Following up on last month’s entry on Brian Lumley’s ‘Titus Crow’, this month I’ve taken a look at a less-established character–namely, Jim Beard’s ‘Sgt. Janus, Spirit-Breaker’.
“I am Roman Janus. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
–Sgt. Roman Janus, “The Portobello Cetacean” (2012)
‘His eyes were icy verdigris, but warm also, and piercing — in a kind way. He was dressed smartly in a long coat of an almost military cut and dark pants with gold piping.’ So writes the narrator of the 2012 story, “The Portobello Cetacean” as she first lays eyes on her host, Sgt. Roman Janus, late of Mount Airy, the man known as the ‘spirit-breaker’.
Like Silence, Janus is less a two-fisted hero than an agent of a higher spiritual power, doling out harsh justice and due kindness with equal determination. And like Aylmer Vance, Janus’s kind-hearted nature is both a boon and a weakness, helping him at times and hindering him at others.
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