|Born||~18 years before Steelheart|
|Featured In||The Reckoners|
”I’ve seen Steelheart bleed. And I will see him bleed again.— David Charleston.
David Charleston, an orphaned teen living in Newcago, is a member of the Reckoners on Earth. After his father was killed by the notoriously godlike High Epic, Steelheart, all David could think about was revenge. In order to enact his revenge, David compiled an insurmountable amount of information on Epics, including their history, abilities, and weaknesses. He would later join the Reckoners, a group of ordinary people that are humanity's only chance of combating the Epics, and concoct a plan in taking Steelheart once and for all. After successfully taking down the High Epic, all David had to worry about was all the other Epics wreaking havoc.
David was a child living with his widowed father when Calamity occurred. All he and his father had to worry about were typical financial problems, when Calamity appeared. When David was eight years old, he witnessed his father, Blain Charleston, being murdered by the High Epic Steelheart on the Day of Annexation. After a short time living homeless and alone in the city of Newcago, David was taken in by Havendark Factory, where he, along with many other children (including Roy), worked in exchange for food and board. During this time David became obsessed with researching Epics and finding their weaknesses, particularly that of Steelheart.
Tracking the Reckoners
David manages to track down the Reckoners, a rebel group fighting against the Epics, and finds Megan Tarash, a member of the Reckoners, in Newcago. David encountered Megan while the Reckoner was planning a hit on the High Epic, Fortuity. When another Epic named Curveball appeared, David assumed that the plan was going awry and he intervened, ruining the entire plan. After Megan and David take down the two Epics, Megan takes the eager newcomer to her team. David eventually convinces them to let him join. He tells them that he had seen Steelheart bleed, and convinces them to target Steelheart next.
Making their Move
After planning the hit, David manages to integrate himself into the group and befriend all of the members of the group.
He later finds out that Megan was an Epic named Firefight, an Epic with reincarnation and "fire-based powers" that was part of Steelheart's innermost circle.
The Fall of Steelheart
While fighting Steelheart, Prof comes to aid David, revealing that he himself was a struggling High Epic trying to remain sane. Together, the Reckoners successfully execute a plan which results in the destruction of Steelheart's government and the eventual death of Steelheart himself.
After the death of Steelheart, the Reckoners have to defend the city of Newcago against Epics from another place in the world. An Epic with replicating powers known as Mitosis arrives in Newcago and confronts David after hearing that he had killed Steelheart. Upon fighting Mitosis, David realizes that Epic weaknesses always have to deal in some way with the Epic's past.
Journey to Babilar
The Reckoners learn that Epics, including Mitosis, were being sent to Newcago by a High Epic known as Regalia in Babilar, formerly New York City; so David, Prof, and Tia travel to Babilar to take on Regalia; but David's primary reason for going to the city is to find Megan after hearing that she killed a Reckoner based in Babilar known as Sam. Throughout the book, David struggles with finding a new purpose and changing his perspective on Epics after meeting Prof, Megan, and even Dawnslight, an Epic responsible for the nourishment of the people residing in Babilar.
A Familiar Face
In Babilar, David meets more members of the Reckoners and finds Megan camping out in the city. There, David learns that Megan is illusory powers are really reality warping powers and that she struggles to fight the corruption resulting from the use of her powers. After sharing intimate moments with Megan, a bond between to the grow and a potential romantic relationship begins to bud.
Regalia reveals to David that Calamity is really an Epic or some sort of higher being that gifts people with powers and attempts to turn him into an Epic. Because David refuses to accept the powers and confronts his fear of the ocean, Regalia believes she failed to turn him into an Epic. She then reveals to David that she intends to make Prof succumb to the corruption of his powers so he can succeed her. This, with Megan's revelation of her fear and weakness to fire, leads David to the conclusion that confronting your fears can fight the corruption resulting from your Epic powers.
An Unexpected Twist
David eventually succeeds in bringing down Regalia and Newton, another High Epic in Babilar, but loses Megan after Prof lures her into a burning building to "save" David. After repeatedly convincing Prof to accept his Epic status and that he too can fight the corruption, Prof fails and wreaks havoc. Prof's destruction leads to the deaths of both Val and Exel. Because Megan confronted her fears by running into the burning building, her death was not permanent and she manages to save David.
With Prof turned, David must lead the Reckoners on a desperate chase to recall their mentor, destroy Calamity, and save the world. David comes to the conclusion that not all Epics are evil and adopts a philosophy similar to the Faithful. The book begins with David, now the leader of the Reckoners, leading them through a mission to steal equipment from Knighthawk to fight Prof. There, David reveals that he intends not to kill his former leader, but free him from the corruption and use him to fight Calamity. He eventually attempts to save Tia from Prof but this leads to Prof accidentally killing her. In his final face off with Prof, he and Megan find out that Prof's weakness is failure and manages to defeat him. Obliteration teleports David to Calamity's glass base in space. David later finds out that he himself is actually an Epic with Steelheart's powers but he subconsciously blocked his ability to use them. He uses his powers to save Prof, Megan, and himself from crashing to Earth after defeating Calamity. After Calamity's possible death, Epics no longer go dark and David shows his acceptance of the powers gifted to him.
Up through most of Firefight, David had no superhuman abilities and fought using a rifle and tensors.
After Firefight and beyond, when David was approached by Calamity at the urging of Regalia, David had the Epic Powers of Steelheart. These powers came with an Epic Weakness unique to David.
- Wind Manipulation: David can move anything in the wind, including himself.
- Steel Transfersion: David can turn almost anything into steel.
- Impenetrable skin: Nothing can pierce David's skin.
- Super Strength: That ability David is still developing.
- Energy Beams: Like Steelheart, David can project energy beams from his hands that can vaporize people and melt steel with ease.
- The Ocean: David used to fear the depths, but not too much anymore; practically what David describes an uneasy truce. It was revealed that this weakness was augmented by Calamity as David had not even had this fear before the Epic attempted to turn David into a Epic.
- According to Megan, David's bad metaphors are actually bad similes.
- David vastly prefers rifles to handguns.
- In the parallel universe from which Megan pulls Firefight, David was killed by his father, potentially on the Day of Annexation.
- David hates being called a nerd and has an infatuation with Megan Tarash.
- David runs point most of the time.
- David has killed many Epics, including Mitosis, Instabam, Sourcefield, Steelheart, Regalia, Newton, Loophole, Wiper, and maybe Calamity.
| The Reckoners|
Steelheart · (Mitosis) · Firefight · Calamity
|Characters||David Charleston · Megan Tarash · Jonathan Phaedrus|
|Places||Newcago · Babilar · Ildithia|
|Reckoners||Abraham · Cody · Exel · Mizzy · Tia · Valentine · Sam|
|Epics||Calamity · Conflux · Faultline · Firefight · Fortuity · Nightwielder · Obliteration · Regalia · Steelheart · Loophole|
|Other||Faithful · Coven · Great Transfersion|