|“||Dominic Royce had only joined the FCO a few weeks before. He was very much a cold fish, with no close friends. When he walked into a room, people fell silent - or, if they could, found an excuse to leave. It was said that the Foreign Secretary was terrified of him, and that when he went to Downing Street, even the Prime Minister pretended to be out.||”|
—Royce is first introduced, along with his intimidating demeanour.
|“||Dominic Royce was sitting behind a desk so enormous that it reduced him to the size of a schoolboy. He was a small man anyway, thin, with a long narrow face, grey eyes and grey lips. His hair was very black, neatly combed back and a little greasy. He was wearing an old-fashioned pinstripe suit and round, wire-framed glasses that perched hesitantly on his upturned nose. He was clean-shaven and, from his looks, Mrs Jones would have guessed that he was in his late forties. But there was no need to guess. She never went to a meeting without learning everything about everyone in the room, and she knew that he was actually forty-three years old, educated at Eton and Cambridge, married with two sons who were also at Eton. He'd inherited millions of pounds from his father, who had inherited millions more from his. He owned several properties, including a flat in Pimlico and a huge country house with twenty acres of land just outside Salisbury. At the weekend, he liked to go shooting. Birds, rabbits, deer - anything that moved.||”|
—Royce's physical description.
Dominic Royce was the former Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He is a major antagonist in Nightshade. His office is located in the headquarters of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the government ministry in charge of MI5 and MI6; therefore, he is Tulip Jones's boss.
Royce first appears in Nightshade in Part One: Genesis: The End of Alex, reprimanding Mrs Jones (who has been summoned to his office) because she has been using Alex Rider as an active MI6 agent and she had 'endangered his life'. He gives strict orders to never use Alex again. Mrs Jones defies this, sending Alex to infiltrate Nightshade to stop the impending terrorist attack on London and to find her missing children, William and Sofia Jones.
Throughout the chapters, his assistant Owen Andrews tries to uncover where Alex is and what happened to him. In Part 2: Exodus: La Máquina, he is looking at a report about a breakout in HMS Secure Unit in Gibraltar. Owen learns that Frederick Grey and a second inmate who appears as [name withheld] (who turns out to be Alex undercover as Julius Grief) have escaped. He suspects that MI6 were doing something, so he hacks John Crawley's computer to find out.
In Part 3: Numbers: Rogue Operation, Royce finds out about Mrs Jones using Alex again, so he interrupts her briefing with Jack Starbright, who is worried because MI6 can't find Alex, who is, at this point, at Nightshade's base in Crete. He shows her the evidence Owen has gathered, and tells her he is closing down MI6 and putting her and Crawley under house arrest. After this, Crawley threatens Owen, saying "Not today, not tomorrow but one day, quite soon, I'm going to come and find you and I'm going to make sure you regret this for the rest of your life."
In Part 4: Revelation: A Few Loose Ends, after Alex has stopped the terrorist threat, Mrs Jones briefs Royce about what happened, what Nightshade did and how Alex stopped them. After this, Royce tells her that he had given Owen a week's vacation to Costa Rica to reward him for his service; unfortunately, he has been arrested for drug smuggling, having been found unconscious, on the beach, with five hundred grams of cocaine under the cape of a Batman costume. When Royce asks Mrs Jones about this, she said it was arranged by Crawley, as revenge for hacking his computer. He gets furious but Mrs Jones interrupts him, saying that she knows the truth. She provides evidence, such as a check for $20,000,000 and the fact that the teachers referred to their client as "the Doctor", since his initials are DR.
Royce tries to defend his actions, by describing Parliament and its Members as useless, with "a government that doesn't know how to govern, and an opposition that is mean, stupid and vile". He says that Parliament won't address what he believes are the major problems of the world - climate change, plastic in the oceans, poverty, famine, etc. - and that their careers are more important than the issues that they were elected. It was this, and their childish squabbling, that convinced Royce that they all had to die, in order to allow the younger generation to take over, and effect real change. Unable to attack Parliament at its Houses due to their high protection, Royce contacted Nightshade and arranged everything in their attack: the death of former politician James, Lord Clifford (to bring Parliament out into the open), the public funeral (to show what he describes as "the biggest attack on British soil since the Blitz"), the use of Alex as Julius Grief as a distraction for the security forces.
He is sent to Gibraltar Maximum security prison for planning to kill the British Government and Treason.
|“||It was a wake-up call. You probably won't understand, Mrs Jones, but I was doing it for the good of the country. (Mrs Jones: You're right, I don't understand.) Then let me explain. Our politicians are completely useless! We have a government that doesn't know how to govern, and an opposition that is mean, stupid and vile! Every day, when I look at Parliament, I see grown-ups behaving like children! They shout at each other, they're vain and self-interested. There are huge issues facing the world: global warming, plastic in the oceans, poverty, famine. But they behave as if it's actually them and their careers that are more important. I don't know where they all come from or how they got into power, but they have to go! It's been my dream: wipe the lot of them out and start again! The average age of an MP in this country is fifty, Mrs Jones. Fifty! There's a whole generation out there who can make the world a better place, but before they can do that, we have to get rid of the people who stand in their way, and that was I reached out to Nightshade. I would have liked to put a canister of VX into Parliament, but that's impossible; it's too well-protected. Somehow, I had to get all the politicians out into the open. I had to persuade them to go somewhere I could reach them more easily. And then, I had an idea for a memorial service. Lord Clifford was hugely popular. If he was dead, all the MPs would come to his memorial service, giving me the chance to get every one of them. Can you imagine, how wonderful it would be if we could start afresh? (Mrs Jones: It wasn't just politicians in St Paul's. You'd have killed thousands of innocent people.) I was sorry about that, but it would have been the biggest attack on Great Britain since the Blitz. It would have brought us all together. It would have reminded us that we need to fight for our future. All I wanted to do was to make Britain Great again!||”|
—Royce rants about his motives and justifications.
Descriptions, appearance and habits
Royce is written as being forty-three years old, with black hair, grey eyes, an upturned nose, and grey lips. He is hated, feared and respected by everybody around him; he has a negative effect on the Foreign Secretary and even the Prime Minister himself. His underlings fall silent in his presence or try to leave when in his presence.
Royce is described as being a rich man (inheriting millions through his paternal ancestors), owning several properties, including a Pimlico apartment and a huge country estate near Salisbury; the latter is presumably the family home. One of his favourite pastimes, to show his wealth, is shooting.
Although absolutely convinced that killing all of Parliament is the best way to effect change on the world and unite the country, Royce does show remorse over Nightshade possibly killing innocents at Lord Clifford's memorial service, including priests, choristers, royalty and television crews.