Creating a fantasy character similar to Colonel Sebastian Moran . . .

Colonel Sebastian Moran was a created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as a henchman for Professor James Moriarty in his mysteries featuring Sherlock Holmes.

Moran became one of my favorite literary characters after reading Return of Moriarty by John Gardner. This story was the first book in a trilogy where Professor James Moriarty was portrayed something akin to a gaslight godfather. The colonel was only featured in the first book and he had a small role. He died in the first half of the story.

What drew my interest to Moran was that he came from a wealthy family, privileged education at Eton College of Cambridge University, had a checkered history in the army – but attained the rank of colonel – and was forced out for reasons that were unclear, was a gambler, enjoyed fine food and drink, killed Ronald Adair, and had business and professional relationship with Professor Moriarty.

Return of Moriarty takes place after Reichenbach Falls and around the same time as the murder of Ronald Adair. Professor Moriarty has put Colonel Moran in charge of the professor’s criminal organization while Moriarty was away from London.

I considered Colonel Moran to be both a fixer and enforcer similar to Al Neri and Rocco Lampone in the Godfather books and movies.

In this blog post, I wanted to write a little bit about Colonel Sebastian Moran and how he pertains to the fantasy novellas that I write.

My stories feature criminals and criminal organizations in a fantasy setting.

When I create a character that I want to use as enforcer or fixer in one of my stories, I have always used Colonel Sebastian Moran as inspiration.

To use a sports analogy, I always think of the power or clean-up hitter bunting in baseball.

In football, the defensive tackle intercepting a pass and avoiding tackles on his way to the end zone.

To translate this notion or inspiration to a fantasy story, I am interested in a strong and brawny character that is willing to use a knife or a dagger – instead of a sword – to kill someone, preferably from behind. Same type of character that uses guile and cunning.

I am probably describing a character like Conan or Fafhrd and Grey Mouser, but I have never read any of those books. I have read books that featured characters that are small in stature, but are willing to use physical force to fight larger opponents. One character that come to mind is the Red Viper in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Red Viper is armed with a rapier when he fights in a duel with the much larger and bigger character, the Mountain.

The fixers and enforcers that I have created are nothing like Colonel Sebastian Moran, but I keep striving and trying.

Over the next few weeks and months, I will introduce some of the characters that I have created that populate my stories such as Malloy Epps, Hellers Kastenmeyer, Velo, Bear Shiancoe, Sebastian Sparrow, Miller Octeus, and Roone Davis to name a few. These characters will appear in future novellas and excerpts posted on my blog.

Thanks for reading.

Until the next time,



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