Lord Sanuto is the villain in Rebirths. Fellow author Ralene Burke hosted an interview with him on the character tour today. This is the first question she asked Sanuto.
1. Who are you at the beginning of the novel?
When Abraham was, so was I. I am Lord Sanuto, the oldest vampire in the world. I was turned by Lilith, the first vampire.
When I first meet Derke, I have only recently moved to Gunther. The kingdom is known for being friendly to magic users and undead.
To keep out of suspicion, my brides and I move every decade or so. I used to live on the Isle of Logres and before that the Isle of Morn. In centuries past, I lived on the continent of Adellon. I was born in the region of Aatazar, where some of the greatest magical tomes ever were written.
You can read the rest of it her blog.
When I was writing Sanuto, there were several things that I wanted in the villain. The first and foremost was his philosophy. He is a nihilist who believes in nothing beyond the physical realm we see. He believes nothing last forever. I’ve spoken previously about other parts of his philosophy and how his thinking is the opposite of GK Chesterton.
That’s what I wanted most importantly. The most important thing I didn’t want was to make Sanuto into a sympathetic villain. As I worked on his backstory, I consciously worked to keep him unsympathetic. He is evil because of who he is and choices he has made. In theory, Sanuto could be redeemed as could anyone. However, I didn’t want the reader rooting for that. For the first two-thirds of the book, Derke is an anti-hero; he turned to magic in grief and despair. Derke has goals we can relate to even though his means are deplorable.
I needed the villain to be opposite from this. Derke turns to death magic in desperation. Sanuto becomes a vampire when he has other options. In villainy, I needed Sanuto to be Xykon not Redcloak. Or if you prefer Discworld to Order of the Stick, I wanted an Auditor. Sanuto has one overriding goal in his twisted existence. He desires to reshape the world in his own image. This means the death of everyone currently residing on it, but he doesn’t care. The life of others is inconsequential to him.
Designing Sanuto that way came from thinking about the writings of Jean-Paul Sartre and Friedrich Nietzsche. I took their beliefs in nothing beyond the material and took it to the next logical step. Sanuto himself says in the book, “All of us are just insignificant specks on this lonely planet. No one rejoiced when the races were born nor will they mourn when the last dies.”
What a depressing way to live. But what better belief for a villain who wants to reshape the world than the belief that there are no long-term consequences to his actions.
You can read more about Sanuto in Rebirths.