The Ace / Literature

  • If Finn and Blake are to be believed, Cal from Abominable could be described this way. Finn's doubles as a Badass Boast for himself.
    "Seriously?" Finn was saying, his voice deeper than I had expected. "Cal is literally the only person in this town more dangerous than me."
  • In-universe, Jake from Animorphs is seen as this. Whether or not he actually qualifies is a little more ambiguous.
  • The Aristoi are selected (as their name implies) on the basis of being a group of Aces. They're all Omnidisciplinary Scientists, artistic geniuses, and charismatic leaders.
  • John Galt of Atlas Shrugged, complete with one of the longest monologues ever written.
  • Amanda 'The School Swot' Tweedle from the novel Blonde Genius and related short stories by J.T. Edson. She is better at most of her subjects than her teachers.
  • BGQG has Reiji who placed at the top of his class.
  • Buck in The Call of the Wild. He's strong, bold, intelligent, clever, patient, and just about whatever else he needs to be to thrive in his harsh conditions. Over the course of the story he kills the alpha sled dog, leads the sled pack, pulls a 1,000 lb sled, kills a bull moose by himself, slaughters an entire band of Native Americans and outfights in entire wolf pack to become their alpha. By the end of the story, he's a legendary figure.
  • Appleby in Catch-22 is good at everything he puts his hand to. He's handsome and charismatic and everybody likes him. Yossarian hates that son of a bitch.
  • Franco Rocafirme, from Conciencia y Voluntad is basically good at anything that he puts effort in. Specially combat, but also philosophy, leadership, conspiration, and more.
  • Discworld's Carrot Ironfoundersson. So much so that it was played for full shock effect when in The Fifth Elephant he challenged the Big Bad to a fair fight (a very foolish move in itself) and promptly got his ass handed to him.
  • Doc Savage was raised from birth to be the pinnacle of human physical and mental achievement.
  • In the Dreamblood Duology, Ehiru is repeatedly called Hananja's favourite and considered the best currently active Gatherer. He is the strongest, most graceful, most compassionate, incorruptible and absolutely devoted to Hananja and her law. He can also easily perform two Gatherings per night, which most Gatherers struggle with. Both the other Gatherers and his apprentice Nijiri look up to him.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Cedric Diggory is more of a textbook Ace in Goblet of Fire. Good-looking, popular, kind, and he is one of the best contestants in the Triwizard Tournament. Then he is killed in seconds upon confronting the villains.
    • Bill Weasly. He's a top Hogwarts student with 12 O.W.L.S, was a prefect, and later Head Boy. Appearance-wise, he was considered cool and handsome, and is much more pleasant and easygoing than his pompous younger brother, Percy, despite being as academically achieved.
    • Hermione is great at pretty much every branch of magic, save for Divination.
    • Dumbledore, who is considered the greatest sorcerer in the world and is the only person Voldemort is afraid of.
    • Lord Voldemort reciprocates every bit of fear in Dumbledore that he himself feels feels. Dumbledore goes as far to say that Voldemort probably is more powerful than himself.
      • A more straight example would be as his younger self in Tom Riddle, one of the most decorated students in the history of Hogwarts.
  • Lee Child's Jack Reacher.
  • Three words: Bond. James Bond. (The film version anyway; the literary version is somewhat more realistic.)
  • While on the subject of Star Wars, Kyp Durron averts The Ace, at least in I, Jedi. Yes, he grew up in a penal colony, where he was a slave. Yes, he is extremely powerful as a Jedi, rivaling Luke in raw talent alone. Then things go downhill: he gets possessed by the spirit of Exar Kun and goes on an anti-Empire rampage, killing his brother and twenty-five million innocents with the help of a superweapon. At the end of it, Luke lets him rejoin the Jedi after he breaks free, which causes Mara Jade and Keiran Halcyonnote  to resign as Jedi students.
  • Jeeves and Wooster: Jeeves spends ninety percent of his time pressing Bertie Wooster's shirts and solving his problems for him, yet somehow manages to be highly popular and sought-after, know everything about what's going on, and have a more active social life even than his master.
  • Carter (and, to a lesser extent, every other male protagonist) from John Carter of Mars.
  • Dirk Pitt from Clive Cussler's novels. Officially a marine engineer by trade, he also is an cunning action hero who has defeated the world-threatening schemes of a veritable menagerie of villains, made a number of discoveries that changed history and has little difficulty getting a Girl Of The Novel. I have not mentioned the nice collection of antique cars he owns, have I? ... I guess I just did.
  • Slim in Of Mice and Men.
  • Reno Bangs is this to Mina Davis in both Hungover and Handcuffed and Asshole Yakuza Boyfriend. She's nice about it, though, and that just makes Mina hate her all the more.
  • In The Princess Bride, Westley tracks down men on a secret mission and climbs a mountain with his bare hands before easily defeating a master swordsman at fencing, a giant at hand-to-hand combat, and a clever thief at a mind game. Later, through his skills and cunning he and Buttercup become the first people ever to survive the Fire Swamp, and in a physically weakened state after having been revived from the dead, he helps two other men storm a castle surrounded by sixty armed guards, all before bluffing his way out of a sword fight with a man dead-set on killing him, which the man had done once before.
  • Ankoku, Aiden's Mahoka instructor in Rogue Sorcerer, is immensely powerful, to the point where she can easily overpower other masters.
  • The Reynard Cycle: Many, many examples. The crew of the Quicksilver in Reynard the Fox alone features folk who are all renowned for their excellence. Amongst the crew? The world's greatest archer, thief, strongman, swordsman, and psychopath.
  • Shadows of the Empire has Han Solo's Suspiciously Similar Substitute, Dash Rendar. He's a very good pilot and a very good shot, and he's ridiculously arrogant, though this does annoy some of the characters. Failing to destroy something he was shooting at actually causes a Heroic B.S.O.D. on his part, and then he shapes up a bit. He also appears in Galaxy of Fear.
    If Zak were in a normal mood, Dash Rendar would have been just the kind of person he'd want to meet. Zak had always been more of a thrill-seeker than his sister, and he could tell that adventures followed Dash Rendar like the tail on a comet. But Zak had done enough adventuring lately, and now Dash just looked like trouble.
  • Sir Derek And The Faeries: The titular Sir Derek is one, which is why no one in the king's court likes him.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Henry "Hank" Jellicoe is introduced in Game Over as this. He is in charge of Global Securities, an organization that is like the Vigilantes, but it spans the entire world. It has network even greater than Charles Martin's, and indeed Charles looks up to the man like no one else does. However, the books Cross Roads and Deja Vu reveal that Henry is actually a Broken Ace.
  • Asher in Someone Else's War is a walking, talking encyclopedia when it comes to exactly two topics: survival, and useless trivia.
  • Song at Dawn: Dragonetz is a famous warrior, a popular lady's man, and as a troubador he's second to none. This makes an expert at everything the court thinks is important.
  • Professor John Kenner of the Michael Crichton novel State of Fear: graduated from an MIT engineering course and a Harvard Law course both at higher than average speed, became a professor at MIT at 25 and still manages to be a hot-shot federal agent. Oh, and he is apparently able to quote geological surveys from memory. The only thing keeping him from being absolutely perfect is him at one point confessing he isn't good at languages and a major What an Idiot moment.
  • Jeff Raven of Anne McCaffrey's Tower and the Hive series: A "Wild Talent"note  from a boondocks colony no one had ever heard of until aliens attacked it. He first shows up — as a mental presence in the middle of The Rowan. By the end of the book, not only are he and the title character a couple (with a child), he's on the fast track to take over as head of Federated Teleport & Telepath — a position The Rowan had been considered for.
  • The Red Knight from The Traitor Son Cycle is a charismatic leader, brilliant tactician, educated scholar and one of the most powerful sorcerers of his generation. He's also very aware of all this, though the events of the series impact his self-confidence somewhat.
  • Lionblaze from Warrior Cats. He's an awesome at fighting, hunting, and everything else the Clans care about. Of course, it all comes from his secret invincibility powers. Whether or not he is ashamed about this varies depending on what point is his character development the series is at.
  • Tycho Celchu, an Ace Pilot of the X-Wing Series. He's a fairly major character, but never the main one, which is just as well since he could very easily become a Canon Sue, at least in the novels — in the comics he's one pilot out of twelve and mostly distinguishable because of his origin, his original hair-trigger temper, and his romance with Winter. He's an insanely good pilot, as a Force-Sensitive protagonist finds — so good that flying against him is apparently the hardest thing Corran has ever done, and he'd fought a Sith Lord not that long before — and gets a lot of praise from the people on his side, to the point where everyone on his side who doesn't think he's a double agent loves him. He's also a bit of a woobie in-universe and very, very popular out of it. This exchange, taken entirely out of context:
    Celchu: "I've been reviewing engineering records and damage statistics."
    Janson: "While we've been maneuvering?"
    Celchu: "Restraining myself so you could keep up with me left me plenty of time for intellectual pursuits. I also composed a symphony and drafted a plan to bring peace to the galaxy."
  • Any Heinlein hero you care to name
    • Lazarus Long a.k.a Woodrow Wilson Smith a.k.a The Senior from the Future History series is the Ace other Aces aspire to be, and a deconstruction of the trope.
    • Zeb and Jacob from The Number of the Beast
    • Oscar Gordon in Glory Road is another super-competent warrior-engineer. Rufo as well.
    • Colin Campbell in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. His all-around competence is unsurprising considering that Lazarus Long is his father
    • Nearly any Heinlein character who isn't an outright villain is an Ace, unless they're either "Fivers" or Comic Relief, and even some of those are hypercompetent in certain limited fields.
  • Doppelle of What Mad Universe by Fredric Brown. He also might be The Mary Sue, as a result of the universe resulting from a science fiction editor's musing of how a young fan of his, Joe Doppelberg, might conceive of the world working.
  • George Beard is established as this in the Captain Underpants book "The Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers." Within the span of five minutes, he outwits an auto mechanic who mocks a bullying victim, then intimidates the bullies into submission using only a tie — on his first day of kindergarten. He later masterminds the plan to humiliate and scare said bullies into reforming, and is only slightly fazed when he has to adapt his plans due to some lucky guesswork from Kipper.
  • Nancy Drew. She's only eighteen, but capable of pretty much anything—over the course of the books, she's a certified diver, master code breaker, Olympic-level equestrian and figure skater, actress who can memorize an entire part and go on stage with a day's notice, ski jumper, pilot, skilled florist... and that's just a few of her many titles. Nancy also has a virtually perfect memory, and is extremely beautiful, kindhearted, good with animals, friendly to everyone she meets (including her enemies, unless they're trying to actively kill her), an ally to the police (often doing their job better than they do), able to get herself out of every death trap, kidnapping, and lethal situation that villains place her in, and has solved mysteries dating back to the 1800s. And she does it all with a smile, and never brags once. The girl is perfect.
  • Sasha from REAL is a straight example: he is first introduced as one of the best video gamers in The Metaverse, one of the two only people Neru admires, and even though he is a minor character, he certainly lives up to his reputation.
  • Rostam is the first name that comes to mind in the 'The Shahnameh'. Esfandiar and many other heroes qualify as well, but especially Siavash who is at the same time strong, brave, athletic, virtuous, humble, considerate, intelligent, patriotic, charming, and on top of all that incredibly handsome.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
  • In the Star Darlings franchise, Vega is the top student at Starling Academy.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Kaladin is shockingly good at nearly everything he puts his hand to. He was training to be a surgeon as a child, and his incredible memory and swift learning impressed his much more experienced surgeon father. When due to a complicated series of events he ended up in the army instead, he quickly mastered spears, and became the youngest squadleader in the army in record time. Of course, everything since then has been one horrible thing after another, but even at his absolute worst, his abilities were still impressive. His spear skills, in particular, are repeatedly mentioned as being practically supernatural.
    Of all the recruits in his cohort, he had learned the quickest. How to hold the spear, how to stand to spar. He'd done it almost without instruction. That had shocked Tukks. But why should it have? You were not shocked when a child knew how to breathe. You were not shocked when a skyeel took flight for the first time. You should not be shocked when you hand Kaladin Stormblessed a spear and he knows how to use it.
  • Judge Holden from Blood Meridian is strong enough to crush a man's skull with his hands and pick up and fire a Howitzer, can shoot a running target from a mile away, can dance and play the fiddle like nobody's business, has command of an exceptional vocabulary in at least ten languages, and is an expert in a wide variety of scientific fields ranging from anthropology to geology. Remember, this book takes place in the 1840s. Tobin remarks that he's never seen the judge do anything he isn't perfect at. This hints towards his Ambiguously Human nature.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/TheAce/Literature