Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, is, as you may know, the protagonist of Ilona Andrews’ latest: Iron and Magic.
As you definitely know if you’ve been following the Kate Daniels series, Hugh d’Ambray is very much a bad guy; second in command after Roland himself. He’s Roland’s warlord — or he was, until he failed one big mission. As he notes in Iron and Magic, he hadn’t realized he only got to fail one time. Now, ditched by Roland, he’s in pretty bad shape.
But now the Iron Dogs are being hunted down and killed — his own small army, men who depend on him — so he has no choice but to pull himself together and defend himself and them, whatever it takes.
It’s interesting how the authors rehabilitate Hugh. They do it three steps:
a) They reveal the magic Roland always used to keep Hugh in line;
b) They take one particularly horrible thing Hugh did in an earlier book and reinterpret that scene in order to make Hugh less awful; and
c) They have him reconsider his priorities and reject Roland.
I knew the confrontation with Roland would have to happen at some point in Hugh’s trilogy, but I was a little surprised it happened in the first book. I hope that’s not too much of a spoiler, but if I’m going to comment on Hugh’s theme song, I’d give that away anyway. Because there’s no question about it: Cruxshadows’ “Quicksilver” expresses the exact theme of this book.
Here are part of the lyrics (click through and listen to the whole thing if you like. Or click here for the full lyrics). As you see, nothing could more perfectly express Hugh’s character arc in this book.
I should be ashamed for what you’ve done to me
It’s only happened because I let it be
But no more
You are not wrong, you who believe
Your will defines your destiny
But if you act in selfish fear
Then truth means nothing
You are not wrong if you perceive
The message veiled in mystery
But if we bury what we dream
We’re left with what remains…
I’m taking back my love, taking back my pride
Taking back my dreams and my life
This is the ground I will defend
On rage of angels bears the end
I’m taking back my hope, taking back my goals
Taking back my memories and my soul
This brand is forged to my crusade
Quicksilver, the future belongs to the brave