The central theme of my Darke Lyfe Trilogy is a global population of vampyres/vampires, and one in particular: Harrison Van Gilter. I profiled Harrison in an earlier post.
The Trilogy has plural protagonists. In other words, several characters are faced with the same common problem: Harrison Van Gilter. Each of my protagonists struggles in his or her own way, but each is threatened by a ruthless transgenic predator. Chief among these people is a favorite of mine: Dr. Steven Atticus, anthropologist and biochemist.
When the trilogy begins in 1997, Steven is 61. Physically, he’s of medium height (5’ 10”), fit, with a full shock of graying hair and a neatly trimmed gray beard. He loves being out of doors, as any anthropologist would. He needs his wire-rimmed glasses both to read and to drive. Yes, he finally purchased bifocals. What I like about Steven are his values and talents. Steven is persevering, persistent, focused, and meticulous, at least in his research. He has a wonderful wife, Barbara, who is a scholar of ancient texts. They have no children.
Steven is the one who discovered the preserved corpse of a Viking Priest in a cold Canadian lake. But the Viking was more than a priest. He was, in fact, the first vampire. And Steven’s discovery rocked the scientific world, at least temporarily. Later, when a real vampyre began his predatory attacks in Panama City, Florida, Steven went there in a search for truth. He was accompanied by another of my favorite characters, the diminutive and elderly Dutch zoologist, Dr. Benkt Van Leeuwen (I’ll profile Benkt in a future post).
But Steven Atticus is haunted by his discovery. His continuing research piles up more and more evidence that vampyres (full blood individuals) and vampires (a result of exposure to the vampire virus) are real. They are loose on the world – a global population – and are responsible for countless, unsolved heinous killings, attacks, and kidnappings. Atticus is, therefore, personally driven to find a way to eliminate – or at least control – the problem he has documented.
Born October 1, 1936 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Steven graduated from New Mexico State and received his Ph.D. from the Chicago Medical School (The Division of Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine). Later, he completed post-doctoral studies at Cambridge University Medical Center (University of Cambridge, Department of Medical Genetics, Cambridge, England). Subsequently, he became chief of biochemical research at Tenque University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Steven’s maternal grandmother was a Native American: Navajo. Other ancestors were primarily English and north European. His father owned a cattle ranch near Albuquerque. His mother was a bookkeeper for a local bank. Steven is the oldest of three children; he has a brother and sister.
The last book of the trilogy, Arcanum of Evil, takes place in 2012. Steven is still vitally important to the outcome of the trilogy, even though he is, at that time, seventy-six years old. He’s still a physically fit person, but he never dreamed that the nightmare of the late 1990s would come back to haunt him again in a more terrifying, more uncontrollable, and more inexplicable way.
Steven is a favorite character of mine because he’s vulnerable, gutsy, and so damn caring. I’ve put him right in the middle of the final conflict. I hope he survives.