, find another way. Don’t fight King Areus.”
He laughed. “Why not?”
“You want to stick this man’s head on a pike and you don’t even know him.”
“Exactly. You get to know the people you’re to kill and you might not want to kill them. On the other hand you might want to kill them even more…but then it’s personal, so either way it’s a bad idea.”
“This whole thing is a bad idea. Why can’t you try to convince your father to call a truce? Hasn’t there been enough bloodshed?”
“There’s never enough bloodshed. It’s said that Zaltana is built on the bones of the conquered, that for over a thousand years our rivers have run red with the blood of our enemies. Do you honestly think I want to be the one to end the family tradition?”
“Stop it, Hypatios. There’s more to you than…than this.” She gestured toward his armor and the hilt of the sword that was sheathed at his back.
“I’m a Zaltanian warrior. There’s nothing except battle until we rule everything. Everything.”
Purchase Links: http://kate-hill.com/theredking.html
Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels.
When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out and spending time with her family and pets.
She enjoys hearing from readers and she can be contacted at email@example.com. Kate also writes under the name Saloni Quinby. Find her online at http://www.kate-hill.com, http://www.twitter.com/katehillromance, and http://www.facebook.com/katehillsaloniquinby.
In addition to her personal blog, Kate runs the Compelling Beasts Blog that is dedicated to antagonists and antiheroes. Please stop by http://www.kate-hill.com/compellingbeastsblog.