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    Charles LaFollette 
A Socialist Congressman turned Vice-President under Al Smith, Charlie LaFollette becomes President of the United States following the bomb blast that kills Al Smith. A capable war leader, LaFollette holds the country together throughout WWII, before being voted out after its conclusion.
  • Big Good: Shares the role with Irving Morrell following Return Engagement.
  • Historical-Domain Character: An amalgam of three real-life LaFollettes. Turtledove's character is Charles W. LaFollette from Wisconsin. He shares his first name with the real-life Congressman Charles M. LaFollette of Indiana, and his state of residence with real-life governor Robert LaFollette, Sr. and Senator Robert LaFollette, Jr.
  • I Gave My Word: Goes one better and keeps his predecessor, Al Smith's deal with Flora Blackford.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Voted out of office, despite having won the war.
  • Number Two: Under Al Smith
  • Rousing Speech: Gives a pretty good one near the end of In At The Death, when he declares an end to the USA's own racist policies and an end to the CSA as a nation.
  • You Are in Command Now: Forced to take office after Smith is killed.

    Abner Dowling 
Beginning the Great War as General Custer's adjutant, Dowling rises slowly through the ranks, reaching Major-General during the Second Great War. A prudent, rational, and fundamentally practical man, Dowling tries to be the voice of sanity in a world that frequently seems to have misplaced its own.
  • Badass Grandpa: He might have been caught by surprise at the start of the Second Great War, but Dowling gives good service throughout the rest of it, overrunning Texas, and eventually parading through Richmond at the head of a victorious army.
  • Be All My Sins Remembered: Plans to do this in his memoirs.
  • Big Fun: Toyed with. Dowling's cynical and sarcastic, but he's also one of the most moral characters in the setting, and is well-liked by most officers who serve under him.
  • Boring, but Practical: The story of Dowling's career. He's not a brilliant officer, but he is a good one, rarely succeeding spectacularly, but rarely failing horribly either.
  • The Brigadier: His reasonableness is his most salient point as both an officer and a military governor.
  • The Consigliere: To Custer and occasionally MacArthur, tempering their egoism with his practicality.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dowling has a sarcastic comment available for ever occasion.
  • The Eeyore: Never thinks things are going to go well.
  • Fat Bastard: Completely averted. Dowling's grossly overweight, and has a very negative view of the world, but is also one of the most genuinely moral characters in the setting.
  • The Mentor: To Terry DeFrancis and his own aide, Angelo Toricelli.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Doesn't have nearly a high enough opinion of his skills as an officer.
  • Honest Advisor: The only one who can talk sense into Custer and to whom Custer will actually listen. He plays the roll to others as well, including MacArthur, and various figures on the General Staff.
  • Nice Guy: In addition to being an eminently reasonable man, Dowling is one of the series best examples of a moral, decent human being, liberating the Texan camps not for military reasons, but humanitarian ones.
  • Only Sane Man: His other forte.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: As both The Brigadier and the military governor of first Utah and then Houston.
  • Retired Badass: As of the end of WWII.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Has had this opinion since the Great War.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Takes several, subtly. When the series begins, he's basically a babysitter for the past-his-prime-but-too-illustrious-to-drum-out Custer. By the end of the series, he's easily one of the United States' most dangerous and accomplished soldiers (despite always being posted to sideshows and given limited resources).
  • Worthy Opponent: Viewed as such by Patton who expresses genuine concern when he discovers Dowling is commanding MacArthur's flank.

    Irving Morrell 
A career soldier, Irving Morrell begins the Great War as an infantry captain, before becoming the USA's expert on barrels. He plays a major role in the Second Great War, masterminding the offensive that breaks the CSA's back.
  • Big Good: Holds this role in the WWII analogue, despite being subordinate to the actual president.
  • Colonel Badass: For a while
  • The Captain: Like his real-life counterpart, served as a captain of infantry in World War I (in his first appearance), and later became a mountain soldier before literally writing the book on armored warfare.
  • The Dreaded: One of the few characters to terrify Generals Patton and Nathan Bedford Forrest III. It gets to the point where Jake sends a sniper out with specific orders to kill Morrell, and Forrest has Clarence Potter predicting US attacks depending on where Morell gets transferred.
  • Four-Star Badass: After reaching the rank of general.
  • Hero Killer: Inverted. Morrell's a heroic character who is absolutely dreaded by the villains, and lives up to his reputation, being chiefly responsible for the CSA's defeat in WWII.
  • The Mentor: To Michael Pound during the First Great War.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: He's a heroic version of Erwin Rommel. Arguably, since the USA was originally supposed to be a USSR analogue in the timeline, before Turtledove changed his mind, he's an expy of Georgy Zhukov.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: For all the good he does, he's also comfortable with sweeping a street full of Confederate protesters with a machine gun. Somewhat justified, considering this was in the US-created state of Houston (west Texas), where anti-American sentiment was by far the highest, and mobs like the one he ordered destroyed routinely used Featherston Fizzes note  against barrelsnote . He's also one of the least racist characters in the setting, and ultimately helps to drive notions of racial equality through the skulls of the conquered Confederate States.
  • The Smart Guy: Pioneers tank tactics, infantry helmets, and racial equality.
  • The Strategist: Morrell is the one who first worked out how to use barrels to their full potential, and spends most of The Great War, American Empire, and Settling Accounts trying to drill that proper use into the heads of the rest of the US General Staff.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: From American Front to In At The Death.
  • Tank Goodness: He's the USA's greatest expert on "barrels", masterminding most of their effective tactics in WWI and WWII.
  • Wrote the Book: Like Rommel, he authored the armored warfare gospel. After the war, writes another book introducing the concept of racial equality to the conquered Confederates.

    John Abell 
A Union General Staff officer, Abell begins the series as a captain and ends it as a major-general, in a rise that mirrors that of Irving Morrell and Abner Dowling. Cold, nearly emotionless, and a bureaucrat to the core, Abell is involved in almost all US actions, for good or ill.
  • Armchair Military: Abell has never seen actual combat, having served on the General Staff for his entire career.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Abell has the personality of an Obstructive Bureaucrat down pat, but more often then not, is helpful to Dowling and Morrell, helping push through a number of plans that ultimately turn out to be war winners.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: As in the case of Luther Bliss and Boris Lavochkin, Abell is an unscrupulous SOB, but finds the CSA's Final Solution revolting.
  • Foil: Abell's slow yet sure rise through the ranks of the General Staff parallels that of Irving Morrell and Abner Dowling, while his icy personality and lack of commitment to anything beyond winning the war contrasts both of their more humanitarian attitudes.
  • Lack of Empathy: For the men he is sending out to die.
  • The Nondescript: There is nothing memorable about Abell.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Toyed with. Abell worships red tape and procedure, yet is also willing to bend the rules for capable officers like Dowling and Morrell.
  • Pet the Dog: Tries to break the news of Dowling's retirement to him as nicely as possible, and suggests to him that he write his memoirs.
  • The Stoic: Abell demonstrates very little emotion; whenever he does, Morrell or Dowling will usually be surprised by it.
  • The Strategist: As a General Staff officer, Abell is one of the men planning both wars.
  • We Have Reserves: Played with. Abell has very little sympathy for the troops he is sending out to die, but unlike Custer or MacArthur is not deliberately wasteful either.

Other Notable Individuals

    Flora Hamburger Blackford 
A Socialist activist from New York City's garment district, Flora's life is changed when she decides to run for Congress. As a U.S. Representative, she becomes known as "the conscience of the Congress," and rubs elbows with a number of prominent political figures, including more than one Historical-Domain Character. She serves as First Lady of the United States for one term.
  • Chummy Commies: Flora is both a Socialist and one of the most moral, likeable characters in the timeline.
  • Iron Lady: Nothing rattles Flora.
  • May–December Romance: With Hosea Blackford.
  • Nice Girl: Along with Abner Dowling, Flora is one of the few people in the USA to show genuine horror at what the CSA is doing to its black population (prior to the capture of the camps), and she spends much of Settling Accounts trying to bring it to the public's attention.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: She's Eleanor Roosevelt with a dash of Rosa Luxembourg.
  • Odd Friendship: With reactionary Democrat Robert Taft, whom she serves with on the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. They disagree on everything but defeating the CSA—and how godawful the camps are—yet maintain a strong mutual respect and working relationship despite that.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Begins as this. She never completely loses her idealism, though it's tempered by her increasing real-world (and realpolitik) experience.

    George Armstrong Custer 
A survivor of the American Civil War, and a hero of the Second Mexican War, Custer goes on to become one of the definitive figures of the Great War as the commanding general of the US 1st Army.
  • Dirty Old Man: Any time Libby is out of the immediate vicinity, Custer will be philandering shamelessly.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Custer is a moron, but he's also the only person who is willing to listen to Morrell's ideas about how to properly utilise barrels, and his continued belief that Arthur McGregor was a bomber, while based on little actual evidence, was correct.
  • Glory Hound: Custer’s ultimate motivation. As long as his name is in the headlines, Custer doesn’t care in the slightest how many men he loses.
  • Grenade Hot Potato: Plays this with Arthur McGregor. Wins.
  • Henpecked Husband: His Iron Lady wife Libby is the only person (besides maybe Dowling) who can knock sense into Custer and keep him on task.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Who didn’t die at Little Big Horn this time around.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: In-universe, where Custer's love of charging blindly into the enemy guns is forgotten by historians of both the Second Mexican War and the Great War. Dowling suspects that Custer’s popularity for winning one of the few US victories in the Second Mexican War (against a British Invasion from Canada) is due solely to the fact that he was up against "Chinese" Gordon, the only British officer more blindly aggressive than Custer.
  • The Mentor: For all his faults, Custer does prove to be a good professional mentor to Abner Dowling, though a lot of it is of the "what not to do" flavor.
  • Perilous Old Fool: Custer is more than willing to put up a fight, but the times have passed him by and he is largely out of his depth come the First Great War.
  • Properly Paranoid: Certainly where Arthur McGregor is concerned.
  • The Rival: To Teddy Roosevelt, who he believes is out to steal his glory.

    Luther Bliss 
The head of the Kentucky State Police during the Union occupation, Bliss is a mean-spirited SOB who doesn't bother trying to hide his dislike of blacks, Confederate sympathisers, and human beings in general. He frequently comes into conflict with Cincinnatus Driver and Lucullus Wood, and later acts as a Union spy during the Second Great War.
  • Antihero: Type IV or V.
  • Badass Grandpa: Well into his sixties at the time of Settling Accounts. Still has Confederate intelligence running scared of him.
  • The Dreaded: Knowing that Bliss is back in Kentucky practically gives Clarence Potter and Nathan Bedford Forrest III a heart attack. This is not an atypical reaction. Even more justified in Potter's case, since they are essentially mirror images of one another, and probably the two most dangerous single individuals on the continent during World War II.
  • Enemy Mine: With Cincinnatus Driver and Lucullus Wood during the Second Great War, using them both against the CSA.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Bliss is likely the most vicious-minded character to serve with the US throughout the entire series. Even he finds the CSA's Final Solution too much.
  • Evil Old Folks: By the time of Settling Accounts Bliss is a very old man, but just as cruel as ever. He himself invokes the trope when describing his grandmother as "an evil woman".
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Cincinnatus and Lucullus come to the conclusion that this is how Bliss operates. He kills Reds and Confederate diehards with brutal impartiality, and when Cincinnatus tells Lucullus that Bliss hates black folks, Lucullus retorts "he hates everybody."
  • Misanthrope Supreme: If there's anybody that Bliss doesn't hate, we don't get to meet them or hear about them.
  • Pet the Dog: Seems genuinely regretful when informing Cincinnatus that he couldn't get Lucullus out of Covington before the genocide.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Classifying Bliss as hero or villain is hard, given that he's a Token Evil Teammate to the USA. Either way, he's unashamadly racist, runs US occupied Kentucky through police brutality, and hates just about everybody on the face of the earth.
  • The Quisling: From a Confederate perspective.
  • Secret Police: Under Bliss the Kentucky State Police becomes a secret police force, detaining anybody they want to without any real legality, and frequently abusing prisoners in order to extract information.
  • The Spymaster: For the USA.
  • Token Evil Teammate: The most openly evil character to serve with the USA.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: He's clearly inspired by J. Edgar Hoover, a paranoid Mc Carthyist and racist, who turned the FBI into a counterintelligence agency answerable only to him. Similarly, Bliss uses to the Kentucky State Police to help enforce the Union's occupation of Kentucky, though his morality and methods are both questionable in the extreme.

Armed Forces


    Boris Lavochkin 
Chester Martin's platoon leader during the final days of the Second Great War, Lieutenant Lavochkin hates the CSA with an unholy passion.
  • Antihero: Type V. The only reason Lavochkin is tolerable is because he aims his psychopathy at the Confederacy.
  • Axe-Crazy: At least from Chester's perspective. Given his penchant for shooting anyone who even irritates him, this isn't surprising.
  • Bad Boss: Is more than willing to shoot any subordinate who disagrees with him. That said, he's not casual with the lives of his men and most of his platoon makes it through the war in one piece.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Inverted. Lavochkin is the brutal psycho who terrifies the troops, while Chester Martin, his platoon sergeant, is the peacekeeper.
  • Ensign Newbie: Subverted. Lavochkin is new to Chester's platoon, but is not new to commanding troops, having had a command before getting injured.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Seems genuinely disgusted by the CSA's Final Solution, and uses it to justify killing as many Confederates as possible, as they all knew it was happening and did nothing to stop it.
  • Knife Nut: Carries a WWI style trench knife in addition to his other weapons.
  • Moral Sociopathy: Very much so. Lavochkin feels no remorse over the individuals he has killed and will kill anyone who annoys him, yet can still look at an act like the "population reduction" and regard it as not only morally wrong, but deserving of punishment.
  • Not So Different: From the Freedom Party he hates.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Fully believes that the CSA has it coming.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: His outfit is called "Lavochkin's Looters" for a reason.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Possibly. We don't know where Lavochkin was before he was assigned to Chester Martin's platoon, but it is heavily implied to have been somewhere unpleasant, and that action there made him the man he is today.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Types I & II (emphasis on II).
  • The Sociopath: Lavochkin is a psychopath, pure and simple, kept in line only by his desire for promotion.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Gordon McSweeney
  • Token Evil Teammate: For Chester's unit.

    Daniel MacArthur 
The youngest division commander in American history, Daniel MacArthur serves under Custer during the Great War, and is a corps and army group commander during the Second Great War. Audacious and daring, he is also impetuous and narcissistic, which hinders his career and his plans.

    Gordon McSweeney 
A fundamentalist Presbyterian with an intense hatred of the Confederacy, McSweeney serves with distinction throughout the Great War. Both his men and his enemies are terrified of him.
  • Antihero: Type IV, being a terrifying man, but with some redeeming qualities.
  • Brutal Honesty: McSweeney is unfailingly honest about both himself and those around him.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Clearly insane. Shockingly effective.
  • The Captain: By partway through Breakthroughs.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Hated and feared by the men.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Finds slavery and Confederate racial attitudes disgusting.
  • Field Promotion: From private all the way on up to captain over the course of three books.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: He and Paul Mantarkis don't ever become "friends" per se, but they certainly develop a lot of respect for one another, despite their personal and religious differences, and McSweeney seems genuinely saddened by Paul's death.
  • The Fundamentalist: A fundamentalist Presbyterian who believes that all but a few elect shall burn in hell.
  • Mercy Kill: Of Ben Carlton
  • One-Man Army: Takes out a Confederate monitor by himself by swimming out and throwing TNT into the turret, without bothering to tell anyone first because he knew they'd tell him not to. Doesn't understand why everyone is so impressed with this.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: McSweeney believes the CSA is evil, and wholeheartedly believes that that he is God’s instrument sending evil men to Hell.
  • Pet the Dog: His Mercy Kill of Ben Carlton, and the conversation leading up to it. Also his genuine remorse when Paul Mantarkis dies, and his willingness to try and share his sense of joy at Christmas.
  • Pyromaniac: Selects a flamethrower as his Weapon of Choice because he enjoys burning those whom he feels deserve God's punishment.
  • Religious Bruiser: McSweeney is a big, heavily muscled man who looks like he's been carved our of stone, and fights like an entire battalion. He's also obsessively religious.
  • Sergeant Rock: For a while, before his promotions to lieutenant and eventually captain.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Type I & II mix. He enjoys killing Confederates, and is totally convinced that they have it coming.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: Following the death of Paul Mantarkis in Walk in Hell and lasting through Breakthroughs.

    Paul Mantarkis 
A private of Greek descent, Paul has to put up with a lot of abuse due to his Orthodox religion and darker skin tone.
  • Camp Cook: Though not officially assigned as a cook, Paul was one in civilian life. He becomes popular with his unit when he shows off his ability to doctor the normally despised efforts of the actual cook with traditional Greek spices. He usually keeps a stash of spices with his kit.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Killed in a nothing skirmish in Baja California
  • Fire-Forged Friends: He and Gordon McSweeney never really become friends per se, but they certainly develop a strong mutual respect due to their shared experiences.
  • Sergeant Rock: Becomes one through a series of battlefield promotions and an ability to think on his feet under pressure.

    Chester Martin 
A US construction worker and non-commissioned officer who serves during both wars, while acting as a union organiser in between.
  • Action Survivor: Makes it through two world wars with only mild injuries.
  • Call to Adventure: Is eventually unable to stomach what's happening to his country (the main thrust of the initial Confederate attack goes through his home state of Ohio) in the Second Great War and rejoins the army despite the strenuous protests of his wife .
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Inverted. He's Sergeant Smooth to Lieutenant Lavochkin's psychopathic Captain Rough.
  • Chummy Commies: After the Great War, he acts as the Socialist proletariat POV character in the United States, working as a union organiser. He's portrayed entirely sympathetically, and treated as a man who is just trying to get the best possible deal for his fellow workers.
  • The Everyman: Far more so than most of the other protagonists, though as the series progresses he does pick up a lot more personality.
  • A Father to His Men: Tries to be.
  • Happily Married: To Rita.
  • Old Soldier: By the time of Settling Accounts when he's into his fifties.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: From Great War all the way through Settling Accounts.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Gives some serious thought to getting rid of Lieutenant Lavochkin, before deciding it is too dangerous to attempt.
  • Working-Class Hero: As a steelworker, construction worker, and union activist during the interwar period.
  • Worthy Opponent: How Henry T. Casson, the construction magnate who employs his union views him. For his part, Chester also has a fair amount of respect for Casson, who once he decides he needs to offer the workers a fair deal, comes to an agreement with him in about a half an hour.


    Sam Carsten 
A sailor with the US Navy, Sam serves out both wars, steadily working his way up through the ranks from Gunner’s Mate on a battleship to command of a destroyer.
  • The Captain: Technically he never passes the rank of Lieutenant-Commander, and he spends most of the Second Great War as a Lieutenant Junior Grade, but he's certainly the captain aboard his ship, and is addressed as such.
  • Commanding Coolness: Promoted to Lieutenant-Commander at the end of the last book as a reward for thirty-five years of service.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Develops a melanoma in his last apperance.
  • A Father to His Men: Plays this role to the men aboard the Josephus Daniels.
  • Father Neptune: By the time the Second Great War rolls around, Sam has seen it all and done it all.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: As commanding officer of the Josephus Daniels. He's tough but fair, easily approachable, and liked by most of his officers and the men, who appreciate his experience as a former-enlisted "mustang."
  • Running Gag: Hardly a paragraph goes by in Sam’s POV without a mention of his extremely fair skin than sunburns in moonlight, or that he constantly smears zinc oxide sunscreen in a futile attempt to protect himself. This unfortunately foreshadows his skin cancer
  • The Smart Guy: The reason he keeps getting promoted. Sam is uneducated, but is usually the smartest guy in any room he's in, which leads to his being noticed by the upper brass.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: Lasts throughout the entire series, from "American Front" to "In At The Death".
  • Up Through the Ranks: Sam starts out as just an ordinary seaman, "climbs up the hawse hole" to become an officer, and ends In At The Death a Lieutenant-Commander with his own ship.

Air Force

    Jonathan Moss 
Fighter pilot in the First Great War who finishes law school after the war is over, going on to a successful practice in 'occupation law' in US-occupied Canada (i.e., he loses less often than others in the same field, which is universally regarded as a rigged game). Returns to action in the Second Great War after a family tragedy, then switches hats back to law after the war and participates in war crimes tribunals.
  • Ace Pilot: The only aviator POV character, and a pretty good one too.
  • The Alleged Car: His prized luxury touring car becomes one over the course of the Business Crisis, due to the manufacturer going out of business and the expense and scarcity of replacement parts.
  • Amoral Attorney: Averted. Sets up shop as an occupation lawyer in Canada after World War I ends, and fights hard for his Canadian clients (in the face of a heavily biased judiciary; even wins occasionally), and charges them fair rates and accepts payment in kind. This is in sharp contrast to most of his colleagues, who either accept that they have no real chance of winning and don't try, or actively gouge their Canadian clients for substandard service. Moss goes on to defend Jefferson Pinkard, and recognizes him for the monster he is, but still works hard to present the best possible defense (which is to say, not much), mostly out of regard for the law rather than for his client. And, given the reputation he built in Canada, he can actually do this without others assuming he is an Amoral Attorney.
  • Badass Grandpa: In his fifties during the Second Great War, old for a regular soldier (much less a fighter pilot) but able to keep up with men half his age not only in the air but on the ground.
  • Blood Knight: Becomes one when his family is killed.
  • Colonel Badass: Promoted to lieutenant colonel during the Second Great War and subsequently trains on the Screaming Eagle, the USA's new 'turbo' (jet) fighter.
  • Courtroom Episode: Naturally, as the only lawyer in the series, he gets a few.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: With regard to Laura Secord. Succeeds.
  • Good Lawyers, Good Clients: Although his practice consists of arguing civil and probate claims made against the US occupation government (and thus doesn't involve innocence or guilt) Jonathan firmly believes in the validity of his clients' claims.
  • Great Escape: Makes one from a Confederate POW camp (Andersonville, to be exact) in the Second Great War.
  • Happily Married: At least until Mary McGregor's package arrives.
  • Old Soldier: In the Second Great War.
  • La Résistance: Along with another POW, hooks up with a group of black Marxists after escaping from Confederate custody.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Describes the early phases of his relationship with Laura.


    George Enos 
A fisherman with the Boston fishing fleet who enlists in the Navy during the First Great War after being temporarily interned by the Confederates while out fishing, both to get payback and to avoid being caught up in the draft.
  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Played With; George survived when his gunboat was destroyed by the Confederates only because he had gone ashore to visit a whorehouse. However, this visit was a one-time event for him. He never actually goes through with the deed (being distracted by the attack on his ship) and his loyalties are firmly with his wife (to whom he eventually confesses).
  • Father Neptune: A civilian variant.
  • Parents as People: Insofar as his job allows him to be.

    Sylvia Enos 
Wife (later widow) of George Enos, she's a factory worker during the Great War and after, and raises their two children. She avenges her husband's death by shooting Roger Kimball, captain of the sub that sank George's ship after the Great War was over, becomes a minor celebrity, and "writes" a popular memoir describing her actions, with "Ernie" (this universe's Ernest Hemingway) as her co-author. She becomes involved with "Ernie," despite being aware that he's given to violent mood swings. He accidentally shoots and kills her during a particularly bad one.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: The sense of danger she feels around Ernie is a big part of the attraction.
  • Parents as People: Balances raising her children with trying to support them, while trying to make some sort of life for herself.

    Nellie Semproch Jacobs 
A coffeehouse owner in Washington, D.C. When Washington is occupied by the Confederacy during the Great War, she becomes a spy, passing on what she learns from hearing the casual conversations of her Confederate-soldier customers. As a young woman, she was a prostitute, a fact of which she is deeply ashamed.
  • Determined Widow: Her first husband was the one who ultimately set her free from her previous occupation, taking responsibility for her daughter and setting up the family business. Sadly, he did not live long after Enda's birth.
  • Does Not Like Men: Hardcore. The fact that she agrees to marry Hal Jacobs after the Great War is, above all else, a testament to how consummate a gentleman he is.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: Nellie's is one of the most mundane and pointless deaths in the entire series.
  • Enemy Mine / Summon Bigger Fish: Invokes this with a group of Confederate officers to deal with Bill Reach's harassment.
  • Old Shame: In-universe; it's a major part of her characterization. Bill Reach, her handler, threatens to spill the beans on her previous life in order to keep her in line (and possibly restart their relationship—which she wants no part of).
  • Never Mess with Granny: Finally gets sick of Bill Reach and takes the opportunity to stab him to death during an artillery barrage. Earlier she was decorated by Washington for heroism with regard to her espionage activities. Intimidates the hell out of her future son-in-law, who manages to grudgingly earn her trust.
  • Parents as People: She loves her daughter Edna, but is an absolutely suffocating parent, out of fear that her daughter will make the same youthful mistakes that she did.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: Though, her character flaws make her not a particularly likeable one.

Example of: