Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the tour where I have a guest post giving us a little insight in one of the characters.
Five Reasons Why Xsani is a Very, Very Special Character
Warning, this piece contains plot spoilers!
- When I knew that The Soterion Mission was to be the first of a trilogy rather than a stand-alone novel, I realised I had to do something about the Zeds and their relationship to the Constants. Mind you, I hadn’t been too far out in the Soterion Mission. When I asked young readers whether, if our present society collapsed, they would go on the rampage (Zeds) or try to hold things together (Constants), the majority of rampagers were male and the majority of holders were female. But there were always a fair number of females who sided with the Zeds.
And so Xsani and her Kogon tribe were born.
- Appearance and physical characteristics. Xsani could have been tall and dark, like Roxanne – too obvious. I needed contrast. Simply making her short and blonde wasn’t enough. Someone of her stature could survive and rise to the position of Malika only by being as quick of hand as she was of mind – as we see when she first met the captured Giv and Jamshid. But I sensed from the outset that there was more to Xsani than just an ability to inflict pain on her enemies in a cold-blooded manner. She needed something more distinctive about her, a feature that could evoke surprise and sympathy. That’s why she has a distinctive lisp (proofreader’s nightmare!): and woe betide anyone who mocked it, as Jamshid learned to his cost!
- From the day she was born, Xsani had been taught – and she had seen much evidence to back it up – that males were abomination. They were either Zeds intent only on rape and murder, or they were Constants to whom the only good Zed, male or female, was a dead one. By inclination and choice, therefore, Xsani’s intimate relationships are with women. The love between Xsani and Jinsha provides the trilogy with some of its most tender moments, especially the mountain meadow scene in The Salvation Project, and when they are together in Itzac.
- Why does Xsani become obsessed with the ‘Man in the Yellow Hat’? I’m not sure. I think it’s because she senses, in that fractured picture on the wall of her headquarters in Filna, that there is a dimension to life beyond that of her tribe. Only imagination can explain this. In her imagination Xsani confuses Cyrus with the Man in the Yellow Hat and spares his life, and through her imagination she sees how the Soterion might transform the world. At first, like Yash and Sakamir, she seeks the knowledge of the vault for its power. As Timur had done, she dreamed of domination. But unlike Timur and Yash, she had the imagination and heart to see beyond power to a brighter glory.
- I think I knew – but one can never be sure – that by the end of the final book Xsani would complete her conversion from Zed to Constant. To achieve this, however, she had abandoned her people to terrible slaughter. For that she could not be forgiven, could she? But she did atone in the noblest way known to human kind, by laying down her life for her friends. It was tragic but inevitable.