For ages the question has been asked: Who stands up to pain better—men or women? Sorry, guys, but the answer is usually women. After all, women are built to tolerate childbirth. However, it is my belief that anyone of either gender who is deeply dedicated to the cause that subjects them to pain is more likely to suffer such abuse in silence.

One proof of this “mind over matter”, and therefore over pain, is the placebo effect. Whatever you believe will relieve your pain WILL in fact. The placebo effect has been the subject of numerous studies and has been proven true.

In True Son of Tartarus, the suffering Malkis endures is bearable only because of his deep desire to prove himself, once and for all, a “True Son” of Ahn-eld. By sheer will-power, in the true Tartarian fashion, he is able to endure for his cause.

Unfortunately, our society has come down on the side of “all suffering is bad”. But suffering has the ability to change a human being, for good or ill. Understandably, you can end up hating your torturers and wishing them dead—or worse. Or you can bring yourself to forgive them and spare their lives. Again, this raises the issue of choice.

As a result of his ordeal, Malkis becomes a better person, a better ruler, a more understanding and compassionate person. Oh, he doesn’t change overnight. His evolution takes time and much meditation. You won’t see the full extent of this change until the end of Book 3 of the Tartarus Trilogy—but it’s worth waiting for!