I love angsty heroes. You might have guessed that about me at some point. Ahem.
Anyway, my top five:
1. Any Laura Kinsale hero. I mean, how can you top the boy prostitute who becomes a ninja? Or the vertiginous highwayman? Go on, try. I dare you.
2. Any Carol Berg hero, despite them probably being dead from their injuries after she gets through with them. They suffer, yet also manage to kick butt, and get happy or semi-happy endings. Song of the Beast is a standalone and good to start with. The hero has just been released from seventeen years of being tortured. Not kidding.
3. Gerald Tarrant, from C.S. Friedman’s Coldfire trilogy: Black Sun Rising, When True Night Falls, and Crown of Shadows. His angst has to do with being immortal and powerful and killing his whole family to get that way, yet he is still strangely moving to me. His powerful emotional relationship with a straight-arrow priest might be part of it.
4. Bentley, in Liz Carlyle’s The Devil You Know, even though I guessed he’d been sexually abused long before any one in the book did. The hotness was him coming out the other side of trauma.
5. I can’t not mention Francis Crawford of Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles, which begin with The Game of Kings and continue in Queens’ Play and so on for six books total, of which the most supremely angsty is Pawn in Frankincense, but don’t bother trying to read them out of order, it is totally impossible. Francis is in an angst category all his own, making over-the-top into brilliance. I still can’t believe Dunnett got away with what she got away with in this series. She is the mistress to whom all writers of angstful historical epics should aspire.
How about you? Who are your favorite angsty heroes?