|“|| My name is David Charleston. I’m not one of the Reckoners, but I intend to join them. I have something they need. Something precious, something incredible. Not an object, but an experience. I know his secret. |
"I’ve seen Steelheart bleed."
When David was eight, his father took him to a bank to talk to a mortgage man. He was shown watching the people walk in and interact until his father rebuked him. He waited for a bit until his father was sufficiently distracted, before turning around and continuing to do so. Mr. Charleston was debating with the mortgage man about the amount of money on the table before the conversation turned. He proceeds to give an argument about how Epics were here to save humankind.
While this is going on, an Epic with the power to kill anyone he points at, Deathpoint, walks in. No one thinks anything of him before he kills a random woman. There is a silence depicted before havoc starts. Deathpoint continues to kill people while David watches in shock. A few people escaped if they were lucky.
Stopping his killing spree for a moment, Deathpoint takes the time to give a speech about why he was robbing the bank, before turning and pointing his finger at the mortgage man behind David. Panicked, David is told to sit still while his father darts to pick up a gun. Before Deathpoint can threaten Mr. Charleston, Steelheart enters the bank.
Deathpoint tries to kill Steelheart but fails, and when Steelheart's back is turned, Deathpoint would have succeeded if Mr.Charleston hadn't shot him. The bullet, however, grazes Steelheart's cheek and draws blood. Steelheart is shocked while Mr. Charleston tried to apologize, but to no avail, as Steelheart crushes his chest.
David is portrayed as heartbroken, and a blast of energy yanks him onto the floor. He crawls over to his father but is told to go. He ran away, but was diverted from his course and ends up in a bank vault. As the vault is actually steel, while the building crumbles, the vault remains safe. When a wreckage worker finds him, she tells him to pretend to be dead. He runs off soon after, and Faultline is shown opening the earth and burying all the rescue workers, corpses, and other survivors.
- Main article: Steelheart (Book)
10 years after the events that left David homeless, he is now living in Newcago, which was Chicago, and ruled by Steelheart. David has been living in the dark for all these 10 years, with one thing on his mind. Revenge. He has spent all his life categorizing, and trying to kill epics. He also knows that he cannot kill the Epics without the help of the Reckoners, an elite group of fighters that kill off epics. He seemingly got information about one of their missions, and he interferes with one of their attacks. He meets with the Reckoner group, which consists of Tia, Prof, Cody, Abraham, and Megan (the newest member of the group). He tries first to enlist into the group, and become one of them, but was straight out rejected. When the team, led by Prof, was about to leave, David reveals that he has seen Steelheart bleed, which stops Prof in his tracks. The team accepts him, with Cody in the lead of accepting him into the team. David aids the team in taking down Steelheart, making the Epic explode himself using a trap laid by David and Abraham. These actions earn him the nickname 'Steelslayer,'
:Main article: Firefight (Book)
After the death of Steelheart, multiple Epics have attempted to attack Newcago, all of which were defeated by the Reckoner team. David joins Prof in traveling to New York City (now called Babylon Restored, or Babilar), after connecting the recent attacks to the Epic in control of the region, Regalia. Upon his arrival, David was daunted by the water that Regalia had flooded the city with, finding it to be one of his fears. The duo linked up with the Reckoner group currently there, and began the preperations to take out Regalia. During this time, David learns how to use the spyril, a water-jetpack made with a motivator from the Epic Waterlog. He also learns that Megan, also known as Firefight, is alive. He spends most of the book attempting to abolish the darkness from inside her, proving to Prof that Epics can be brought back from it. To David's dissapointment, Prof was only using him to get to, and kill, Firefight, and that David had no other reason for being in Babilar. Prof then trapped David inside the Reckoner base, forcing David to call upon Regalia to help him escape. Regalia had presented him to Calamity, who David found was an entity and not an object. Calamity attempted to make David an epic, but David resisted by focusing on the waters below, which he feared. He rejected Calamity and escaped supposidly without powers. Later on, he learns the secret to an Epic's weakness lies in their fears, as confirmed by Obliteration.
- Main article: Calamity (Book)
At the end of the book Calamity, David is somewhat reunited with his father due to Megan's dimension abilities and Calamity gives him, "appropriately," the powers of Steelheart.