You have probably heard the assertion that there are really only a few stories, and every story is just a variation on one of them. They will usually list several of them, starting with, “boy meets girl.”

One story pattern that is never mentioned is, “protagonist stubbornly sticks to some principle through to the end.”

Payback is a story about a criminal who is betrayed by his partner and his wife, screwed out of his $70,000 share of the heist, and left for dead. He goes to extreme lengths, killing most of his enemies and risking his own life, just to get his $70,000 back.

Gorky Park, and pretty much every novel in the series, is a story about a police detective in corrupt Russia, who just wants to solve a case now and then, even when his corrupt boss orders him not to, even if it means risking his job, his life, his freedom, his sanity, and/or his love.

The Jack Bull (I haven’t actually seen this one, but after reading the synopsis, maybe I should) is a horse trader who ends up in a battle with a wealthy land owner over a matter of five dollars and the treatment of some horses, losing his wife and ultimately being hanged in the process.

On Basilisk Station, and every novel in he Honor Harrington series, is a story of a space warship captain who sticks to her principles, even when doing so will cost her (which it does, in every novel, until she is vindicated in the end).

John Wick is a story of a retired hit man who goes after the people who killed his dog, even if he has to kill everyone else to get to them.