The Warlock by Michael Scott
I read from page 77 to page 225 of this book this week.
I found the following dialogue interesting:
Billy nodded. “I respect a man who keeps his word. Just make sure you’re keeping it for the right reason.”
Machiavelli leaned forward and his iron-hard fingers bit into Billy’s shoulder. The Italian fixed his eyes on Billy’s. “No, you must make sure you’re breaking it for the right reason.”
When Machiavelli was talking to Billy about this, they were travelling through the sewers to meet Nereus. Machiavelli had promised his master to release the many monsters Nereus kept into San Francisco. Billy admired someone who kept his word, but Machiavelli had no judgement whether what he was doing was right or not. Machiavelli only knew that if he thought that what he was doing was wrong, he would break his promise. He wouldn’t keep it just because it was a means for his own goals, or because it was advantageous to him. He would keep it because he said he would.
I enjoyed this quote because of how it develops Machiavelli’s character. On the surface, he may seem like just one of Dee’s cohorts, when in reality he’s a man driven by his word. The only reason that he was planning to release the monsters on the inhabitants of San Francisco is because he promised to. Billy on the other hand, sees a promise as something that is kept because you agree with it, not something that is kept because you said you would keep it. Machiavelli knows that not all promises can be kept, but instead of blaming the person who he promised to, he blames himself. In his case, if he truly thought that releasing the monsters was wrong, he would break the promise. It’s not as if he was keeping it because he planned to kill the people living in the city, he was keeping it because he said he would, and he would only break it for the right reason.