Who Is Cormag MacLeod?
Updated: Aug 14
The Diabolus Legacy - SK Falconer
The main character is The Diabolus Legacy is a complex man, haunted by the past. A war veteran, and later a London policeman, before his transfer to Australia. He has post-traumatic stress disorder, drinks way too much, and spends much of his time hiding from the ghosts that haunt his nights. There’s no doubt he's tough, brutal at times, but we get a glimpse that there is a human side to him, something that he cannot deny even as he tries to escape his past.
In thinking about the character, I wanted to create someone who was imposing in stature, and MacLeod is just that, over 6 feet 4, with his right eye scarred and closed from a war injury, missing fingers on his left hand blown off by musket fire.
He's violent when he must be and doesn't hold back in dealing with criminals. Certainly not the sort of man that I would want to meet in a dark alley, he doesn't suffer fools gladly, and is not afraid to use his fists to get the truth out of someone.
To fit the timeline, and the history of the colony of New South Wales, I had to create a character who would fit the profile. And MacLeod does that, being a young man following his father’s footsteps into the army; he was a member of the 93rd Highlanders, and stood at Crimea as one of the thin edge of steel that held back the Russian cavalry. Unfortunately, his war experiences have left him battered, particularly his service in India where he witnessed a massacre. These events truly occurred, and the ghosts that haunt MacLeod reflect the combatants, and his comrades. I've placed MacLeod into the history but if you check the details, you'll find that the 93rd Highlanders were involved in the battle of the Crimean war, and later at Lucknow in India.
If your interested to read more check the link
After leaving the army, he returned to London as many ex-servicemen did and got a job as an inspector in the London police force, after rising through the ranks. He lived in London with his wife and four children and worked in the Whitehall district. I picked Whitehall, not just because it was where Jack the Ripper operated, but because it was a place where murders were common, and it gives a convenient back drop to allow us to see MacLeod at work before he turns to his darker side.
We learn from his background that he had a family, a wife and all four children, all were wiped out during this smallpox epidemic that plague London during that time. Once again, this was a real event, and we see that the loss of his family has a profound effect upon him, leading to him eventually being sent to Australia. You can read more about this at the link below:
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/003591573302700245 can read more about the smallpox epidemic in London at this link
Following their death, he becomes a loose cannon, and his behaviour became more erratic leading to the transfer to Sydney Cove. This fits in with the timeline as many ex-soldiers were transferred at this time, and Scotsman were common in the police force.
He speaks Scottish Gaelic, and you'll see throughout the book he utters phrases that sometimes are recognised by his colleagues, and particularly responded to by doctor MacKinlay, the doctor in Dungog. If you want to read more about Doctor Mackinlay, there's a separate blog regarding him – he was a real life figure, and there is lots of information on him.
The character arc from McLeod is one of redemption. By taking the young boy McDermott under his wing he has a shot at coming back from the blackness, and to know whether he takes it or not, you'll need to read the book.
I'm looking forward to taking his character further in the sequel to the Diabolus legacy, The Demons Mark, which will be due out in March 2022. You can read a separate blog on this if you want to know more.