You would think we know just about everything there is to know about Merq Grayson since he’s the one telling us his story. But, I’m going to let you into one of the harsh truths of The Borders War series. As it turns out, Merq…lies.
He is the most unreliable narrator I’ve worked with so far.
That’s not to say Merq is the type of narrator who is actively trying to deceive his audience. Not consciously at least. His fallibility comes from the skewed perspective of a violent and solitary upbringing. His hesitancy towards anything personal is the product of unrealistic expectations that have been laid on him since before birth, yet he’s determined to meet.
The secrets surrounding Merq are fascinating, and a puzzle to be unraveled as the series unfolds. But the core of who Merq is as a person is just as intriguing. Maybe more, for me.
I’ve read a couple thought-provoking discussions on Merq’s “voice” and whether or not it matches the man that physically dominates the pages of these stories. That Merq’s narrative voice doesn’t match who he appears to be at first glance—or who he should be based on his history and his job—is one of the most interesting aspects of his characterization.
His inner dialogue, his curiosity of world history, and his philosophical bent—the words that show a depth of reflection that his actions don’t—those are hints to who Merq really is, and more importantly, who he wants to be. Because what kind of fun would it be if Merq was solely an unthinking soldier? What would be the point of us listening to anything he has to say?
And the one question that raises so many other considerations: would Armise Darcan be willing to forfeit so much for a man who was ordinary outside of his prowess on the battlefield?
You get hints of the real Merq in One Breath, One Bullet. We discover more of who he is at his core in Dominant Predator. As he awakens to the world inside him (and not just around him) in Powerless, you’ll begin to see who Merq is, not just who he appears to be.
As with any author/character relationship, there is some of me that bleeds through to Merq. That’s inevitable. But more often than not, what Merq says and does surprises me. He has a distinct voice in my head. He doesn’t tolerate shit. He has a low patience threshold even though that trait should have been drummed out of him. He misses a lot of what happens around him because he’s blind to the emotional nuances flowing around him.
Merq is still like a child emotionally. And for good reason. He never had parents that showered him with affection, or any affection at all. He was ripped away from his only stable home when he was five and began training to be a soldier. He was raised to view his interactions with other people with suspicion—to seek out hidden motivations and to be so detached that he has the ability to kill anyone at anytime. Even his own life is not given as much value (by himself or his superiors) as the mission.
His “romantic” relationships during his teenage years were based mostly on a mutual need for physical release. And now the one man he can’t get out of his head is Armise Darcan—the only person on the planet who is Merq’s equal and, by all rights, should be Merq’s enemy.
It’s no wonder Merq has major trust issues.
Trust. Yeah, right. I can hear Merq scoffing in my head. It’s a word Merq throws around a lot yet has no concept of what it really means. Or rather, he hasn’t so far.
The Merq Grayson that emerges from the pages of Powerless is…grown. By the time Powerless ends, it has been almost two years since Merq restarted the Borders War with his Winchester and that bullet. It’s been more than fifteen years since Armise kissed Merq for the first time.
Merq has witnessed much more death than he has life. He has experienced much more frustration than hope. And yet, he wants to live and he wants to hope.
He is a liar, but that doesn’t mean he’s dishonest. We just may have to endure more deception before Merq is ready to admit what his ultimate truth really is.
The Giveaway: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
Face to face, and rifle to rifle. The time and location change, but never the circumstance. Merq Grayson and Armise Darcan are enemies. And neither will be considered successful until the other is dead.
It is the year 2558. A mere decade has passed since the signing of the treaty which ended the three hundred year long Borders War. In the midst of an uneasy peace, the world gathers for the first Olympic games since the war began.
The Rifle competition showcases the very soldiers who fought in the war, pitting former enemies against one another again. Continental States Peacemaker Merq Grayson will once again battle the Dark Ops officer from the People’s Republic of Singapore, Armise Darcan, this time under the flag of their own uneasy truce. The relationship between Merq and Armise is one of violence, secrecy, and a growing intimacy that could have them both branded as traitors.
But there is more at stake than pride or medals in these games. And neither Merq nor Armise may be able to make it out alive before the fires of revolution are set ablaze again.
A relationship is the least of Merq and Armise’s concerns…
With one bullet Merq Grayson set the wealthiest citizens of the world on a collision course with the poorest-with those fighting for their freedom. As the Borders War reignites, the Revolution faces heavy losses. They scramble to maintain their advantage, to strike at the Opposition and crumble their power structure before they are able to rally.
But Merq is in the midst of an internal battle that shakes him to the core. For the first time in his life Merq will have to reconcile the inherent tragedy of war and decide just how much vengeance can be justified by spilt blood. How much can he trust the men and women around him? The President, Neveed, his former soldiers, his parents…and Armise.
Merq and Armise find themselves off grid and on the hunt for Committee members. Merq is just as unsettled with Armise at his side as he was with Armise as an enemy, but they will have to learn how to fight together-or they may just die together.