Besides Rulon and Yohaba, there are other important characters in the book. I’m going to talk only about two of them: Alex – Yohaba’s brother; and Dmitri – the Russian agent leading the hunt for Rulon.
Alex is a few years younger than Yohaba and suffers from Asperger’s syndrome. The character was inspired by my step-son, Henry, who also suffered from Asperger’s and who, very sadly and unexpectedly, died about a year ago from a brain aneurism. Henry had a 160 IQ and if he wasn’t a genius, he was pretty close. But, like the character Alex, he could also be terribly impractical. Alex plays an important part in the book as he is the only one smart enough to understand the true meaning of some of the clues left behind by Einstein. I won’t say more for fear of giving some of the plot away, but I think in almost every thriller involving riddles there is some character – usually a computer genius – who’s main purpose is to easily solve some plot problems that it would take too long for the main characters to work out. So, I make no claims to originality with this, but, will say that the portrayal of someone with Asperger’s is based on my real experiences.
Dmitri is an experienced Russian agent who is on assignment by the Russian foreign service to find Einstein’s trunk. As I developed that character I really grew to like him. He’s not a bad guy. He has a code he lives by and a good sense of humor, but he’s pretty rough and tough – a good foil for Rulon. He’s been around the block quite a few times, but he’s not a thug and even has a loving wife and daughter. A pretty normal guy doing a rough job. I developed him that way because, while I had to have villains in the book, I didn’t want the bad guys to be all bad. I've mentioned before that it was important for me that, despite being a work of fiction, the book be accurate. Accuracy in a novel means more than having accurate street names, it means, among other things, recognizing that human beings are complex and despite how we would like life to be, all the good guys aren't necessarily on the same side.
Next post will be about the accuracy of the background information - geography, Einstein's biography, science - found in Einstein's Trunk.