When Wylan was eight, Van Eck had his wife, Marya, stripped of the Van Eck name, declared insane, and committed to an asylum at Saint Hilde in Olendaal. He told Wylan—and the Kerch public—that Marya had become sick, went to the country, and died; he refused to let his son attend her funeral.
Van Eck made it increasingly clear that Wylan, who could not read or write, was not valued in his household. Several years after the "death" of Marya, Van Eck married a pretty young bride named Alys. When Alys became pregnant with a new heir, Van Eck devised a plan to kill off Wylan. He told Wylan he was to go to music school in Belendt for "as long as it takes people to forget [he] had a son." In fact, he instructed two of his guards to kill Wylan on the boat to Belendt. Wylan survived and tried to hide in the Barrel. At some point, Van Eck discovered the boarding house where Wylan was staying and sent mocking letters to his son, knowing Wylan could not read them.
When the Merchant Council received Bo Yul-Bayur's message requesting asylum, Van Eck began buying up jurda fields in Novyi Zem, hoping to profit when the release of jurda parem increased demand for jurda.
Six of Crows
At Councilman Hoede's boathouse, Van Eck watches Hoede test jurda parem on the Grisha indenture Anya. Van Eck is apprehensive about the drug's effect on a Corporalnik; indeed, the test gives Anya the power to control the minds of the guards and Hoede before she escapes.
The next week, Van Eck's Tidemaker indenture, Mikka, kidnaps Kaz Brekker and brings him to Hoede's house. Van Eck offers Kaz a job on behalf of the Merchant Council, and the two philosophize until Kaz frees himself from his shackles and holds Van Eck hostage with a letter opener. Van Eck explains jurda parem and asks Kaz to retrieve its creator, Bo Yul-Bayur, from the Ice Court. Kaz laughs, but agrees to hear more when Van Eck offers 20 million kruge. Certain that Kaz is the one who stole his DeKappel six months prior, Van Eck chose the young thief because Kaz is nearly impossible to catch. Van Eck shows Kaz the nonresponsive guards in Hoede's boathouse and explains the effects of a Corporalnik's mind control. Kaz agrees to the job for 30 million kruge and leaves, having stolen Van Eck's ruby tie pin.
Van Eck meets Kaz's crew on Vellgeluk to exchange Bo Yul-Bayur's son, Kuwei Yul-Bo, for 30 million kruge. However, Van Eck reveals that he planned to kill Kaz and his crew after they delivered him the scientist, and that the Merchant Council was never involved. He wanted the formula for parem to wreak economic havoc on the world market and reap profits for himself in the ensuing international war.
Van Eck orders his Tidemakers to crush the Crows' ship, but stops when Kaz informs him Wylan is on board. Van Eck reveals that he disowned Wylan because he cannot read, then destroys the ship believed to contain his son. However, Kaz reveals that Wylan is with them on Vellgeluk, tailored to look exactly like Kuwei Yul-Bo—and that Van Eck does not have Kuwei. Enraged, Van Eck orders his Grisha to kill everyone except Kaz. He notices Kaz cares about Inej Ghafa and has his Squallers capture Inej, then gives Kaz one week to deliver him the real Kuwei or he will torture Inej and destroy Kaz. Van Eck leaves the Crows on Vellgeluk, cheated out of their money and missing Inej.
Van Eck keeps Inej in an abandoned theater on the island Eil Komedie, where his indenture Adem Bajan takes care of her. When Inej escapes her cell through an air shaft, Van Eck is waiting for her. He asks her for the location of the Dregs' safehouses so he can find Kuwei Yul-Bo and prepares to torture her when she refuses. Van Eck suggests breaking Inej's legs with a mallet, but refrains when Inej tells him Kaz will not trade Kuwei for Inej if she cannot climb.
He asks her again the next night, then reveals his plan to lure Kaz to Eil Komedie using her as bait. Rather than come for Inej, however, Kaz kidnaps his pregnant wife Alys and sends a note to Van Eck requesting an exchange. Furious, Van Eck once more threatens Inej, but Inej reminds him that Kaz will kill Alys and his unborn child if Van Eck harms her. She breaks his nose and leaves him terrified for the life of his heir.
At noon, Van Eck brings Inej, hooded and shackled, and a constituent of his household guards to the exchange on Goedmedbridge. Remembering the tailoring of Wylan as Kuwei, Van Eck asks Alys questions to determine she is his real wife, then Kaz and Van Eck exchange Alys and Inej. Before Kaz can leave, Van Eck reveals he called in the stadwatch, claiming Kaz kidnapped his son Wylan as well. However, he fails to catch Kaz in the ensuing chaos Kaz causes on West Stave. Shaken by Kaz's capture of his wife and heir, Van Eck agrees to an alliance with Pekka Rollins.
Kaz and Wylan break into Van Eck's house, then destroy the floor of his office with acid and land on the dining table during Van Eck's merchant dinner. Van Eck tries to stop them, but they escape. He has the stadwatch deputize the gangs of the Barrel, who parade across the city, seeking the bounty on Kaz, his crew, and Kuwei.
Van Eck accompanies Karl Dryden to a meeting with the jurda farmer Johannus Rietveld at the Geldrenner Hotel to discuss investing in his jurda consortium. (Unbeknownst to Van Eck, Johannus Rietveld is played by Colm Fahey, and the fund is a fake created by Kaz in order to con money from the Merchant Council.) Nina Zenik, playing the role of Rietveld's multilingual assistant, mentions the mysterious Kerch man buying up jurda farms, putting Van Eck on the defensive. Van Eck and Dryden agree to contribute to Rietveld's fund the next day. Before he leaves, Nina once again forces Van Eck on the defensive by mentioning his missing son Wylan.
On the day of Kuwei Yul-Bo's public auction, Anika and Keeg, disguised as Dime Lions, kidnap Wylan and take him to Van Eck in one of the chapels at the Church of Barter. Van Eck asks Wylan what Kaz is planning, but Wylan refuses, spits in his face, and reveals he knows Marya is still alive. Van Eck then watches as the Dime Lions beat Wylan, who eventually tells him that Kaz created the Rietveld fund to funnel money for the auction to the Ravkans.
Secure in his knowledge, Van Eck attends the auction. When the Council of Tides arrives and declares the auction a sham, Van Eck enthusiastically agrees that a false fund was created to funnel money to the Ravkans. However, the lead Tidemaker reveals the fund was created by Johannus Rietveld and Jan Van Eck to funnel money to the Shu. Van Eck tries to tell the Council that Kaz Brekker kidnapped his wife and son, but has no proof Alys was kidnapped by Kaz, and Wylan appears in the church. Kaz tells the Council that he tried to negotiate with Van Eck for Kuwei's indenture, thus explaining his presence at Van Eck's house the night of the merchant's dinner. Dryden realizes Van Eck was the secret Kerch buyer of jurda farms in Novyi Zem, and Jellen Radmakker officially declares the auction compromised.
Ketterdam's plague siren begins to ring, Kuwei Yul-Bo is shot and killed on the stage, and the delegates from other countries leave the Church of Barter. Van Eck, loudly protesting, is arrested. Rising to Kaz's taunts, Van Eck reveals he wrote Wylan out of his will, then Wylan's inability to read, to the shock of the Council members. Wylan, using his excellent memory for voice, appears to read a Transfer of Authority document. Van Eck is shocked and claims this boy is not Wylan, furthering the Council's belief in his insanity. He is dragged from the church and arrested.
Later, Van Eck's accounts are investigated and his connections to the jurda farms, the false fund, the sabotage to his own sugar silos, and the break-in at the Ice Court are revealed. Wylan, the inheritor of the Van Eck empire, provided a small fund for his legal representation, but Van Eck is expected to remain in jail for a very long time.
Personality and traits
Van Eck is extremely faithful to the Kerch god of commerce, Ghezen. He is offended by blasphemy, tithes regularly, continually attempts to clean up the Barrel, and considers the wealth of his empire a sign of Ghezen's favor. He prioritizes the reputation of the Van Eck name above family, confining his wife to an asylum and attempting to kill his son in order to preserve the Van Eck empire.
Van Eck is intelligent and cunning, able to devise complicated plots to maximize his profit and match wits with Kaz Brekker. He is cruel and does not value the lives of those he views as "lesser," i.e. those who are not wealthy and industrious. He is also given to bragging about his achievements, which becomes his downfall.
Van Eck has the prosperous look of a merchant, with a gaunt but handsome face and a receding hairline. He has bright, clear blue eyes that are devoid of any kindness. He is built leaner than his son Wylan, but there is a family resemblance. He wears the "perfectly cut frock coat and vest of all Kerch merchants—dark, refined, deliberately staid." Since the Van Eck crest is the red laurel, he carries a gold laurel pocket watch and wears a massive ruby tie pin. His household colors are red and gold.
- Jan Van Eck is pronounced yahn van ek.
- Jan Van Eck is an allusion to the Flemish painter Jan van Eyck.
|Main Characters||Kaz Brekker • Inej Ghafa • Jesper Fahey • Nina Zenik • Matthias Helvar • Wylan Van Eck • Kuwei Yul-Bo • Jan Van Eck • Pekka Rollins|
|Minor Characters||Joost • Anya • Emil Retvenko • Councilman Hoede • Geels • Bo Yul-Bayur • Per Haskell • Tante Heleen • Jordie Rietveld • Specht • Rotty • Jarl Brum • Cornelis Smeet • Adem Bajan • Colm Fahey • Aditi Hilli • Alys Van Eck • Marya Hendriks • Zoya Nazyalensky • Sturmhond • Genya Safin • Dunyasha Lazareva • Anika • Pim • Keeg • Roeder • Karl Dryden • Jellen Radmakker|
|Locations||Ketterdam • The Barrel • Hellgate • Ice Court • Djerholm • Black Veil Island • Kerch • Fjerda • Ravka • Novyi Zem • Shu Han • Wandering Isle|
|Groups||The Dregs • Dime Lions • Black Tips • Stadwatch • Grisha • Drüskelle • The Menagerie • House of the White Rose • Merchant Council • Council of Tides • Khergud Soldiers|
|Events||Hringkälla • Hellshow • Queen's Lady Plague • Komedie Brute|
|Miscellaneous||Jurda • Jurda parem • Kefta • Indenture • Djel • Ghezen|