We all know someone with a secret...
Living with a secret is hard – you have to tiptoe around the people closest to you, and lying becomes your new favorite hobby. That’s exactly what 17-year-old Gene life is like – he’s no ordinary teenager.
Living in a world where the human race is nearing extinction, Gene must learn to survive the horrendous cannibalism that is spreading throughout the population. Andrew Funkuda’s second installment in a trilogy, The Prey is an edge-of-your-seat thriller filled to the brim with secrets.
You want your protagonist to be heroic but admit it: you want your hero to have secrets, too, and the darker the better. You need them a little bad, a little flawed, with closets hiding a skeleton or two. Who wants a shallow simpleton for a hero? Here (in no particular order) is my list of top ten favourite heroes with secrets:
10. Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables
Valjean is a man with a heart of gold but is weighed down by a shameful, secretive past. It is this very secret that makes him such an enthrallingly conflicted and sympathetic figure. You can’t help but feel for him, and deeply so. Your heart bleeds with a strange kind of release when he finally sings in the Broadway (and now movie) version: “Who am I? Who am I? 24601!”
9. Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester is a man with a huge skeleton in his closet.Actually, it’s worse than that – it’s a madwoman in his attic. Once you get over the utter weirdness of this – and, dear reader, it can stretch credulity – you realize why Rochester has become such a tormented and bitter curmudgeon. But do you not, despite yourself, feel some sympathy for him? And does not his love for Jane Eyre feel both more genuine and desperate?
8. Nicholas Brody in Homeland
You’re never quite sure about Nicolas. Exactly what is going on behind those cool blue-grey eyes and Bruce Willis smirk? Is he a terrorist or a misguided patriot? Has he really fallen for Claire Danes (Juliet!) or is he totally playing her? Every time you think you’ve figured him out, the rug is pulled out from under you. But this uncertainty is what makes Brody, and the whole series, so compelling.
7. Dr. James Sheppard in Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
I read this book when I was a naïve, thin-skinned 10-year-old. I was completely taken in by Dr. James Sheppard who, because the book was written from his first-person perspective, was the protagonist-hero of this masterpiece. He was smart, he was articulate, he got to be Hercule Poirot’s assistant! But, oh, the secrets he had. The book's ending floored me; I couldn't move for an hour. I thought Sheppard was a hero. Until he wasn’t.
6. Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games
Her secret, though not the centerpiece of the storyline, adds immeasurably to the novel. During the games, she and Peeta decide to fabricate a romance to better their odds of surviving. But this shared secret only works to draw them ever closer in a genuinely intimate bond, until they, like the reader, are left to wonder where fiction ends and reality begins. This tension is ratcheted up as the climax draws near and an ultimate decision must be made.
Click next to see Andrew's top 5 including Batman, The Sixth Sense and MORE >>