Two down, two to go…
I also gave the contract killer a POV. The reader sees him exactly for what he is: a man who kills for profit. He doesn’t moralize about his business or try to justify his actions. He is what he is, most of the time. In addition to POV, I gave him moments of surprise for the reader. There is one scene where he performs a random act of kindness, totally unexpected for the amoral and generally cruel man.
In another scene we see him at home. Through the eyes of the heroine, we see his taste in furniture, in music, in something as simple as fine crystal. It is easy to forget the antagonist has a mother, possibly siblings, food he/she likes, a certain style of décor or clothing. Those reveals can pull a reader closer to the story. The enemy isn’t an indistinct, vacuous man or woman who is just evil. They have personality and that personality can go many directions.
This same killer returns in Byzantine Gold, the sequel to Golden Chariot. For that story, I took him a step further and gave him a love interest. This is by no means a man who desires love or even has the capacity to give it in any deep way. As mentioned, he is amoral and without the warmth of character. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a woman who finds a way to love him. In this book, he finds himself attracted to a young woman and he chooses to let her travel with him. They share moments where he is true to his nature and brutal to her. There are other moments where he has the opportunity to show an unexpected kinder side of himself.
Byzantine Gold also has a political terrorist who shares the role of antagonist. As horrifying as terrorism is to us, to him, his cause is righteous and he will do anything he must to achieve his goal.