I've been looking into the matter at the local library, mostly just skimming through a broad range of revolts, insurrections and rebellions throughout history, and the VAST majority of what I've been finding has been 'and then [governing power] summarily throttled [belligerent insurgents].' There aren't typically details beyond that. I've also been looking at Machiavellian discourse, and Robert Greene's more contemporary The Prince-esque The 48 Laws of Power, and The 33 Strategies of War. Like the aforementioned books, Hagakure and Go Rin No Sho (The Book of Five Rings) have been fascinating, but not really helpful.
So I turn to you, since I'm out of ideas.
I've been backed into a corner with a collaborative writing effort. This is a medieval/fantasy sort of setting, and I'm writing a character caught somewhere between Al Capone (in terms of criminal organization) and Robin Hood, to broadly overgeneralize. (To complicate this more, he is physically a little like a taller, skinnier Rufus Wainwright without-the-highly-questionable-early-Ja
SO. He runs his secret criminal organization, la la la, all is sunshine dust and buttercups in the underground (except for, you know, that pesky problem of violence and malnutrition). Except! There is some sort of subversive figure who has been whispering seductive lies in the ears of the impressionable, and Sir Capone of Locksley is aware of this. The puppeteer is in the background, anonymous, and their motivation hasn't been defined. The other writer has made it sadistically clear that there is a very carefully orchestrated chain of command which will turn up leadless every time, should anyone try and follow it. I interpreted this as, 'enjoy stabbing fruitlessly at the advisor behind the curtains, Hammie.'
Being neither a thirty-something year old criminal, a leader or a political strategist, I feel somewhat ill-equipped to handle this. I turned to the books and the Internet, neither helped. I suspect I'm using the wrong search queries, or I'm just ignorant about pertinent historical examples to draw from.
As you might have gathered from my dismay about only finding violent responses, I'm kind of hesitant to have him respond, 'SMACK DOWN, BIZNATCHES!'
Can anyone point me toward an appropriate historical source to draw from? Time period and place doesn't matter, it's really the strategy I'm after. Heck, I'd be willing to take a similar fictional scenario, or anything that might be remotely useful. Or maybe there's a 'duh!' solution to the problem that I just don't see.
My sincere and cheerful thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this and/or offer any leads.