A hero-at-large, was in the makings, in the brilliantly written novel, Arthur & George, by Julian Barnes.
Although a novel of historical fiction, the book is based on a factual legal case, involving George Edalji, (son of a Vicar, a Parsee father, from Bombay), and the famous, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes mysteries. The book transitions back and forth, between the two, comparing and contrasting their lives. They eventually meet, and the hero-at-large is revealed, within the twists and turns of the legal case, and the two different backgrounds and lifestyles of both Arthur & George.
How the two lives intertwine, comes midway through the book. The story line (although slow in spots), gives us an intense impression of George, and how steadfast and determined he is, throughout his ordeal of receiving malicious letters, harrassing in content, which finally end up in his conviction for a crime/crimes he did not commit. We see Arthur in a light we don’t necessarily know about, in love with a woman who is not his wife, trying to hide his affair from his wife, within the confines of his marriage, and thinking by protecting his wife, that he is being a dutiful and honorable husband.
George retains a positive and definite attitude, and we see his strength and fortitude thrive, compared to the guilt that Arthur carries around with him. Arthur questions himself, his honor (never for once acknowledging that he is a lowly adulterer), his inner strength, and the boundaries between dishonor and honor.
Honor, dishoner, guilt, innocence, they all play a part within the pages. Hero-at-large…you decide who the hero is, in this masterfully written Victorian novel! Bravo to Julian Barnes, for Arthur and George.