July 1, 2013

Alexander "Bane" Banebridge

For a year now, I've been waiting for that hero that walks the tightrope between savior and scoundrel, Rhett Butler style. The wait is over. I have good timing with this feature because Bane's novel was recently awarded the prestigious Christy award for excellence in Christian fiction. In keeping with the many shades of Bane's character, this novel is NOT your typical historical romance. Be ready for that as we dive in and take a closer look at Bane, how he lives up to that name, and is still an FHF-worthy hero.

About Against the Tide (released Oct. 1,2012):

After a childhood rampant with uncertainty, Lydia Pallas has carved out a perfect life for herself. She spends her days within sight of the bustling Boston Harbor, where her skill with languages has landed her an enviable position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.

Lydia's talents bring her to the attention of Alexander Banebridge, a mysterious man in need of a translator. Driven by a campaign to end the opium trade. Bane is coolly analytical and relentless in his quest. He cannot afford to fall for Lydia and must fight the bittersweet love growing between them.

When Bane's enemies gain the upper hand, he is forced to turn to Lydia for help. Determined to prove her worth, Lydia soon discovers that carrying out Bane's mission will test her wits and her courage to the very limits.

Excerpt from Against the Tide:

She was used to working amidst the steady din of background noise of the coffeehouse, so it seemed strange when the noise dwindled away. The drone of laughter and conversation tapered off, a busy waitress stopped her order in midsentence, and even the fiddlers in the corner stopped playing. Lydia looked up to see what had caused the drop in conversation.
          Oh my, my.
          What was Lieutenant Banebridge doing at the Laughing Dragon? His crystalline blue gaze sliced through the dwindling twilight that illuminated the coffeehouse as he scanned the occupants. The man was not particularly tall. Indeed, compared to the oversized longshoreman who filled the room, he seemed almost slight, but he radiated a calm sense of power as he navigated through the cluster of tables and barrels and headed toward the serving counter.
          Lydia's eyes widened as his gaze riveted on her. A hint of a smile lifted the corner of his perfectly shaped mouth, and Lydia's breath froze as he strode directly to her.
          "Lydia Pallas?" he asked as he slid onto the vacant stool next to her. How did he know her name? It was the first time he had ever spoken directly to her, and she wondered how he knew where she lived. All she could do was nod.
          "I hear you read Turkish," he said as though that were an entirely natural opening line. "Eric recommended you as someone who was willing to pick up a little translation work on the side."
          It took her a moment to process what he had said. "Eric? Do you mean Admiral Fontaine?"
          "Yes, Admiral Fontain. He said you have a remarkable ability with languages."
          "I've never heard anyone refer to him as 'Eric' before," she said. "It would be like calling Queen Victoria 'Vicki.'" She glanced at the insignia on his uniform. "And I certainly did not think that lieutenants ever called admirals by their first name."
          That lazy smile could probably slay damsels at a thousand yards. "I don't report to Eric. He is a friend, not someone in my chain of command. I am Alex Banebridge, but everyone just calls me Bane. Eric said you might be able to help me with these."

Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.

Gallant Score

Bane is a hero. It isn't going to seem like it at first, and for, well, for a lot of the story. What's more accurate is to say you have to see through the facade he projects to the rest of the world, especially Lydia. Bane is orange heads at the core, and always, always when it counts. That said, he is a man on a mission for the greater good and sometimes that requires some very un-orange-head tactics.

Wounded Score

Bane has a past that predisposes him to the charming rogue, gallant activist, shameless flirt he is in Against the Tide. It will wreck the story to tell you what, and who, put the scars on his heart and forever altered the course of his life. Part of me admired Bane for overcoming such a past, even though I could see where his quest to destroy the illegal opium trade was tainted with his desire for vengeance.

Softie Score

I'm wondering if I'll be challenged on this score at all but there's not a lot of soft to Bane. When it shows up though, it's powerful, like interacting with the Admiral's children and of course holding Lydia's hair out of her face while she's getting sick and encouraging her through that time.

Stupid Strikes

I debated this one a long time, but in the end, had to pop him one. For calling Lydia a "mingy wench" (even in love) and attempting to arrange her marriage to another man. Same with purposefully moving around things on Lydia's desk just to annoy her. One of my favorite lines is at the docks when she's ignoring him, hoping he'll go away, and his response is "Please don't operate under the assumption that ignoring me will work," Bane said. "It just makes me more determined to get under your skin." But in perfect transparency into me and my reader preference, all this only made him more endearing in that "bad boy" way. I know I'm not the only hero-girl who is into that, though I might be the only one who admits it. ;-)

Swoon Score

Oh, did I forget to mention his nickname is "The Adonis?" In case you had any doubts after the excerpt, Bane is as hot as a Boston winter is not. Among his arsenal of skills he can deploy in the blink of an eye is being an unexpected romantic and a shameless flirt, which only add to the charm. For me, it is his care of Lydia at "the end" and those moments when his guard was down and rather than being the man his life and quest had made him, he was simply Bane, that really stacked the orange up here.

A research librarian and associate professor, Elizabeth Camden has a master’s in history from the University of Virginia and a master’s in library science from Indiana University. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband in central Florida. Visit her at http://elizabethcamden.com/.

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The FHF Exclusive Directly from the Author

Although Against the Tide is an entirely stand-alone novel, Bane first appeared as the villain in The Lady of Bolton Hill.  In that book, I needed to have the heroine kidnapped by one of the hero’s enemies.  My first impulse was to create a scary gangster to kidnap her, but fiction-writing 101 says “never go for the obvious.”  Instead, I tried to imagine the absolute last person you would expect to see as a mastermind for dastardly kidnapping plot, and then plunk him into the story.

Immediately I had the image of a golden-haired, angelic looking teenaged boy, a boy so beautiful he should be painted onto the ceiling of the Sistine chapel.  I wanted someone charming, brilliant, and almost dazzling in his beauty… which makes the fact that he was an amoral, corrupt soul even more frightening to the heroine when she figures out just who this wicked boy is.  So Bane was born:  a brilliant, beautiful teenager utterly devoid of a conscience. 

For my mental image I latched onto Alexander Skarsgard, the wonderful actor from Battleship and True Blood, who can appear angelically gorgeous one moment, and ice-cold scary the next.  That’s Bane!

Because flat villains are boring, I wrote some backstory about why this brilliant teen-aged boy was so devoid of a conscience.  As I wrote, Bane became more and more sympathetic.  And more interesting.  Bane stole every scene he appeared in during The Lady of Bolton Hill, and he ultimately emerges as a true hero in the book.  He does a complete turn-around when he decides to funnel all his brilliance toward good instead of evil.  I was flooded with letters demanding a sequel for him.  Although my publisher did not initially want a follow-up, the chorus of people asking for “More Bane” was a drumbeat that would not stop.  I was thrilled when I got the go-ahead to write Bane as a grown-up hero.  I like heroes with a little age on them, so Against the Tide takes place twelve years later when Bane is 30.  (Oh, the chorus of complaints I had from teenaged girls about that!  Many of them assumed that Bane’s story would feature a 17-year-old hero, and were terribly disappointed I made him “so old!”)

Bane has a deep backstory I was only able to provide glimpses into during the course of Against the Tide.  Space constraints forced me to cut some scenes that provided more detail into his history, and those scenes are posted at my blog here: http://elizabethcamden.com/book-extras/against-the-tide

The giveaways

Alright hero-girls, same giveaway setup as always. One copy of Against the Tide in the winner's choice of format, but please tell me to toss your name in the clam-chowder bowl. For those who have already enjoyed Against the Tide, leave me the name of a character not used in the excerpt and we'll put your name in the clam-chowder bowl for a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble giftcard. Once that character has been used, you'll need to choose another. Winners randomly drawn on July 14th. Be sure to leave your e-mail address in your comment in a spam-fighting format like red.poppies.to.remind.you.i.am.everywhere (at) anopiumfreeusa (dot) com

Anyone else willing to fess up to enjoying an oh-so-bad-good-guy? Do we agree or disagree that they can be heroes?


  1. Gretchen K. EngelJuly 1, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    This may tell you way too much about my character but I think Bane, good-looking or not deserves a solid orange head just for moving things on Lydia's desk.
    I'm not a fan of bad boys, but Bane sounds like a very noble one.
    And I'll admit, back in the day, I would have loved an attractive guy trying to get under my skin. And more so, fighting him off :-)

  2. I'm thrilled you featured this book because Bane is my favorite hero so far this year! (I am definitely a fan of bad boys! :-)
    I totally agree that he deserves a stupid strike for his almost blind focus on vengeance/revenge. But as to moving things around on Lydia's desk... I loved how she couldn't catch him doing that. :-) In fact, I just went and grabbed my copy off the shelf to re-read some of those parts.
    Loved, loved, loved these characters!

    Since I already have this title, the character I'm mentioning is Mrs. Winslow. Everytime "she" shows up, I just want to throw her across a room. ;-) cdeesbooks (at) gmail (dot) come

    1. I'm with ya, Clari. I enjoyed the desk interaction- I didn't find it annoying so much as endearing. I like a hero that unsettles & ruffles the heroine. His "tweaking" of her perfect world showed his admiration for her even before their relationship progressed. :)

  3. I haven't read this book, yet. I have seen it several times and thought about buying it, so I am thrilled to see your review. It sounds awesome! I totally go for the bad guy/hero, especially if he can turn to the good side. It sounds Bane is a great mix. Add me to the clam chowder bowl, please! :)

  4. Loved this book!

    Admiral Eric Fontaine

    Though I get why it's totally not fair to ask for names :(. I can give you backstory galore on characters but names?!?!?!? I'm awful with names! And had to go look that one up ;).

    But I did.

    So there.


  5. I haven't read this book yet, but I remember Bane from The Lady of Bolton Hill. I love stories about heroes who, at one time, were bad boys only to be redeemed in the end and in this case, gets a story all his own. Bane sounds like the kind of a hero that I could easily like. Please throw my name in the clam-chowder bowl. Thanks!


    1. Oh, I'd like that in hard copy, please. :)

  6. Professor Van Bracken. This was one if my favorite books in the last year. Elizabeth Camden gets better and better with every book. :)

    Crandallberries at gmail dot com

  7. I haven't yet read Against the Tide, though it has been on my "want to" list since I first heard about it. I very much enjoyed Elizabeth's book, The Rose of Winslow Street. Thanks for a chance to win a copy of Against the Tide.
    I love these fiction hero features! You do a great job of analyzing the heros.


  8. So funny that she got complaints for making him so old. I'm old I guess. :) But I knew that. As a teen I thought 30 was officially adult and grown up....now I know better, some people never grow up!

    My character is Mrs. Rockotov

  9. I would love to be put in the drawing for this book! I've been waiting a long time to read it! I've definitely fallen for a bad guy(in books) now and then. Sometimes they turn out to be the good guy!

  10. Oh, this one is on my to be read shortlist, so please enter me for a print copy so I can get to it faster! I like a hero in disguise as a bad guy; if the twist is well done, sometimes they are my favorite characters!
    danandlyndaedwards (at) msn (dot) com.

  11. This book looks amazing! I'd love to win a copy. Thanks!

  12. Did I mention how much I love this book? Maybe? Once? ;) I temper my enthusiasm so well.....
    So great to see Bane here- finally! Many thanks to Nancy for tolerating my excessive prodding. :)

    "That lazy smile could probably slay damsels at a thousand yards." -some of my favorite lines were Lydia's sarcastic observations of Bane's 'powers'.

  13. Excellent book! It deserved the award and Bane is definitely a very worthy hero. Please include me in the drawing to win a copy of it (even though I already read it.)

    g.gclermont(at) gmail(dot) com

  14. I have a copy of The Lady of Bolton Hill, but not this newer book. I would love to be added to the drawing!

  15. Hey Hero-girls!!! I'm so sorry I couldn't respond to each of you guys but please know I always, always read your comments, even if it's as I'm copy and pasting your names into the list randomizer for the drawing. =)

    A copy of Against the Tide in former of her choice is Stacey.
    A $10 gift card to Amazon or B&N is Clari Dees

    Thank you everyone, and thank you to Elizabeth for sharing Bane with us.

  16. Thanks so much, Nancy & Elizabeth!