Even though he’s not based on any historical figure, Anton is one of my mainstay characters. He figures in the first half of Rise of the Storm, disappears for a while, shows up again in the epilogue, then gets a POV in both Valley of the Shadow and Hammer of the Gods.
Anton is Janna’s stepson and is about 10 when Rise of the Storm begins. Unlike Janna, he’s a scrappy, resourceful survivor and does pretty well for himself after being separated from her. He makes his way to Arian Orland’s army because more than anything, he wants to be part of a force that will defeat Empress Teodora. Anton considers her ultimately responsible for the tragedy that destroyed his family and won’t rest until she’s defeated.
A natural with horses, Anton makes himself useful, taking care of cavalry mounts and is good at both putting himself forward and distinguishing himself at the first opportunity. Not too far into Valley of the Shadow, Anton manages to become Arian Orland’s sidekick and they have a number of adventures together.
Even though Anton has been thrown into a brutal world, he manages to hang onto his integrity, at least for the most part. Count Orland is a terrible role model for a young boy, and Anton seeks to emulate him, even while realizing he should try to do better. Much of Anton’s journey in Valley of the Shadow is a push and pull between trying to be the person Janna (who he believes is dead) would want him to be, while striving to become the baddest fighter who ever lived.
His problems are heightened by going from an “Ew girls” attitude early in the story, to transforming himself into a ladies’ man (or a reasonable adolescent facsimile thereof) and falling in love for the first time. He and Arian are responsible for most of the humor in these books, scant though it may be.
With so many kings, princesses and generals populating my story, Anton represents an everyman, though his qualities won’t let him stay in a lowly position for very long. There’s a good possibility he’s my favorite character to write.