Sanders is a tough minded and self-reliant individual — someone who has survived the dangers of The Death's aftermath by relying on his instincts. Like many in the area, Sanders concern is with the scattered community around him – visitors and strangers come a poor second. He has little time for sentimentality, and calls things how he sees them.
When he first encounters Charles, he is suspicious and dismissive. His concern is triggered not by the lure of the automatic rifles which Charles offers as a bribe, but on learning that the patient in need of treatment is neighbour and local trader Fenton. When he discovers Fenton's true condition, he is furious at Charles for putting everyone at risk from infection. However, he focuses his anger on solving the problem that Fenton now poses. It is Sanders who takes charge of the group's return to the half-way house, and he who instructs Charles on how to subdue Fenton with the icy river water. Sanders knows that there is no saving Fenton, and it is he who fires the first rifle shot intended to kill him.
With Fenton dead, Sanders turns his attention to Charles — and to the risk that he now poses as a potential rabies carrier. His decision to execute Charles is driven by entirely practical considerations of self-preservation. He takes no pleasure in what he sees as the inevitable, and even — in a rare moment of compassion — urges Charles to accept that the alternative to a swift execution, during which he'll "feel nothing", would that much worse for him. The death sentence might appear callous, but it is not sadistic, nor motivated by cruelty.
When Charles escapes and flees, it is Sanders who leads the relentless pursuit to recapture him. Having calculated the risk, he has no intention of giving up on the chase, and drives his hunting party onwards in the days that follow — searching back and forward across the area, and spreading news of Charles' plight. Even after Charles has evaded him, and clearly left the area, Sanders does not relent — urging travellers to keep an eye out for the suspected rabies' carrier. A warning which returns to threaten Charles in the events of Bridgehead...
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