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The alternative history novelCharacters listed by faction as follows:
GeneralThe various groups who oppose the Federal Government and eventually form the sovereign Northern Confederation (and later the Republic of Victoria), including secessionists, Maine Firsters, Retroculturists, Christian Marines and others, often with considerable overlap between the groups. Though not uniform in their opinions, they tend to be right-wing, traditionalist, and either libertarian or reactionary (or both).
- The Alliance: The independent Northern Confederation of old Yankee states, which rise up against Washington during the fiscal crisis and Newark Revolt. Eventually, it becomes Victoria.
- Anti-Intellectualism: Zigzagged. On the one hand, the Victorians greatly respect certain select parts of philosophy and intellectual culture, and many of their leaders are themselves intellectuals; but on the other, they are quite willing to brutally suppress leftist or Marxist intellectuals, or learning outside their narrowly acceptable canon while more softly discouraging some branches of technological knowledge.
- Arcadia: Endstage Victoria is both selectively technologically advanced and yet rural, with most of its people living in a sort of idealized, retrofuturistic frontier utopia.
- Badass Army: Their militia troops manage to defeat enemies with greatly superior numbers and equipment thanks to clever outside-the-box guerrilla tactics and a ruthless disregard for the laws and customs of war.
- Badass Creed: Rumford and Kraft have an informal motto illustrating their can-do spirit: Das Wesentliche ist die Tat. It is explained as follows:Das Wesentliche ist die Tat: The Essential Thing is the Deed. Not the idea, not the desire, not the intention—the deed.
- Break Out the Museum Piece: The rebels use whatever they have, and thus naturally much old equipment, for example aging F-16 fighters and Russian T-34 tanks. In one literal example, a restored WWII jet bomber is used to deliver a small nuclear warhead. Of course, Older Is Better is in full effect.
- Capitalism Is Bad: Downplayed. The freedom fighters are not against capitalism as such, but very much opposed to the tyranny of the Federal Reserve, New York bankers, and corrupt big corporations in general.
- Combat Pragmatism: The Christian Marines are willing to take hostages and use human shields, if victory requires it.
- The Commandments: The Christian Marines have as their stated ultimate goal to make the Constitution and the Ten Commandments the law of the land—though they feel free to kick out various of the amendments to the Constitution that they dislike.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Multiple against the Federal Government's forces, arguably to the point of straining suspension of disbelief, such as in the battle at Sebasticook (a wildly successful ambush of a federal strike force) which involved trapping an army group on a bridge and climbing up ropes to surround them faster than they could disembark or start shooting and against the Division Numero Uno (which quickly collapsed after being encircled, due to poor discipline and morale). Also later against Azania, in particular several of the air battles, with greatly disproportionate casualties despite inferior hardware.
- Disaster Democracy: The new Confederation implements a very hands-off government based on direct democracy through referendum. Fortuitously, the masses will usually vote as the plot and heroes require.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Various of their actions can qualify as this: Tarring and feathering a corrupt judge, lynching of war criminals without due process, nuking the Commune in Atlanta, retaliating in kind against enemy bioterrorism, giving Azanian captives over to slavery and forced marriage, deporting Puerto Ricans out of the country, and executing Marxist academics who forced homosexuality and neo-paganism on their students are a few examples.
- Drugs Are Bad: Drug-peddling gangsters are Rumford's first enemies, and they are portrayed as complete monsters. In independent Victoria, drug crimes are punished with death.
- Everyone Is Armed: Except the women, usually, since most citizens agree guns aren't very feminine or attractive. In this libertarian/reactionary environment, the Second Amendment is predictably carved in stone.
- Evil Reactionary: From the perspective of their opponents. As for themselves, most of them would agree with the "reactionary" part, but not the "evil" one.
- Fantastic Slurs: Inverted. The ethnic gangbangers are widely referred to as "orcs" among the rebels. So in this case, a fantasy word is used to describe violent people considered subhuman by the Victorians.
- Good Old Ways: The very essence of Retroculture.
- Hanging Judge: A positive portrayal. The Victorians believe in swift and decisive justice and harsh punishments, since criminals thrive on the indulgence of society's understanding. Trials are supposed to be brief, lasting no more than one week, and the usual penalty for property, violent or drug-related crimes is death, with enforcement especially harsh in those areas that are governed by the Black autonomous administration. There are also no lawyers in Victoria, each man represents himself.Rumford: Regular crime became rare as hanging became the usual penalty, at least where violence was involved. We remembered that if you hang a thief when hes young, he wont steal when hes old.
- The Heretic: Heresies are not tolerated in Christian Victoria. One Episcopalian bishop is literally burned at the stake for being a woman priest, denying the Trinity and worshiping pagan idols, among other failings.
- Heteronormative Crusader: Homosexuality is at least theoretically tolerated in the Confederation, so long as it is kept quiet and out of sight, so as not to offend the healthy moral sentiment of the good citizens.
- Hollywood New England: The heartland of the revolution, complete with Funetik Aksent.
- Humans Are White: Downplayed. The world at large is about as ethnically diverse as in reality, but the Retroculture movement seems very Anglo-Saxon, with some Irish- and German-American elements. While there are token Italians, Indians, Poles and even one or two blacks and Jews, the vast majority of the named Christian Marines and associates, as well as nearly all of the leaders, also have distinctly old stock names. This is never said or implied to be due to any overt policy of discrimination, since they explicitly allow anyone who shares their values and beliefs to join, leaving the homogeneity somewhat of a mystery.
- La Résistance: The Christian Marines and their allies early in the story, before they become The Alliance.
- Persecuted Intellectuals: The "Cultural Marxist" academics end up this way under the new regime. Briefly.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Part of the point of Retroculture is to restore old social values and views on such things as race relations, sexual orientation and the Woman Problem.
- Puppet State: The early narrative hints that this might happen to the Victorians, with the rebels very dependent on Russian and Chinese aid, but ultimately, they manage to avert this fate. The proxy war with China definitely establishes that they will not take orders from Peking, and while relations with Russia remain good, by the end of the story Victoria is in a position to treat with the Czar as a more or less equal friendly power.
- The Purge: Governor Kraft launches one against prominent Cultural Marxist subversives, having about 150 of them executed. Though Rumford is initially opposed to it, this is ultimately treated as a necessary act, and even one of decisive leadership, in-story.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Bureaucratized: Subverted. After they achieve independence, the rebels set up their Northern Confederation with an absolute minimum of government services and bureaucracy, which one might think would cause some problems—but everything works out without much trouble.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Confederation is not entirely immune to this, as Kraft's purge of the Cultural Marxists shows.
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: Many, including but not limited to the Christian Marines, though these are generally "heroic" examples. To the point actual military men needed the plaid-coated militias to teach them to really fight.
- Rock Beats Laser: Mild example. Azania's near-future military technology is the most advanced in the setting, but Rumford's forces manage to beat them using mostly Gulf War-era equipment through superior outdated hardware and manly resolve.
- Semper Fi: The early Christian Marines are all USMC veterans, and they consciously model their militia on the Corps. Even those who join later thus absorb at least a part of its culture and ethos, and think of themselves as Marines.
- Stop Being Stereotypical: Enforced. Blacks in Victoria have their own autonomous government, which places its citizens under numerous restrictions and one drumhead court martial or failed drug test away from death, in order to put and end to the crime wave in Black areas, and this is after the image of African-Americans was "redeemed" to Victoria public consciousness by their suffering and death in the aftermath of Boston. Meanwhile the ethnic criminals are considered "orcs."
- Technophobia: Zigzagged by the Retroculturists, who oppose much "modern" technology, and information technology in particular. However, they also do not appear to dislike new inventions, such as Tesla-tech and cold fusion.
- Utopia: Its supporter think Victoria is getting to be one by the end of the story, or at least about as close to one as you might expect of anything outside of fairy tales. It has indeed solved, or at least greatly reduced, the problems of anomie, crime and political corruption the old US suffered from in its later days. However, the story also offers criticisms of it, though mainly from the POVs of villains; notably, the Landwehr neo-Nazis dislike its bourgeois shopkeeper mentality, while the Azanians abhor its complementarianism and traditional family values.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: While they are the heroes of the story, the rebels use quite brutal methods in their struggle for independence, and the Federal Government denounces them as right-wing terrorists.
John RumfordProtagonist of the story, a United States Marine Corps captain forced to resign after interrupting a memorial service to prevent a woman from participating. Unable to succeed as a farmer due to extensive government regulations, he finds a role after helping some friends in Boston with a scheme to evict undesirable residents from their tenement housing. He becomes a founding member of the Christian Marines, and their first Commandant in the battle for tradition and Christian values. Later appointed Chief of the General Staff in the fledgling Northern Confederation, and continues to lead through the war of secession and many years after, eventually becoming a trainer for the Order of St. Louis.
- Accidental Hero: When Captain John Rumford makes his stand against feminism, all he imagines it as is a minor anti-PC prank. However, the way it works out, he becomes an almost legendary figure among veterans and other right-wingers for defying political correctness at the cost of his career, and this is a big part of why the Christian Marines choose him to be their leader, and why Kraft brings him into the Retroculture movement.
- Action Genre Hero Guy: Rumford fits every item on the checklist, except that he isn't fighting to save a loved one, but his country. He is a somewhat unusual variation in one respect, however, in that he is also a (working-class, one-liner-touting, ex-military) well-read intellectual, which makes for some funny lines.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: A large part of Rumford's successes stem from his ability to anticipate and accurately model the actions and responses of his enemies.
- Dark Messiah: Rumford can look rather like this, due to his anti-heroic ruthlessness, especially after he comes under William Kraft's influence: A charismatic, philosophical ex-military leader who starts up a small vigilante militia, is willing to do what it takes to win, and ends up leading a full-blown, ideology-driven revolution against the evil government.
- Defiant Stone Throw: Interrupting the remembrance ceremony rather than let a woman say "Iwo Jima." To Rumford, no woman fought at Iwo, so no woman has the right to say the name.
- Destructive Saviour: For colluding in the nuking of downtown Atlanta. It was to destroy the genocidal Commune, and to save innocent people from genocide, but this sort of devastation still qualifies.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: While Rumford vocally disavows Nazism, much of his early career as a rabble-rouser, militia leader and political schemer resembles that of the historical Adolf Hitler, including some specifics. Not in the ideology, that is, but the methods he uses bear some likeness to those of the early Nazi party, with vigilantism and populist propaganda.
- Establishing Character Moment: Hijacking the remembrance ceremony by shouting "Iwo Jima!" before the woman could, thus forcing the people in charge to either go on without her participation or disrupt the solemn celebration. (They go for the former.) It shows both his trademark maneuver tactics and his boldness in standing up for his beliefs—but also that said beliefs are rather old-fashioned and anti-feminist, and Rumford himself a Politically Incorrect Hero.
- Frontline General: Rumford believes in staying close to the action, so he will have up-to-date information and be able to intervene if necessary.
- The Gift: Like Ender Wiggins in Ender's Game, Rumford is socially awkward, mildly eccentric, ruthless, and often hostile to authorities, yet a charismatic leader and military genius of such rare raw natural ability and talent that his whole nation's fate eventually comes to depend on him.
- Hidden Depths:
- Most of the time, Rumford comes across as an intolerant chauvinist who despises, or at best looks down on, all non-Western cultures. However, he actually respects (and even admires, in some instances) East Asian cultures, and especially that of Japan, which have a long and proud tradition of art, philosophy and other accomplishments.
- Similarly, while Rumford is a fairly "rabid" anti-Communist, he will occasionally have a few honest words of praise for the ability, drive, and even political insights of Communist leaders like Lenin and Mao Tse-tung. He still hates their philosophy, but recognizes that they were "great" men in their own way, and worthy opponents that he can learn from.
- Informed Ability: Repeatedly hailed as the greatest soldier of the age, and even once as "the new Moltke." Rumford does very little fighting, preferring to come up with broad goals his subordinates carry out.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: Seemingly subverted, but actually played straight. Rumford, a brilliant strategist, military theorist, polymath and polyglot, is a charismatic leader who inspires his subordinates... but privately, he is quite Lonely at the Top, with a bare handful of close friends.
- Knight Templar: Rather literally, as he winds up training an order of crusading knights with the explicit goal of driving Islam out of the Mediterranean world. Is also extreme in both his beliefs and his methods, willing to use hostages, torture, assassination and more.
- Magnetic Hero: Rumford is notoriously gruff and socially unsmooth, but possesses seemingly immense natural charisma, drawing people to himself and convincing them of his views with little apparent deliberate effort. He turns the tiny original Christian Marines group into a multi-state political machine within a few years, converts Black Muslims to Christianity, and rises to the top in the secessionist military over the heads of many higher-ranked active officers, including generals.
- Make an Example of Them: Many of his most dramatic victories. Rumford is also of the belief that hanging thieves early leads to less crime overall.
- Messianic Archetype: Rumford has traits of this, especially early on, as a martyr of political correctness and charismatic captain leading the downtrodden against their oppressors. However, he becomes an increasingly ruthless messianic paragon as the story progresses, thus subverting the type.
- Mildly Military: Has nothing but contempt for military bureaucracy or fancy uniforms.
- Moral Pragmatist: When he takes command of a Cascadian guerrilla outfit that ruthlessly tortures and murders the enemy and gives no quarter, he orders that they should start accepting surrenders and treat prisoners at least reasonably well—because this is the smart as well as the decent thing to do, since an enemy with his back to the wall will fight to the last breath, thereby making the fight that much harder for everyone.
- The Paragon: Rumford's preferred style of leadership is that first pioneered by the German Wehrmacht: broad, mission-type orders and inspiration by moral example, rather than micromanagement of his subordinate commanders. He emphasizes personal initiative and responsibility, and always tries to teach the men under his command to think for themselves, rather than merely follow orders passively.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: And how! Rumford hands slurs out candy, sees no use of having women in any leadership position and has no issue making his opinions known.
- Real Men Love Jesus: Rumford, the soldier and revolutionist, is a firm Christian believer who takes his faith seriously.Rumford: After breakfast, still sitting on the porch, I read the Morning Prayer in the old 1928 Book of Common Prayer. I always did that when I couldn't get to church.
- The Snark Knight: Rumford habitually throws his acerbic wit at anything and everything. Not even Bill Kraft is always immune, though he gets less of it than most.
- Sophisticated as Hell: He often mixes quotations and references to great poets and philosophers of the ages with quite crude observations and swear words.
- The Strategist: Rumford is a professional officer, and has studied the military classics, from Sun Tzu to Clausewitz and from Caesar to John Boyd. He also possesses an innovative military mind of his own; his personal style of command is based mainly on late German maneuver warfare and John Boyd's unorthodox "trinitarian" conception of total war. His military leadership becomes an important element in the struggle for independence.
- Terror Hero: A mix of Intimidator and The Dreaded, Rumford focuses on making powerful displays of force to get his enemies to back down.
- Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Rumford's list of titles and offices is quite impressive by the end of the story:Field Marshal John Rumford, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Victoria, Admiral of the Fleet of the Victorian Navy, Landwehr-Obergruppenführer (an honorary appointment he was granted by Leader von Braun, but does not himself acknowledge), Commandant of the Christian Marine Corps, Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Louis.
Maria Mercedes de Dio de AlvaA Spanish-Mexican noblewoman of the ancient Alba family, who ends up in the Northern Confederation after her father is killed in an internal political plot. She becomes Rumford's Love Interest.
For her entry, see under the Cristeros folder further down on the page, since that was her original faction.
Professor Gottfried SanftA retired Dartmouth professor of Germanistics with connections in the USMC, and later the Christian Marines. He becomes Rumford's first intellectual mentor, and introduces him to the classics of Western Civilization's cultural heritage—as well as the looming threat of the Cultural Marxists and America's imminent demise.
- Dirty Communists: Considers the Cultural Marxists the greatest danger to America, and warns Rumford of their baleful influence on education, culture and society in general.
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: He makes use of one of these.
- Genius Book Club: The curriculum he recommends to Rumford for reading if he truly wants to understand Western Civilization includes Homer, Plato, Xenophon, Aristotle, Aristophanes and more—and that just for classical antiquity, with a similar booklist for each epoch.
- Gentleman and a Scholar: A scholar who is friendly and courteous, drawing upon literature and philosophy when discussing the issues of the day.
- Good Old Ways: Being an old man, he dresses and behaves in a somewhat dated manner.
- Gratuitous German: He uses occasional German words in his conversations with Rumford—though reasonably so, in this case, since Rumford, too, is fluent in German.
- Gratuitous Latin: Similarly, he often uses Latin words and phrases, though usually with an explanation where warranted.
- Herr Doktor: A German scholar and (former) tenured professor.
- Internal Reformist: Did what he could on the faculty to stem the tide against the Political Correctness Gone Mad at Dartmouth. After he retired, he continued to teach interested students "real" history in his free time, without compensation.
- Mr. Exposition: Fills Rumford (and so, the reader) in on the background of the setting's culture wars and the threat of the Cultural Marxists operating behind the scenes.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Believes that political correctness is merely the surface symptom of the deeper cultural subversion carried out by the destructive liberals and Marxists.Sanft: Sadly, this great culture of ours, Western culture, is under attack. The universities today are active and conscious agents in its destruction. Indeed, they have generated theories as to why Western culture should be destroyed. Of course, they are not alone. The most powerful single force in America now is the entertainment industry, and it is also an agent of cultural destruction. Many of the politicians play the game too. The usual code-words are "racism, sexism, and homophobia." When you hear them, you are hearing the worms gnawing at the foundations.
- The Professor: Holds the title, and plays a sort of mentor and educator role to Rumford early in the story.
- Renaissance Man: He is a professor of Germanistics, but demonstrates knowledge of various other fields as well, including American history, political sociology and classical philosophy.
- Shout-Out: When he describes the nature and purpose of a real education to Rumford:Sanft: It's from the Latin ex, for "out" or "beyond," plus ducare, "to lead." An education leads you out beyond where you were, in terms of your understanding of life, the universe, and everything.
- Welcomed to the Masquerade: Sanft introduces Rumford to the behind-the-scenes struggles over America's future between the various conspiracies in the setting.
William Hocking KraftRumford's mentor, chief advisor and the eventual Governor of Maine and leader of Victoria, in a "first among equals" sense. Introduces Rumford to Retroculture proper; his own dress, mannerisms, furniture and way of life are ripped straight from an idealized world of 1950s sitcoms, except when he wears his uniform. Considers himself Prussian, and loyal to the House of Hohenzollern. It is unclear what his day job was before the governorship, but he is amazingly well-informed on events both global and local.
- Badass Boast: Kraft presents a Knight Templar-ish one to the Cultural Marxist subversives prior to their execution:Kraft: You are condemned, let me hasten to add, not by me alone, nor merely by those who live today in our Confederation. Your jury is every man and woman who for three thousand years has labored and fought and died for Western culture, the culture you sought to sacrifice to your own pathetic egos.
And that jurys sentence is death.
- Berserk Button: Do not call him fat, or disrespect his Kaiser.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Kraft's Prussian affectations are at least mildly eccentric, but he is extremely competent as a statesman and politician.
- The Chessmaster: Rumford is no slouch himself when it comes to organizational and political savvy, as the achievements of the early Christian Marines demonstrate, but Kraft is far ahead of him—and, luckily, of the Confederation's many enemies, within and without. His machinations play a major role in ensuring its victories.
- Cult of Personality: He is never seen encouraging it himself, but his followers gradually come to consider him a demigod of sorts. Toward the end of the story, he is all but literally worshiped by the masses much like FDR once was—or Hitler, to use a less favorably tinged example—and the mere statement of his views is enough to significantly impact public opinion on major national issues.
- Dark Shepherd: A heroic example. While he comes out strongly in favor of democracy later on, Kraft is willing to use fear and even violence to protect the revolution, especially in its earlier stages.
- Egopolis: Averted, as after his death the people of Victoria wish to rename the city of Augusta after him, but the motion fails as several of his close family and friends point out that this is the last sort of tribute he would want.
- Evil Mentor: A sort of subversion, and/or heroic example, in that his ideals are pure (or treated as such by the narrative, at any rate), while his methods fit this trope much better than a standard Old Master.
- The Extremist Was Right: While his beliefs might be considered extreme, and his methods certainly are, he is ultimately vindicated by history, as Victoria recovers from the wars and becomes a virtual utopia toward the end of his administration.
- The Generalissimo: Begins his term as governor with a massacre of intellectuals he disapproves of, and commonly wears his Prussian uniform around the office.
- Good Is Not Soft: He does not tolerate subversives, as his execution of the traitorous Cultural Marxist academics graphically demonstrates.
- Good Is Old-Fashioned: And old-fashioned is good. Considers the drive for progress and improvement as inherently bad, or at least suspect.
- Good Old Ways: Firmly believes that almost nothing has really improved in the last sixty to ninety years, and television and computers have been a net minus.
- Gratuitous German: Quotes various German historians, philosophers and military men in the original language.
- Kaiser Reich: Kraft is an Oberst i. G.note in the Prussian army in exile, owns a complete uniform, speaks Gratuitous German and considers the descendant of the Kaiser his liege. On one occasion, he has a victory feast delayed to August Fourth, the day Prussia invaded Belgium in WWI.
- Mysterious Past: Kraft's political and strategic savvy and powerful network of connections in domestic and even international politics would imply some sort of high-level prior career, perhaps in the intelligence community or the Foreign Service. However, his background (and how he amassed all this "soft power") is never revealed by the story.
- The Paragon: He believes that good government should aspire to this: instead of legislating what the citizens should do, a real leader shows them by example.
- The Pardon: Kraft can also be magnanimous in victory when military necessity does not call for ruthlessness. After the failed coup of the Deep Green elements, he pardons the ringleaders and simply has them deported to Cascadia (a state which shares their ideology) rather than imprisoned or executed, since they are no longer a threat to the Confederation.
- The Purge: Has about 150 prominent Cultural Marxist subversives executed early in his first term as Governor. Though Rumford argues against this initially, it is ultimately portrayed as necessary by the story, as well as popular with the ordinary citizens.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Even out of uniform, Kraft typically dresses impeccably, his usual style being tailor-cut, double-breasted business suits.
- Supporting Leader: To Rumford, always. They excellently complement each other: Kraft has the political cunning and grand strategic vision required of a statesman, while Rumford excels in the narrower, more mechanical field of military operations.
- War Hawk: Kraft is eager to lend military aid to anyone and everyone with compatible values, and argues fiercely that Azania must be destroyed despite posing little immediate threat.
Gunnery Sergeant Matthews"Gunny" Matthews is a fellow veteran, the former company gunnery sergeant of Rumford's company, who is now attempting to organize and straighten up his local community. He and Rumford team up to combat inner-city crime in the housing projects, and proceed to become founding members of the Christian Marines. Gunny remains a close collaborator, and takes on senior leadership roles during the revolution against Washington.
- Dad the Veteran: A responsible father as well as veteran NCO.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": To Rumford and his fellow former Marines, he is and will forever remain "Gunny" and nothing else.
- Fake Defector: For a while, he pretends to join the Black Muslims in order to gather intelligence.
- Hero of Another Story: After the Civil War begins, Gunny increasingly handles matters outside Rumford's immediate view. From what we see of his contributions, he is doing great things for the people offscreen.
- Old Soldier: Retired after putting in his twenty-and-some years in the Corps, but still spry and capable, as he shows in the various battles he takes part in.
- The Patriarch: Rumford admires the way he takes care of his family, and he is an influential figure in his own neighborhood early in the story, the guy the little people come to with their problems.
- Principles Zealot: While not an aggressive fundamentalist in the stereotypical sense, who wears his religion on his sleeve and is always looking for a fight over it, Gunny is a very solid and sincere Christian believer. He is consumed with guilt and self-loathing when he forces himself to lie about his faith and falsely profess belief in Islam, in order to infiltrate al-Shabazz's Islamic militia after they conquer Boston.
- Sergeant Rock: Former USMC Gunnery Sergeant who takes on gangsters, radical Islamic militias and even the regular military of the dystopian future United States.
- Stop Being Stereotypical: Gunny by and large agrees with Rumford's view that the black community's biggest problem is not white racism, but rather its own bad apples. He can be quite vocal in his denunciations of drugs, rap music, petty criminality and "gangsta" culture in general when he gets going.
- Token Minority: The only major heroic black character in the book. After the Confederation becomes independent, Gunny is elected leader of those blacks who proclaim their loyalty to the new government.
- Vigilante Man: Before he joins the Christian Marines, he fights the criminals on his own together with a smaller, more informal group of allies.
John KellyA founding member of the Christian Marines militia, Rumford's unofficial number two man and consigliere in its early days, and later one of the organization's key leaders. He commands the defense of Boston from the UN-authorized "peacekeeping" mission.
- Badass Bookworm: He has read up on the classics of strategy and military art, and is familiar with the classical campaigns and the German general staff. Also an able front-line fighter.
- Badges and Dog Tags: A veteran of the USMC, 2nd Division, though not one of Rumford's prior associates. After leaving the Corps, he became an officer in the Massachusetts State Police.
- Chessmaster Sidekick: To Rumford early on. Rumford enters the Christian Marines as a first-rate tactician, but has little experience with the political game, where Kelly is more savvy. In their early organization, he does quite a bit of semi-subtle steering, including of Rumford himself, to push the group in his own direction. As Rumford then quickly picks up how things work, he recedes more into the background, but remains one of Rumford's chief advisors.
- Colonel Badass: Eventually becomes this in the Christian Marines.
- The Creon: A bright tactician and leadership talent who prefers not to lead, recognizing Rumford's lesser experience but greater natural ability. He remains loyal to Rumford and the Christian Marines' cause throughout, and is happy to take less responsibility as Rumford matures into the leader role.
- Cultured Badass: This two-fisted Marine knows enough classical theology to be able to recite the Nicene Creed by heart in correct Latin.
- It Has Been an Honor: Over the radiophone to Rumford, when it looks like his command is done for:Kelly: "Thanks, Ire. Thanks for everything, not just this. Whatever happens to us, what the Christian Marines have done has made a difference. In the end, thats all that counts. Out here."
- Last Words:Kelly: Vivat Christus Rex!
- Number Two: Together with Gunny Matthews, he is this to Rumford in the Christian Marines.
- Rage Against the Legal System: He thinks Judge Frylass and his buddies are nothing but worthless, corrupt parasites feeding off the decay of justice, and eventually acts on his convictions.
- Religious Bruiser: A more than decent unarmed fighter, and a trueborn Irish Catholic.
- Sacrificial Lion: He survives the Civil War, but ends up captured by the UN-appointed "peacekeepers" in Boston. When offered the choice between conversion to Islam and death, he takes the latter—but he also takes Ayatollah Ghorbag with him.
- The Social Expert: He understands how to navigate politics and the media better than most others among the Christian Marines, and establishes some important early contacts in the power structure.
- The Strategist: Not quite as much so as Kraft and Rumford himself, but recognized as one early on by Rumford.
- Strategy Versus Tactics: Brings this up at an early meeting, where he points out that a tactical victory against the gangsters the Christian Marines are fighting is not enough: they must win the war on the moral level if they are to achieve anything of lasting value.
- War Gaming: Kelly is a fan of this, though more the military's tactical decision games than tabletop.
Ron "Dano" DanielovAnother important figure in the early Christian Marines, a former Marine Recon Scout Sniper. He is in charge of the initial group's "wet work" and other shady business, and later takes on higher leadership functions in the mature organization. Also serves as Rumford's assistant/bodyguard during his visit to the New Confederacy.
- The Ace: One the Confederation's preeminent military badasses, who at various times functions rather competently as a soldier, spy, and amateur diplomat.
- Almighty Janitor: Though technically outranked by any warrant officer or second lieutenant, he makes strategic-level military decisions, and at one point even national policy by negotiating independently with Neo-Confederate military leaders. Somewhat justified, since he reports directly to Rumford and acts on his general directives. At one point, he is temporarily promoted to Captain, but later resigns that commission, preferring to remain an NCO.
- Boom, Headshot!: Delivers one on a Cultural Marxist agitator during Kraft's speech at Dartmouth against their subversive activities.
- Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Inverted when he is paired with the eloquent, but abrasive Captain Rumford. Danielov himself is a simpler, quieter and (usually) more amiable man.
- Consummate Professional: He is among the best at what he does, knows it, and takes a certain quiet statisfaction in that.
- Friendly Sniper: A bluff and (at times) gregarious soldier who is also a deadly marksman and commando.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: He downright hates "fags, freaks, and phonies".
- Putting on the Reich: Referring to the Scout Snipers' controversial real-life use of the Germanic Siegrunen (nowadays otherwise most famous as the Nazi Waffen-SS "lightning bolt" insignia) as an informal symbol. Danielov not merely approves of that, but practically invites the inevitable comparisons—though to be fair, in the context of military efficiency rather than politics.Rumford: Skorzeny himself would shake your hand if you can pull it [a commando raid] off. Is that the kind of thinking they taught you Scout/Sniper guys?Danielov: We didn't write it with the runes for nothing.
- Sergeant Rock: Former USMC Sergeant Major, Christian Marines special missions operative, and eventually Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chief of Staff (after Gunny Matthews has quit active service to stand for political office).
- Sociopathic Soldier: Somewhat downplayed, and a heroic example, as he is one of the most ruthless, and/or bloodthirsty Christian Marines. Most infamously, the summary execution of the Cultural Marxist subversives at Dartmouth is his idea as much as Governor Kraft's: While Kraft just wanted them dead, Dano came up with the specifics, and made it much bloodier than he originally intended.
- Stealth Expert: Runs circles around the Confederate sentries when he and Rumford are in Richmond, without them noticing.
- Would Hit a Girl: The first of the protagonists to kill a woman onscreen, and he is not very upset about it.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Even more than the Christian Marines generally, he and his men use deliberate "terrorist" tactics, such as hostage taking and car bombs, during the Civil War. In their defense, however, they do take care to minimize civilian casualties as much as possible.
Christian PatelAn officer of Indian extraction whose specialty is intelligence and cyber warfare. Untypical of the Prussian ethos of the Victorians in several ways, he is considered a bit of an oddball, though efficient at what he does.
- Agent Provocateur: Virtually. He has his hackers create fake accounts on the enemy networks and use them to spread rumors, propaganda and (inside the military systems) false and contradictory orders.
- Ambiguously Gay: A rare (in this book, at least) heroic example. He has histrionic, somewhat effeminate mannerisms, is overtly contemptuous of women, apparently doesn't plan on ever having children, and weaponizes online crossdressing.
- Bollywood Nerd: An Indian Indian from India, and one of the Confederation's senior cyber warriors.
- Defector from Decadence: Prefers the Confederation's Western culture to the social stratification and mass starvation of the setting's dystopian India.
- G.I.R.L.: At one point, he personally takes a hand in the infowar and uses a female online alias to play mind games with an enemy officer.
- Hollywood Encryption: Downplayed, as technobabble is kept to a minimum, but the narrative doesn't really cover the technical details of how his crew break into the secure datanets.
- Manipulative Bastard: His modus operandi, manipulating electronic information to influence and sabotage the enemy.
- Playful Hacker: Joking, laughing at furious web security officers on the receiving end of his shenanigans, and even indulging in a little self-deprecation at times. Though he also has a darker side, sometimes shading over into (an anti-heroic version of) The Cracker.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: He opines that "info war against women is more fun than a hog-calling contest in Pakistan," thus running the risk of offending both of the groups concerned in the simile.
- Red Baron: An unflattering example. His department is unofficially known as the "Nerds' Nest" among the other General Staff officers. However, they have since made it an Appropriated Appellation.
- Troll: Basically, he runs a professionalized, military outfit of frogposting hackers and trolls, and is one himself.
- Upper-Class Twit: His origins as one occasionally shine through. When asked whether he has any Spanish, he replies in the negative, since back where he grew up, "we spoke to the servants in Bengali."
Richard "Rick" HoffmanOne of the senior Navy men to join the early Victorians, and one of the relatively few of their top military leaders who is not a member of the Christian Marines. A professional rival, but personal friend, of Rumford's.
- Ascended Fanboy: Before he joined the Navy, he was already a Hornblower fan.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: By the time of the war with Azania, he is the CNO of the Northern Confederation's navy, as well as a (former) Navy SEAL.
- Crazy Enough to Work: In the campaign against the UN peacekeepers, when his "fleet" lacks real warships, they launch an almost-suicide attack using speedboats and homebrew towed torpedoes. It works because of surprise and the enemy's poor close-in weapons capabilities.
- Four-Star Badass: If the uniformed head of the service counts. He holds the rather lower rank of Captain (O-6), but this is because that is the highest regular rank in the Northern Confederation Navy while he serves (surpassed only by the special appointment of Admiral of the Fleet).
- Officer and a Gentleman: When not trading insults with fellow military men. For example, he greets Maria with a courtly bow when they first meet.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: He's fine with Hispanics living in their own countries, and having some trade and cooperation with them—he just doesn't want them in his country.Rumford: It's mestizos we're talkin' about helping. La Raza. Mexicans.Hoffman: I guess that doesn't bother me so long as they aren't planning to come up here.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: He has this sort of relationship with Rumford, with an added helping of friendly Interservice Rivalry.
Mrs. Rutherford P. BinghamA very conventional woman and staunch Retroculture supporter, who leads a propaganda committee and later a sort of civilian Women's Auxiliary for the armed forces. In the post-American storylines, she figures prominently as a leading agitator for war against the Lady Land Azania.
- Badass Pacifist: She will not use violence (because that is unfeminine), but is nonetheless utterly fearless in her activism, staying close to the front lines and giving rousing speeches to the troops almost literally under fire.
- The Chessmaster: Masterfully orchestrates the propaganda campaign that leads up to the war with Azania, thus having more influence on national policy than Rumford himself (who opposed both the war, initially, and her Auxiliary when it was first proposed). Granted that Kraft wanted the war anyway, it was still she who made sure it had public support.
- Cure Your Gays: Is a proponent of this, and eventually applies it to the defeated Azanians as they are reeducated, apparently successfully.
- Female Misogynist: Of the "Conservative Housewife" type described on the page. She obviously does not hate women as such, but views those who have fallen victim to unfeminine feminism with either pity or contempt, depending on how obdurate they are about it.
- Frontline General: If the commander of a WAC equivalent can qualify. She runs her organization in a very hands-on manner, and is personally present in the rear areas immediately behind the "hot" front.
- Heteronormative Crusader: After Azania is defeated, she takes it upon herself as her personal mission to cure the defeated Amazons of their lesbianism and other waywardness so that they can (as she sees things) live proper womanly lives and be happy in a Retroculture society.
- Internalized Categorism: Thinks women are inherently unsuited to wield authority or hold non-traditional positions in public life, and is perfectly sincere about it.
- Iron Lady: Even Rumford himself sometimes finds her intimidating.
- The Maiden Name Debate: She is always referred to by her married name, as befits a proper lady.
- Politically Incorrect Heroine: About as politically (in)correct as Rumford himself, at least about anything concerning gender or sex, but somewhat more polite and proper in how she expresses it.
- Propaganda Machine: Heroic example, and slightly downplayed, since it's a private rather than government organization. She runs the closest thing the Confederation has to one, including grassroots activism, citizens' committees, public speakers, press releases and much else.
- Proper Lady: Thinks all women should be this. Herself, she is a straight example combined with an Iron Lady.
- Red Baron: Her quasi-military organization becomes known as the "82nd Airborne Division" during the course of the war.
- Stay in the Kitchen: A variation. She is firmly convinced that women have no business in the military—though equally determined that they should support the war effort in every other way except by bearing arms, even when this places them in physical danger.
Governor John C. AdamsThe lawfully elected state governor of Maine, following the villainous Governor Hokem's downfall; later the first political leader of the Northern Confederation, as he takes charge of the secession movement.
- 100% Adoration Rating: The kindly, honest Governor Adams is a popular figure both within the US and internationally. When the Federal Government makes him a subject for targeted killing, this causes major backlash, protests and increased recruiting for the Confederation.
- Assassination Attempt: The Federal Government sends agents to assassinate him. And they succeed.
- Big Good: The acknowledged leader of the freedom fighters, who commands with wisdom and presence of mind, as well as the charismatic figure who personifies the whole movement in the public eye.
- The Extremist Was Right: Though denounced as a traitor by the federal government, he is remembered as a brave patriot in the Confederation.
- The Face: Adams is the public face of the revolution, far removed from the grayer (and deniable) under-the-table activities managed by people like Kraft and Danielov.
- Honest Corporate Executive: One of the book's very few examples of this archetype. Before he entered politics, he ran a paper mill, and his management style was the same as it remains in office: i.e., tough and competitive, but also fair and honest.
- Internal Reformist: Starts out as one while Maine still remains (albeit increasingly nominally) a loyal US State, using his position in the legitimate State Government to more or less surreptitiously aid the underground Christian Marines and their agenda. When open civil war breaks out and other states begin to secede, however, he changes track and assumes open leadership of the revolution.
- Meaningful Name: His name presumably references the Founding Father.
- Our Presidents Are Different: As the Confederation's political leader, he is President Personable with a little bit of President Iron mixed in.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Usually listens to Rumford's and Kraft's advice, and works well together with Rumford after he is appointed chief of the general staff.
- Rebel Leader: Technically this, though more of a statesman than a guerrillero.
- Supporting Leader: Fills this role through most of the civil war, generally backing Rumford's military policies while supplying political and moral guidance.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Averts this through his leadership. At one point during the revolution, there is rivalry between the Christian Marines, the other militias and the regular National Guard forces. Adams staves off the trouble by calling a general meeting of the resistance leaders and creating a unified national command structure, making General Corcoran (of the Maine National Guard) supreme commander of the new Northern Confederation Army, and Captain Rumford (of the Christian Marines) his chief of staff.
Lieutenant-Governor Asa BowenGovernor Adams's number two man, a much less decisive and principled leader. Eventually, he falls under the influence of the Deep Greeners and turns against the Retroculturists.
- The Alleged Boss: While he becomes the nominal head of the Confederation on succeeding Adams, Kraft and Rumford hold most of the de facto power through their networks of influence and control over the military.
- The Coup: Agrees to lead the Deep Green coup attempt against the Victorians. This fails, however, since William Kraft was already two steps ahead of him.
- Evil Chancellor: Downplayed, as he is by all tokens genuinely loyal to Governor Adams. However, he still schemes against Rumford, and more so after he becomes Governor himself.
- Freudian Excuse: His increasingly villainous behavior is due to resentment against Rumford's high-handed conduct as Chief of Staff toward himself, the nominal commander-in-chief, as well as the encouragement of his mistress.
- Honey Trap: Drawn to the Deep Greens through his mistress—and then brought down through her, when Kraft made her a double agent.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Double-subverted. He actually is fairly indecisive, a procrastinator and even a coward sometimes, something for which Rumford holds him in contempt... but he also realizes that this makes Rumford underestimate him, and deliberately plays it up even more to cover up his plotting against the Retroculturists.
- Politically Correct Villain: Downplayed, as he is not really very politically correct by real life standards, but is deemed too much so by those of the Confederation, being a "moderate" right-winger.
- Public Execution: Hanged publicly in town square (after trial, etc.) subsequent to his failed coup attempt.
- The Resenter: As an established politician set to succeed Adams, he becomes ever more resentful of Rumford, the outsider who continually evades or outright flouts his authority. He feels he should be the leader of the new Confederation, not some eccentric militia nut.
- Token Evil Teammate: Before he turns outright bad, he is still far too liberal for Rumford's taste.
Jenny LevineBowen's nurse, who also becomes his mistress. She has political ambitions of her own, puts him in contact with the Deep Green militias, and spurs him on to launch a coup against the Confederation's constitutional government.
- Ambiguously Jewish: She has a typically Russian-Jewish name, but nothing much is made of this in the story, nor is her religion (if any) brought up.
- Big Bad Wannabe: She is The Woman Behind the Man, and tries to be The Chessmaster with some success, but ends up out-gambited by William Kraft before her scheme can work out.
- Even Bad Women Love Their Mamas: She is shown to care about her mother, which Kraft uses against her when he makes his move.
- Gaia's Vengeance: The Deep Greeners, collectively, and she is at least tangentially a part of their movement (whether as a true believer or merely using them as pawns).
- Hospital Hottie: An attractive nurse who seduced Bowen away from his wife, whom he appears to have genuinely loved, and his loyalty to the Confederation.
- Lady Macbeth: While Bowen is initially resentful, but still loyal, she encourages him to join with the Deep Greeners and lead their coup against Rumford and the Christian Marines. His ambitions are at least as much hers, as well.
- Manipulative Bitch: She becomes a threat through her manipulations of Bowen, and is the driving force behind his coup attempt.
- Turn Coat: Forced to become one by Kraft, who kidnaps her and threatens her with execution (and implied torture) unless she informs on Bowen.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: After the coup is defeated, Bowen is publicly tried, found guilty of treason, and hanged. Levine does not stand trial, does not testify at Bowen's, and is never heard from again, indicating that Kraft either kept his deal with her and let her retire quietly, or else that he got rid of her. Which it was is never clarified.
Old United States (State and Federal Governments)
GeneralThe United States government of the 2020s in Victoria's dystopian future history. Though there are still honest citizens who believe in it, the reins of power are long since in the hands of corrupt oligarchs and other special interests.
- 0% Approval Rating: Eventually, when they can no longer buy compliance with Bread and Circuses and have to resort to bare-faced tyranny.
- Army of Thieves and Whores: The Federal forces increasingly become this, as the regulars are attrited, defect or just desert, and the government compensates by hiring third-world immigrants, mercenaries and gangsters instead. The major example is the Division "Numero Uno," which is also a deconstruction: it is made up mostly of gangbangers, and is both as appropriately evil and as completely incompetent as one might expect of such troops.
- Bread and Circuses: This is how the regime keeps the masses in check early in the story. When the economic collapse erases this option, they are forced to rely on armed tyranny instead.
- The Conspiracy: The Cultural Marxists, a loosely distributed network of wealthy plutocrats, media moguls and elite academics (and their various lackeys and stooges) who seek to surreptitiously weaken and destroy Western Civilization through cultural subversion and replacement-level immigration, thereby enabling their own takeover and a Marxist One World Order. They have great influence in the government, and bear significant (though far from exclusive) responsibility for its disastrous polices.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Many, especially in finance, since (according to Rumford, at least) the Wall Street oligarchs are Cultural Marxists to a man.
- Dystopia: A depressing future United States slowly ruined by decades of mismanagement across the board, creeping federal overreach, political corruption, economic decay, a failing educational system, cultural rot, surging crime and increasing ethnic strife. It's sad even before the disasters of the 2020s irreparably fracture the system and bring about one last convulsion into overt tyranny: the dream that was America truly died long before that, those events just made it obvious for all to see.
- Emergency Authority: Eventually the regime gives up even the pretence of democracy and launches an overt military dictatorship, though supposedly only for the duration of the emergency.
- The Empire: Early in the civil war, when they can still muster the resources to be credible in this role.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Many US Air Force pilots refuse to bomb American civilians when called upon to do so, even behind secessionist lines.
- Evil Will Fail: Rumford is convinced early on that the politically correct Government cannot survive for much longer, due to its own accelerating corruption and decay. By and large, this proves a correct assessment, though it can still do massive damage to the nation in the meantime.
- Fallen States of America: Eventually turns into this.
- Fascist, but Inefficient: Leftist example, and zig-zagged. They are quite effective in general terms, managing to keep the people under oppression until the combined disasters of economic meltdown and pandemic diseases overstrain their resources, but still often suffer minor defeats from the Christian Marines and their unusual stratagems. On the other hand, until the situation becomes apocalyptic, those small pinpricks never seriously threaten or harm the government.
- Gang Bangers: The urban criminal gangs are an important enforcement arm of the anarcho-tyrannical system. Later in the story, they are equipped from federal arsenals and mobilized into regular military units to serve as occupation forces and loyalty police.
- Inherent in the System: There is no one bad guy who is behind the country's misfortunes; rather, they are due to decades of system-wide corruption. Individual villains like Warner or Wesley could probably be quite decent persons in a healthier environment, but as it is, they are shaped by their surroundings.
- Intellectually Supported Tyranny: The regime has vast throngs of corrupt professors and liberal clergypersons shilling for it.
- Oppressive States of America: A left-wing version, originally comical in parts, but rapidly becoming more serious as the economy tanks and they impose an almost totalitarian tyranny trying to keep control.
- People's Republic of Tyranny: By the end of the story, the United States is little more than this, with random arbitrary tyranny and foreign mercenaries oppressing the citizens.
- Politically Correct Villain: Devoted to equalitarianism in every way, championing the rights of racial minorities, homosexuals, women and various others.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Many of the police and military grunts really sympathize with the freedom fighters, or if not, they are neutral at worst. Very few soldiers actually believe in or support the government's politically correct ideology; most are simply doing their job to keep their families fed and safe.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Averted for the most part by the regular military, but played completely straight by the new units the regime raises from immigrant cadres and domestic ethnic criminals.
- Ridiculous Future Inflation: The steady hidden inflation explodes into runaway hyperinflation when China and Japan drop the dollar as their reserve currency, with prices eventually doubling every day. This is one big factor both in the regime tightening its tyranny (to crack down on the inevitable barter/black currency informal economy this engenders) and in it losing much of its power and popular support.
- Vestigial Empire: By the time the military government takes over, it has effective control over less than a third of the continental States, and depends on foreign loans and subsidies to keep its troops in the field.
Colonel RyanRumford's CO at Amphibious Warfare School, a career-minded officer who goes along with political correctness because he knows anything else will kill any prospects of further promotion.
- Dean Bitterman: He cracks down hard on Rumford's anti-feminist prank at the remembrance ceremony. Subverted, in that he is at least a little reluctant to do so, at any rate initially, but pressured to do so by his own superiors.
- Enigmatic Minion: Ryan claims that he is punishing Rumford to protect the Corps from a feminist witch hunt. It is not clear whether this is true, or if it's just his own career he is protecting.
- Lawful Stupid: Rumford thinks he would never do anything before first clearing it with his superiors.
- Meaningful Name: He shares the name of Jack Ryan, Tom Clancy's techno-thriller hero, who is a (former) Marine and a politically savvy (and sort of conservative but politically correct) character.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: He always does what the Corps requires of him, no matter who has right on his side.
- Never My Fault: If he has to fire Rumford because some Congresswoman demands it, he will. Anyone else in his position would have done the same! He just has no choice!
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Though he obviously can't know it at the time, Ryan's driving Rumford out of the Corps serves to supply the Christian Marines with their most able recruit and eventual leader.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: From his own POV. He gives Rumford the options to be cashiered, or retract and grovel in public before the whole school, thereby perhaps saving his commission. However, Rumford considers this not so much a generous deal as a Sadistic Choice.
- Shout-Out: His most distinctive line, as he figuratively puts Rumford on trial:Ryan: "This has nothing to do with truth! What the hell is truth, anyway?"
- To Be Lawful or Good: It's rather subtly done, but the way he grows angry when interrogating Rumford suggests that he is not entirely comfortable with trashing a promising young officer's career over a single prank, like the politically correct masterminds demand. And by admitting that this is not about truth but only expediency, he shows that he has left morality behind, and knows it.
Judge Holland P. FrylassA federal magistrate who becomes the proto-Christian Marines' first major enemy, as Rumford, Matthews and their allies go toe to toe with the ethnic gangs in Boston. Frylass, the latter's ally within the justice system, sabotages the heroes' non-violent efforts, and thus forces them to take the law into their own hands.
- Corrupt Bureaucrat: Going beyond mere legalistic obstructionism, he actually rules in favor of the criminals Rumford and Matthews are trying to smoke out on purpose, doing his part for a corrupt network in the justice system.
- Pyrrhic Villainy: Technically, he wins, since the Christian Marines fail in their objective to free the housing projects from the criminals, and the government stomps down heavily on their efforts after he gets roughed up. Personally, however, he might not be in much of a position to enjoy it.
- Rage Against the Legal System: Becomes a significant early target of this at the hands of Rumford and his crew.
- Smug Snake: From what little is seen of him before he is dispatched.
- Starter Villain: The first real adversary Rumford faces as a civilian, and a rather low-level one compared to those he takes on later.
- Tar and Feathers: The treatment he gets from the Christian Marines and their allies, once they tire of his antics.
Governor HokemFormerly Senator, and currently Governor of Maine when first encountered. Unlike many other villains, Hokem is not really very evil, but still craven and corrupt. He is brought down by his own personal failings, in a manner that is ironic on several levels.
- Antagonistic Governor: A state governor, and the first major political figure the Christian Marines take on.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In an "anti-PC" sense. While championing homosexual rights in public, he ends up defeated by homosexuals.
- Hollywood Atheist: He bashes conservative religious anti-homosexual sentiment by bringing up Roman Catholic priests—though not in the context you would expect, but by referencing the Inquisition.
- Honey Trap: Caught in one by a pair of very convincing crossdressers, which dooms his political career.
- Irony: The way his downfall comes about is ironic on several levels, but as for the most obvious, this means that the ultra-conservative Christian Marines actually owe their first political breakthrough to Camp Gay men dressing up in gorgeous drag and seducing a straight guy.
- Scandalgate: The Christian Marines eventually draw public attention to recordings of the matters mentioned above, and the governor resigns in ignominy.
- Sleazy Politician: Not as bad as many others, but he still fails to live up to the responsibilities of his office.
- Unfortunate Name: His first name (Snidely) might remind older readers of the character Snidely Whiplash of ancient cartoon fame.
Governor FullarbottomGovernor of Vermont, who pushes through an impopular law dividing juries by racial quotas. The Christian Marines organize a political campaign against him, and other measures when that fails to take.
- Accidental Public Confession: The Christian Marines' psychological warfare campaign against him eventually gets on his nerves so much that he is provoked into telling the truth about how he feels about his party, his job and political correctness in general at a public press conference.
- Antagonistic Governor: The second one to appear in the story.
- Being Evil Sucks: He is evidently not a happy man, despite having obtained high political office, which used to be his one great ambition.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: His driver is really a Christian Marines agent.
- Hypocrite: He does not really believe in political correctness, except insofar as it advances his career.
President WarnerThe president who presides over the downfall of the United States. Warner himself is one more character who is not really very evil, so much as simply weak-willed and misguided—though he shows surprising competence under fire when the civil war escalates.
- Anti-Villain: His administration still does horrible things (with him ultimately responsible), but unlike the cackling villainy of many of his subordinates, Warner is just a man in over his head trying to keep the country together, and doing what he believes necessary for that.
- Evil Counterpart: To Governor Adams, the political leader of the rebels, who is likewise an affable Reasonable Authority Figure.
- Hollywood Atheist: At one rally, he affirms his administration's commitment to secularism and vows that the principles in the Bible will never become the law of the land in the United States.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Early on, he is little more than a puppet for the extremists and special interests in his administration, and makes some quite horrible military decisions, but he rises to the occasion when the real collapse begins, reining in military hotheads, pulling a legitimately impressive political coup and leveraging sorely needed foreign help from China, Japan and the UN. It's still not enough to save national unity, but he does grow in office.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: He is perhaps the one prominent Federal Government villain who comes across as unambiguously unselfish. While most others are mere corrupt hypocrites, Warner sincerely believes his regime is the lesser evil, and so fights to preserve it.
- No Party Given: Averted; he is explicitly said to be a Republican, just as his predecessor Cisneros was a Democrat.
- President Evil: Subverted. Warner is the head of the corrupt regime, and so he has to be the symbol of it to the people. Thus, everyone thinks he is this. Privately, he is actually probably the least evil major figure in the government, and more reacting to events (and the machinations of his squabbling underlings) than driving matters himself.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Far too much so for his own good, especially in his early appearances, since it often makes him an easy prey for the radicals among his advisors.
- Stepford Smiler: Subtly portrayed. He maintains an absurdly positive and optimistic public image, even when things look very bleak for his administration, presumably in order to keep up morale—but his actual decisions, and what little we see of his own POV, show that he realizes how serious the situation really is.
Secretary MowukuuThe Secretary of Defense in the Warner cabinet, horribly unsuited for the position and appointed for political reasons. She is, essentially, single-handedly responsible for the "Division Numero Uno" debacle.
- General Failure: Her influence on operations is baleful to say the very least.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Full name Kateesha Mowukuu. Her first name is current in the African-American community, but the surname seems to be made up, presumably to sound vaguely African.
- Obviously Evil: Tolerates the Rape, Pillage, and Burn of the 42nd Division "Numero Uno" on the grounds that this is acceptable retribution for centuries of white racism against persons of color.
- Smug Snake: Even more so than most of the villains, in between colossal incompetence and an equally overblown self-image.
- Straw Civilian: Perhaps the ultimate example in fiction of incompetent civilian politicians screwing up military matters.
- Strawman Political: At one point, she produces an Afrocentric rant that sounds quite deranged, to the point that one wonders whether she is under some narcotic influence.
General WesleyPresident Warner's closest military advisor, Chief of Staff of the Army and later Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After Warner's demise, he takes over what remains of the United States as military dictator.
- Crippling Overspecialization: From the perspective of being a military technician, rather than a statesman. Wesley is a far better military tactician than Warner, or anyone else we see on his side, but he lacks the President's political savvy. He lays out a very reasonable-sounding plan for destroying the Victorians once and for all—but once he is in charge, he fails to maintain the confidence of the Japanese, who withdraw their support from his military government, leaving him unable to fight on with any hope of victory.
- Dragon Ascendant: As military leader, he is the Dragon to Warner, and succeeds him as the story arc's Big Bad.
- Enigmatic Minion: His motives remain unclear, and can be read in multiple ways. Is he loyal to the flag, to Warner personally, or even just to his own interests? Each interpretation is possible to support from the text.
- Evil Counterpart: Kind of is one to Rumford, as a competent but narrow-minded military specialist with a good working relationship with his commander in chief.
- General Ripper: Launches a full-blown Military Coup after Warner's death. He is a downplayed example, however, since the very extraordinary situation justifies it more than in many other cases.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: Unlike most of the villains associated with the Federal Government, he appears largely uninterested in political correctness. His only concern is taking down the rebels.
- Officer and a Gentleman: He remains polite and dignified even in the face of his civilian superiors' far worse attitudes (and rampant uselessness) at National Security Council meetings—though one gets the feeling that he wishes he did not have to be there.
- Only Sane Man: Can sometimes appear as this in the top-echelon federal government due to his professionalism and lack of overt politics.
- Tragic Villain: He worked very hard to preserve the United States, even to the point where he became Not So Different from the rebels he was fighting (by overthrowing the constitutional government he pledged his allegiance to). Even so, it wasn't enough, and he ended up in charge of a tiny Vestigial Empire—really little better than just one more warlord state—as the country collapsed completely. Then that withered away as well, as his last loyal troops deserted him. Whatever it was he fought for, he lost it all.
The New Confederacy
GeneralThe second significant breakaway faction from the old US, after the Northern Confederation, by and large corresponding to the historical Confederated States. Here, however, the revolution is far less of a clean sweep, leaving many of the old, corrupt political class in positions of power. Consequently, the Confederacy suffers continued internal strife, and eventually even a new civil war.
- Armchair Military: The Confederate military is competent enough, and well equipped, but hamstrung by a stifling military bureaucracy resembling the worst excesses of the old Pentagon.
- Bling of War: Played straight, with uniforms and decorations inspired by the military pageantry of the first Confederacy and its general period. This for service and dress uniform, obviously; battle dress is still subject to reasonable pragmatism.
- Civil War: Between political factions, though there is also an ethnic/racial dimension to it. Roughly speaking, the faultlines run between the right wing "Old South" (country boys, military, small business, conservatives, Christians, non-elite whites) and the left wing "New South" (city people, criminals, welfare cases, liberals, atheists, minorities and elites).
- Dirty Communists: The Commune in Atlanta, which is Obviously Evil and outright genocidal.
- Deep South: Goes out of its way to reenact great numbers of the relevant stereotypes, whether of antebellum times or those of more recent vintage.
- Politically Correct Villain: The "New South" faction, who are basically The Remnant of the old US government.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: The "Old South" faction, who are Southern nationalists and rather anti-PC by most real life standards.
- Southern Gentleman: More or less all the Confederate officers and statesmen Rumford interacts with when he visits are some version of this.
President YanceySenator Samuel Yancey becomes the New Confederacy's first president, and sees it through its trying first years and the conflict with the "New South" radicals.
- The Alleged Boss: Yancey is a well-meaning man, but really too indecisive for his office initially. It requires forceful prompting from Rumford to get him to take command.
- Emergency Presidential Address: Following Operation Sherman, he announces the defeat of the "New South" and the military occupation of the territories it held by loyal government forces.
- In-Series Nickname: Being "Old Sam" is part of his image.
- Our Presidents Are Different: A version of President Personable.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Acts on Rumford's advice at the opportune time, and so manages to end the civil war and pull his country back together.
General LacledeCommanding General of the Army of the New Confederated States. Laclede is somewhat more activistic than his commander-in-chief, but still reluctant to make any major moves on his own initiative.
- Bling of War: Receives Rumford in a gorgeous dress uniform, complete with sash and saber. Also overlaps with Chest of Medals.
- Cool Old Guy: A graying general who does not quite have the combat record to qualify as a straight Four-Star Badass, but does have the attitude.
- Deadpan Snarker: Freely lampshades his own army's phlegmatic procedures and overstaffed headquarters in a conversation with Rumford:Laclede: "A most important question, Field Marshal Rumford. It is one which we have under study. Fourteen Colonels in my G-3 section have been working on it for most of the summer. Those are all full colonels, I might add, not lieutenant colonels. We have more than fifty contractors and consultants supporting them. Confidentially—this is the first my own staff has heard of this, and I apologize for surprising them—President Yancey is thinking about appointing a Blue Ribbon Commission of retired senior officers to investigate the matter and give us the benefit of their recommendations. I can assure you, we are considering every possible aspect of the situation in the most thorough manner."
- I Meant to Do That: Agrees to claim public credit for Operation Sherman when Rumford forces his hand.
- Living Legend: Becomes known as "the new Jackson" for his resolute leadership in the Southern Civil War.
- Old Soldier: An old general now well along in years, though not too old to be able to think on his feet.
- Stay in the Kitchen: He thinks having women in the Army is incompatible with Southern chivalry, and takes this seriously enough to champion this viewpoint in public, even when it gets him in trouble with liberal "New South" politicians on the Military Affairs Committee.
Colonel McMosterBill McMoster is the CO of the 3rd Texas Rangers and a tough, can-do Southern officer who combines erudition and will. He becomes Rumford's chief ally as they engage in the Southern Civil War and take on the Commune together.
- Badass Boast: When he goes on the offensive:McMoster: Thanks, but no thanks. This has to be an operation by the Confederate Armed Forces. Even if Richmond disavows it, it will show the New South that some of us can and will act. If Richmond decides to hang someone for it, it should be me they hang.
- Cigar Chomper: His office never lacks fresh cigars.
- Colonel Badass: Engages in strenuous physical exercises with his men, defies his superiors in his attempt to save New Orleans, and leads Operation Sherman in person.
- Cultured Badass: In addition to his military toughness, he is also erudite and cultured, an avid student of history, and at least reasonably classy with his food, drink and tobacco.
- Drink Order: A nice bourbon whiskey, showing him as both sophisticated and a tough guy.
- Good Ol' Boy: A little more "upper" middle-class than most, but otherwise a completely straight example.
- Nepotism: A rare benevolent example. He risks his commission by defying orders not to intervene against the gangster armies destroying New Orleans, but is allowed to remain in command of his battalion because he is related by marriage to the First Lady.
- Terror Hero: Quoting verbatim, he believes that "terror must be answered with terror," and acts accordingly.
"Big Daddy" TsombeThe warlord-like mayor of New Orleans, with intimate connections with voodoo and organized crime, and one of the leaders of the "New South" faction.
- The Bad Guys Are Cops: He controls the police in New Orleans, and coordinates it with the gangster militias.
- Corrupt Politician: Rules much like a Third World strongman.
- Dirty Communists: Like most "New South" sub-factions, his regime is this, though more African-flavored than Soviet.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The historical Toussaint Louverture he is (presumably) named after was one of the leaders of the 19th-century rebellion on Haiti that slaughtered almost all white people on the island.
- Overly Long Name: Full name, "Big Daddy" Tsombe Toussaint L'Overture Othello Jones.
- Scary Black Man: Though more in the vein of a Haitian dictator or African warlord than a typical Hollywood antihero.
- Taking You with Me: A particularly twisted example. When New Orleans is besieged by "Old South" forces and he has little hope of victory, he orders his forces to burn the city to the ground so there will be nothing left for the enemy to save.
- Villain Team-Up: After first warring with the Hispanic gangsters, he eventually joins with them to attack the majority-white districts that are their common enemy.
GeneralA right-wing Christian revolutionary government, led by the Reverend Ebenezer Smith, that takes over much of New Jersey when the Federal Government really begins to come apart. While not part of the Northern Confederation proper, they are among its allies in the struggle against the corrupt Old US regime.
- Black and Gray Morality: The gangsters and corrupt officials they are fighting are the worst, but they can also be extremely brutal themselves. For one thing, they ironically appropriate the South African Communists' infamous technique of torture/execution by necklacing.
- Church Police: Their militia enforces old-school Christian morality, which includes banning public intoxication, sexual immorality and anything drug-related with extreme prejudice.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Their signum. Death penalty for murderous gangsters? Well, maybe controversial, but a lot of people will probably be fine with that. Death penalty for prostitution likely sounds a little harsh to almost anyone, though.
- Hanging Judge: Even more prone to this than the Victorians proper.
- Illegal Religion: At first. The Federal Government initially outlaws their church as a terrorist group, but ultimately proves unable to enforce this.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Once he is in control, Reverend Smith administers stern and swift justice to all undesirables, including gang affiliates, prostitutes and drug addicts.
- The Theocracy: Once the corrupt goverment officials have been driven out (or put to the torch, if they did not run fast enough), Dr. Smith rules as Protector together with a "Council of Elders" in a Christian commonwealth vaguely like Cromwell's England or Calvin's Geneva.
- Torches and Pitchforks: The militia, though updated for modern times: instead of pitchforks, they mostly use baseball bats, knives, light handguns and other improvised/non-military weapons. There's also more regular firepower from the National Guard.
- Unproblematic Prostitution: Completely and utterly defied and averted, since the unconditional penalty for procurers and prostitutes here is death.
- Velvet Revolution: Averted by their initial (and very bloody) takeover, then played straight. The government did make one more attempt to retake the state with federal forces, after they drove out the local authorities, but the Reverend Smith's effective propaganda persuaded most of the troops they sent to either join him, or else desert.
The Reverend Dr. Ebenezer SmithThe fire-and-brimstone-preaching clergyman who leads the revolution in New Jersey, rallying his flock against the gangsters and Federal Government supporters. After his church establishes the Protectorate as an independent theocratic state, he rules it as its elected Protector.
- Dark Messiah: A charismatic preacher who starts his campaign by leading a whole city in rebellion and setting off a brutal civil war in the name of Justice and God.
- Dark Shepherd: He and the faithful will make sure you are a good Christian and obey the law within their jurisdiction.
- The Fundamentalist: His denomination is not explicitly named, but his rhetoric is that of a right-wing Evangelical. His followers also sing "Onward Christian Soldiers" as they march into battle.
- Just the First Citizen: After seizing power, he assumes the relatively simple and modest title of Protector.
- Knight Templar: While by all appearances completely sincere in his devout Christianity, he adheres firmly to the Old Testament school of exterminating both sin and sinners root and branch, rather than turning the other cheek.
- Mission from God: He is on one to clean out the gangsters and restore what he considers proper public morality and Christian virtue.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Perhaps the most extreme example of this in the story, being even more brutal than William Kraft at his worst.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: He thinks things were better for everyone under segregation than after, including the Negroes themselves.
- Psycho Supporter: Whether he is literally insane or not, he is effectively this to the Victorians by taking their right wing political Christianity Up to Eleven.
- Sinister Minister: A rare heroic example, or at least one broadly aligned with the heroic faction. He is not corrupt, though—just a modern crusader in the most literal sense of the word.
- Token Evil Teammate: In the sense that his government is brutal and borderline totalitarian, and Smith himself a religious fanatic—but still an ally (if an unsavory one) to the Victorians in the struggle against the tyrannical Federal Government.
- Turbulent Priest: His religion eventually leads him to rebel against the government when it protects the gangsters who prey on his congregation.
- Vigilante Man: His crusade starts like this, but becomes more of a general insurrection as the authorities try to interfere with his purge of the gangsters, and he in turn turns on them.
GeneralA neo-Nazi militia that rises up in the Midwest to fight the ethnic urban gangs of Chicago and other looters that ravage the countryside. Organized by Leader von Braun, they run a tight ship and manage to restore order in their sphere of influence, though at the obvious price of fascist dominion.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: While they will look Obviously Evil to most readers, they actually have a somewhat coherent philosophy to justify their actions, based on typical fascist elitism, consequentialism, collectivism and Darwinism, with an added helping of Nietzschean ideas. They are not amoral, just following a rather different moral code than the traditional, Christian American way.
- Hero of Another Story: If neo-Nazis can ever be called "heroic" in any way, but Rumford acknowledges that they do a good job offscreen cleaning up their states, previously ravaged by various savage gangs, and restoring order and safety for the common people.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: They stop just short of actually calling themselves Nazis, but in every other way, they are a carbon copy of them, with only slight concessions to traditional American militia imagery.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: As far as Nazi racism is concerned. It's made abundantly clear that they don't like racial minorities, but they never engage in any actual onscreen atrocities against them.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Being all but literal Nazis, they obviously are this by default.
- Red Herring: Quite some time and space is devoted to building them up as a competent and menacing enemy, and seemingly the major threat that the Confederation will have to defeat or die trying. However, von Braun is ultimately brought down by an internal coup, leaving a more moderate government in his place, and the Confederation's back free for the real final fight with Azania.
- Repressive, but Efficient: Leader von Braun runs his army this way, and apparently has some military talent himself, setting up a solid system of logistics and supply and a training establishment that turns out excellent soldiers.
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: An extreme example, embracing overt Nazi imagery and doctrines. In this way, they are also a sort of foil for the Christian Marines, who are a more sympathetic right-wing militia.
Leader von BraunThe leader of the Landwehr. A competent organizer and, by all accounts, fanatical fascist who believes it his destiny to save and restore America—by turning it into the Fourth Reich.
- Baddie Flattery: He commends Rumford on his splendid military campaigns and devotion to his nation.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Believes himself to be the next Hitler (and that this is a good thing). While competent enough, he is not quite on that level.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Blames Jews and Freemasons for the downfall of America and the continued opposition to his own attempts to restore it.
- Dark Messiah: A philosophically inclined mystery man who rose out of nowhere with sufficient charisma and organizational talent to create a militia that took over large areas, and wishes to reshape the whole nation in the image of his ideology.
- Famous-Named Foreigner: He shares the name of the German engineer who is probably the most famous rocket scientist of all time.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Rumford speculates that he and his men started out this way, as people who just tried to bring back some sanity in the Apocalypse Anarchy and then went off the deep end.
- Hope Bringer: A very dark example. He represents unapologetic fascism, but Rumford realizes that in the post-apocalyptic Crapsack World, he still symbolizes real hope for the desperate masses, since fascism, however bad, is ultimately still far better than mass starvation, anarchy and complete societal collapse.
- Nazi Nobleman: He at least claims to be one; the real von Braun family are Prussian barons originally. However, Rumford doubts whether he is really this, or just a Fake Aristocrat using an assumed name.
- The Philosopher: An evil version, devoted to Nietzschean ideas—though not everyone will agree with how he interprets the philosophy.
- President Evil: The leader of one of the several post-American nations of the setting in its later stages, and evil by most standards.
- We Can Rule Together: Asks Rumford, and the Northern Confederation he represents, to join him in his struggle to restore a sane and orderly America (according to his own fascist principles). While Rumford feels uncomfortably Not So Different from the Nazis due to his own atrocities in the civil wars, he still despises Nazism, and so (with Kraft's approval) turns him down.
Captain HalsingAn officer in the Landwehr and emissary to the Confederation. Halsing is the very model of a Nazi soldier: tall, blond, blue-eyed and handsome in the rugged Nordic manner, intelligent, competent, cultured, ever calm and composed, and scrupulously polite ... and completely devoted to his group's fascist ideology and Nietzschean philosophy.
- The Ace: A masterful ranger/outdoorsman and very dangerous fighting soldier who gets to prove himself, and is also intelligent and cultured. When Rumford asks him how he could get past all the security to appear unannounced at his front door, he jocularly attributes it to the "Triumph of the Will."
- Affably Evil: Unfailingly polite and cultured, privately fair-minded and grateful, and happy to engage in philosophical discussions. Out of the many villains in the story, he is one of the very few considered likeable, nevermind recognized as such by the protagonists.
- Ambadassador: He is only an unofficial emissary, but still Leader von Braun's personal representative, as well as one of the most hardcore military operators in the story.
- The Anti-Nihilist: Embraces Nietzschean philosophy without becoming a Nietzsche Wannabe, and devotes himself fully to his country and its cause. Rumford finds it somewhat eerie that a non-Christian Nazi can be so spiritually focused and at peace with the world, unlike the pathetic atheists earlier in the story.
- Beauty Is Bad: One of the few cases where the story plays this straight, since his handsomeness is used to hint obliquely at Nazi racial ideals and stereotypes. It's still downplayed, though, since Halsing himself is personally rather nice (for a villain), even if his politics are evil.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: A Rare Male Example who manages to keep clean and snappy through days of arduous off-road trekking in forests and mountains. This is specifically remarked on by Rumford, and serves to illustrate both his competence and his perfectionism.
- Blind Obedience: He is completely loyal to Leader von Braun, and obeys his directives even when he personally believes them to be mistaken.
- Evil Counterpart: In many ways, Halsing functions as a twisted mirror image to Rumford: a competent, literate and idealistic officer who serves as his leader's personal representative, and is totally devoted to his cause. Indeed, in some ways he is arguably better, for example in his unfailing politeness, which Rumford does not share—but his beliefs, however sincerely held, are deplorable.
- Friend to All Living Things: He is untroubled by the wild animals of the wilderness, and even Rumford's German Shepherd guard dog will not attack him or even bark at him, since she can sense his friendly purpose.
- Friendly Enemy: Downplayed. He and Rumford do not really become close friends, but respect each other, converse semi-casually and regret that their politics must make them enemies. This style is maintained (by correspondence) even after Kraft proscribes Halsing.
- Made of Iron: Among a number of other things, he survives getting dunked in a river and escaping on foot in the dead of winter (in Maine).
- Minnesota Nice: A somewhat unusual variation, being a polite, bright and friendly all-American Nazi commando from the Midwest.
- Officer and a Gentleman: The Nazi version, who never really relaxes, but is polite and cultured throughout.
- The Paragon: A villainous example, who believes in his cause and leads by example.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Self-explanatory, since he is a true believer in National Socialism.
- Putting on the Reich: The Landwehr appears to use the German Waffen-SS uniform and system of ranks. Halsing's military rank is properly Hauptsturmfuehrer, but is usually just translated as Captain (the American equivalent) for convenience.
- Stealth Expert: Demonstrated when he infiltrates the Confederation, and then gets past Rumford's personal security.
- Super Soldier: A mundane version, since he is never said or implied to be literally superhuman, but he pulls off some extraordinary feats, and is very impressive both physically and mentally. Rumford worries that if he is in any way representative of the Landwehr's training and doctrine, they might be a real threat indeed.
- Villain Has a Point: He is perhaps the only character in the book who gets to call William Kraft out on certain blind spots in his reactionary philosophy—and arguably wins the argument, since Kraft cuts it short by having him arrested.
- Worthy Opponent: In the end, acknowledged as such by Rumford himself, an honor very rarely granted to any enemy.Rumford: About three months later, I got a nice letter from Captain Halsing, postmarked Milwaukee, thanking me for my hospitality. He was the model Nazi, cold, competent, and perfectly polite.
GeneralA coalition of warlords who took over most of Mexico after its army was routed by the Texas National Guard. Their unifying trait is horrible religious rituals.
- Ax-Crazy: Or at least they appear that way, possibly as a deliberate strategy of terror.
- The Cartel: They are loosely based on real-life groups like the Zetas, who are implicated in extremely brutal criminality and (rumored) pagan syncretism, Satanism and human sacrifice.
- The Dreaded: Understandably, no one wants to fall into their hands.
- Hollywood Satanism: Their religion has traits of this, and Rumford at least considers it absolutely pure devil-worship.
- Mayincatec: Their aesthetics draw on the old Indian cultures. There is a separate Maya nation further to the south, but the Aztecs themselves incorporate various anachronistic and cross-cultural traits. Probably they are quite deliberately written that way, given that it was not exactly cultural anthropologists who started the group.
- Religion of Evil: Their society is based on one inspired by pre-Columbian paganism. Its main features are cannibalism and human sacrifice.
- Ruthless Modern Pirates: They send expeditions north to capture victims for their sacrifices, sometimes by sea, then attacking Confederation fishing ship, among other targets.
GeneralThe main faction of Mexicans opposing the Aztecs, organized around a sort of clerico-fascism à la Franco of the Spanish Civil War. They are certainly the relatively less evil of the two groups, but by no means pure themselves.
- Banana Republic: Their governments are unstable, dependent on family connections and charismatic leaders, and frequently short-lived.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: At least from the way the insider Maria tells it, only the strongest of leaders can keep his lieutenants in line for any length of time before falling victim to this.
- Church Militant: They are organized around political Catholicism, and the worldwide Roman Catholic Church supplies them with weapons and funds.
- Fascist, but Inefficient: While a good caudillo can pull them together, this is their default state.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: The Cristeros are massively dysfunctional and corrupt themselves, but still far, far better than the alternative, and this is specifically acknowledged in-story.
- Vestigial Empire: Consider themselves the legitimate Mexican government, but they control only a small part of the country.
Maria Mercedes de Dio de AlvaA Spanish-Mexican noblewoman and scion of the ancient Alba family of Spain. Her father was one of the leaders of the Cristero alliance, but was betrayed and killed. Rumford rescues her from Aztec captivity.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Not in the sense that she's an Action Girl in hiding, but she is far more competent (and occasionally ruthless) than her self-effacing demeanor suggests.
- Blue Blood: Her family is one of the most ancient and noble ones that still exist, at least in a European/Western context, though she does not appear to have a title herself.
- The Consigliere: Rumford discusses his political ideas informally with her, something he can do more honestly in private than before the staff, where he can't afford to show any weakness or doubt. Their talks help him order his thoughts, and Maria sometimes offers insightful advice, as well.
- Damsel in Distress: When she and Rumford first meet, she is a prisoner of Aztec freebooters.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Being captured by the Aztecs was only the latest of her misfortunes among the ruthless Cristero elites.
- Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: As a proper lady, this is how she greets proper gentlemen.
- Hello, Nurse!: Not just Rumford, but his troops as well, are struck by her beauty as they free her from the Aztecs. Later she gets similar reactions from Hoffman and others.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: Like Daenerys in A Song of Ice and Fire, whenever she gives Rumford any advice, she will typically preface it with some variation of "I'm just a woman, so I don't really understand these things, of course, but couldn't it help if ... ?" And when it proves helpful, she will insist it was really his idea all along, and she was just helping him articulate it.
- Humble Heroine: She if the antithesis of prideful, to the point of being downright self-effacing.
- Latino Is Brown: Averted, since Maria is of pure European descent. Though this is still considered unusual enough that characters remark on her classical beauty and fair complexion.
- Maligned Mixed Marriage: Mild example, with Rumford's conservative family initially disliking Maria when he introduces them to her. They are eventually won over by her nobility of character.
- Non-Royal Princess: She is not titled royalty, but is the daughter of a major Cristero aristocrat and leader with Blue Blood, and generally plays this role.
- Not Like Other Girls: Considered to be this by Rumford because of her aristocratic dignity, humility and total immunity to feminism.
- Poirot Speak: Maria generally speaks very good English, but in a slightly formal style that sometimes does not feel entirely natural to a native speaker, and occasionally slips in a Spanish word.
- Politically Active Princess: Not literally a princess, but a noblewoman in the same position. She is clearly up to date on international politics, and tries (though in a non-manipulative manner) to improve relations between her own people and the Confederation. Later, she gives intelligent political advice to Rumford, and takes some part in the propaganda and post-war planning concerning Azania.
- Princess in Rags: A daughter of patricians who lost everything when her family was destroyed in political infighting, but retains her dignity and deportment.
- Proper Lady: She has the breeding, manners and personality, and knows how to run a household.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Her appearance, displaying her ancient and noble heritage.
- Rescue Romance: A downplayed example. She becomes Rumford's Love Interest after he rescues her, but he is rather restrained and will not initially pursue matters further, being Married to the Job.
- Sage Love Interest: Downplayed, but she impresses Rumford with her calmness, wisdom, and faith.
- Spicy Latina: Completely averted, with her personality calm, dignified and generally well-mannered.
- The Stoic: Maria has suffered immense tragedies in her life, yet accepts her destiny with stoic calm.
- True Beauty Is on the Inside: Downplayed. She is legitimately beautiful, but Rumford finds himself more attracted by her kindness, quiet intelligence and inner strength.
- Will They or Won't They?: With Rumford. In the end, she turns him down.
- Women Are Wiser: Maria is a more moral person than Rumford, and at times wiser, contributing some psychological insights to his war planning.
GeneralThe major post-American state in the Pacific Northwest. Founded by idealistic environmentalists, Cascadia was then taken over by a neo-pagan cult and turned into a nightmarish theocratic Luddite failed state. When it falls under Chinese influence, Rumford leads a joint Confederation-Japanese intervention to keep the PRC from gaining a foothold in the Americas.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: Was founded to protect the environment, but by the end its rulers are strip-mining the state for their own glory and pecuniary advantage.
- Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: The Paleopitus rely on Swedish and Czech mercenaries to protect them and enforce their will.
- Dystopia: Perhaps the most bleak and wretched of all of these in a setting that has many; the only close contender would be the Aztecs. Cascadia is a starving, hopeless tyranny ruled by insane megalomaniacs who both loot the country and oppress the people with strange and capricious whims.
- Dystopian Edict: Laughter is outlawed in Cascadia, because it wastes air, a precious spiritual resource of Nature.
- Evil Luddite: For reasons of environmentalism all technology is banned, except for that which the rulers allow on a case by case basis.
- Fed to the Beast: The Paleopitus executes at least some of its enemies by feeding them to wild animals.
- Gaia's Revenge: In the intermediate stage, when it is ruled by fanatical but still sincere eco-primitivists.
- God-Emperor: Eventually ruled by a collective example, as the members of the ruling council proclaim themselves joint incarnations of their pagan goddess.
- Kangaroo Court: Taken Up to Eleven, with literal wild animals serving as jurors. A druidic seer is deputized to "interpret" their verdicts for the court record.
- Path of Inspiration: The neo-pagan cult that eventually takes over, and mutates into a full-blown Religion of Evil with deification of the leaders and human sacrifice.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: At first. Originally, Cascadia was formed to protect the environment (by force, if need be) and create a utopia where people could live in harmony with nature. However, it was derailed twice, first by fanatics and then by Straw Hypocrites.
The goddessOne of the (allegedly) divinely indwelt members of the Paleopitus, the oligarchy that rules Cascadia. She becomes the target of the Cascadian Resistance's first attack against their masters.
- Bad Boss: Her first thought when annoyed about noncompliance with an order is that a victim is needed for a sacrifice.
- A God Am I: She has no literal supernatural powers, but political and religious power over life and death nonetheless, and views her followers as "mere mortals".
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Ends up skinned by the Resistance, with her skin literally hung up to dry.
- Lack of Empathy: She is more upset about commoners maltreating a holy owl than them killing her chief attendant.
- Mook Horror Show: There is a definite horror atmosphere to the scene where the Resistance fighters hunt her in the woods, with her guards killed off one by one.
- No Name Given: But then, a goddess doesn't need one.
- Our Founder: When introduced, she is planning for a colossal statue of herself as the Roman goddess Ceres in Seattle harbor.
- The Sociopath: From what we see of her characterization, between egomania, grandiosity, and sheer inhumanity.
GeneralThe most unique, and most dangerous, of the post-American successor states, a super-high-tech transhumanist feminist republic that occupies what used to be the northern two thirds of California. Their technocracy is the perfect antithesis to traditionalist Victoria, and the one enemy Kraft fears and hates more than any other.
- All Nations Are Superpowers: Relatively tiny Azania is a technological leader and one of the most powerful nations in the world, at least in military terms. Somewhat justified, since 1) California is a pretty big, high-tech economy even counted all by itself in real life, and 2) the global disasters have cut everyone else down at least a bit, sometimes a lot.
- Amazon Brigade: Except for foreign auxiliaries, they employ only women in their armed forces.
- False Utopia: Unlike the more obvious dystopias of the setting, Azania is prosperous, advanced and at least seemingly happy, and draws eager immigrants from across the continent. However, it is still a totalitarian dictatorship, and moreover one devoted to remaking the very human species itself into something new and different.
- Faux Action Girl: Downplayed. They do underperform compared to what their stated capabilities should imply (especially their air forces), but remain among the most dangerous enemies Rumford faces, and the only ones ever to actually manage to surprise and outmaneuver him in battle.
- Homosexual Reproduction: By means of mass-scale cloning and Uterine Replicator. This is the only reproduction tolerated, with pregnancy and motherhood outlawed.
- Lady Land: Azania has only a small minority of men, who live on sufferance. Those that remain are encouraged to emigrate, and no new male children are permitted to be born.
- Made a Slave: After the Azanians surrender, most of them are rehabilitated and become productive citizens under the new Retroculture regime, but a few bitter-enders refuse to give up. Since Rumford does not like executing women, they are instead shipped to the Aden slave market, with the implication that forced marriage is a likely fate for them.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: Exchange "male" for "Jew" and "female" for "Aryan" on the good/bad list, and Azania is a straight (or rather lesbian) example.
- No Guy Wants an Amazon: Seemingly averted. A few exceptions aside, the Azanian Amazons are considerably more attractive than the more standard Soapbox Sadie-style feminist caricatures seen earlier in the story, and indeed many Victorian soldiers court and marry former Azanians after they are defeated.
- No Heterosexual Sex Allowed: Defined as rape, with severe penalties, no matter the circumstances. Any pregnancies are terminated, forcibly if need be.
- One-Gender Race: They are not quite there yet, but this is what they are trying to become.
- People's Republic of Tyranny: Its full official name is the Democratic Republic of Azania, and it is as democratic as that usually implies, with a small junta of extremists holding all real power.
- Psycho Lesbian: Downplayed. They are evil villains, and lesbianism is an embraced part of their fascistoid ideology, but generally they are not literally psychotic or insane.
- Repressive, but Efficient: Zig-zagged. They have the most advanced technology in North America, create a prosperous society and well-equipped military in the midst of global disasters and carry off amazing industrial and technological feats, but underperform when their military units face Rumford's—due at least in part to the latter's Plot Armor.
- Sex Slave: Downplayed, but the implied fate of the Azanian diehards after their defeat brings this to mind.
- Straw Feminist: To the point that it becomes literal "feminazism," with a government that makes men the hated minority and otherwise plays fascism totally straight, complete with militarism and eugenics.
- Technologically Advanced Foe: In addition to their transhumanism, the Azanians also have some of the most advanced military technology in the setting, including stealth aircraft, an active space presence and nuclear weapons.
- Transhumanism: The fundamental aim of their state is to triumph over "oppressive" biology and human nature and create a new humanity, a species of androgynous Amazons who truly will not need men for anything.
Lieutenant-Colonel Mary MaloneA distinguished officer in the Azanian Air Force, who ends up playing a pivotal role in the final battle at Berkeley.
- Action Girl: As an Informed Attribute, since she is never actually seen firsthand fighting in person. But she is at any rate a competent military woman, and certainly cool under immense pressure in her key scene.
- Action Politician: At one point, she was politically active, and even elected to the state assembly.
- Affectionate Nickname: Her boyfriend calls her Molly.
- Ambiguously Bi: She joins a blatantly lesbian Amazon Brigade, and excels where only "women of full consciousness" are normally allowed in leadership positions. On the other hand, her only depicted romance is heterosexual.
- Being Evil Sucks: Living in a high-tech Lady Land and being an admired and successful officer in their evil Amazon Brigade apparently did not make her truly happy, something that instead comes about when she marries a Victorian officer after Azania's defeat.
- Double Standard: After she joins the Victorians and gets married, it is taken for granted by everyone that she should not work, but be an ordinary housewife. Of course, their military has no openings for female officers, anyway.
- Go-Getter Girl: Used to be this in school, and kept up the perfectionism later in life as well.
- Love Redeems: When she is reunited with her old lover, she joins the Confederation forces and helps them disarm Azania's failsafe nuclear weapons.
- Never a Self-Made Woman: Averted. She is the one major example in the story of a competent woman who has made significant achievements of her own and attained a fairly high position purely by merit.
- The Paragon Always Rebels: Inverted, applying this to a villainous character. She is one of the most competent and loyal Azanians, but eventually turns against them.
- Revenge Against Men: Despises men ever since the great love of her life was sabotaged, many years ago, and supposedly joined Azania for that reason.
- Working-Class Hero: Villainous example, and somewhat downplayed. She came from modest (though not truly impoverished) circumstances, and worked hard to improve her station.
GeneralAfter the post-Soviet turmoil, Russia is a monarchy once more, and recovering some of her former strength. Under the new Czar, the Russian Empire forges new alliances with Europe, and aids the secessionists in America in their struggle for independence, but is itself threatened by the grumblings of the Islamic tribes in the Middle East and Central Asia.
- Enemy Mine: They are willing to work with anyone, even the Chinese, who will help them combat the Islamic threat.
- Feudal Future: Russia becomes an absolute monarchy once more under Czar Alexander, rejecting both Communism and democracy.
- Forever War: Together with their European allies, and occasionally China and/or the Victorians, they are fighting a huge campaign against the Islamic Alliance that apparently began even before the Old US collapsed, but has escalated since. The resultant war makes World War I look both small and brief: Central Asia, southern Europe and the Mediterranean see fighting and raiding over thousands of miles literally for decades on end, with skirmishes reaching every other continent and ocean as well, millions dead, and relatively little progress either way.
- Glorious Mother Russia: A positive example, but the depiction is still brimming with stereotypes.
- The Good Kingdom: A darker version than many, since it's Russia, but still.
- Russia Is Western: Under the Czar, Russia is once more a Christian country, and allies with Victoria and the European nations against their common enemies, the Muslim powers of the Middle East.
Czar Alexander IVThe monarch of the restored Russian Empire, an enlightened and very capable ruler and staunch ally to the Victorians. Also a notable conservationist and anti-Islamic crusader.
- The Emperor: A heroic example, who not only presides over an enlightened monarchy, but sends aid to the cause of freedom in America.
- Four-Star Badass: Before he became Czar, he was a general in the Russian Army.
- The Good King: Or rather the Good Emperor,note but otherwise he fits the type.
- Green Aesop: He is horrified with the environmental damage the rampant Communists wrought on Russia, very obvious even decades later, and has made it one of his top priorities to clean up and restore whatever can be saved.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: He never appears in person, but communicates with the secessionists (and later the Confederation) through emissaries and letters.
- Heroic Russian Émigré: His ancestors were among the Romanovs who fled the Revolution of 1917. After Communism fell, he returned, and eventually restored the glories of the old Empire.
- Knight in Shining Armor: His devotion to freedom, Christianity, and Russia is apparently completely genuine and unselfish, making him act like one of these. He later becomes a literal example, as he abdicates once Russia is safe and secure, and instead joins an order of crusading knights battling to free the Mediterranean from Islamic rule.
- Rightful King Returns: After a century in the hands of politicians, Russia is finally united again under a rightful Emperor.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: To begin with, he managed to outmaneuver Vladimir Putin (or this universe's No Celebrities Were Harmed equivalent) and his supporters so he could be a royal in the first place, but he is not idle afterward either.
- Warrior Prince: His military prowess was important to his ascension to the throne, and remains so for other developments later in the book.
Father DimitriA Russian Orthodox missionary who allies with the Christian Marines and becomes a semi-official go-between facilitating contacts between their government and the Czar's.
- Ambadassador: The Czar's informal, and eventually openly acknowledged, representative to the Victorian leaders, with ex-military credentials and proven coolness under fire.
- Badass Preacher: Before he became a churchman, he was in the Russian Naval Infantry.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Averted. His Russian Orthodox religiosity is often surprisingly accurately portrayed, including on doctrinal matters that would probably be quite obscure even to many/most actual Russians.
- Humble Hero: He much diminishes any praise he receives for his good works.
- Insistent Terminology: He is the fons et origo of the Christian Marines' habit of referring to their gangster enemies as "orcs" later in the story.
- The Missionary: Originally, he came to America to preach to the heathens, heretics and atheists there, who had fallen victim to Cultural Marxism, much as Americans had earlier done in Godless Soviet Russia. He later more or less abandons this role, since most Victorians are Christians (even if not members of his own denomination).
- Russian Humor: Invoked in a conversation with Rumford (which would be spoilerific to quote here, but has to do with the international diplomacy of the post-American age).
- Orthodox Christianity: He is a priest in the Russian Orthodox church.
- Vodka Drunkenski: Downplayed; he swills a lot of vodka, but never more than he can handle with a clear head, and overall seems to have it under control.
GeneralWhile real-life Prussia was destroyed by the Allies in World War II, in this setting a remnant of it lingers. Still loyal to the Princes of Prussia and the House of Hohenzollern, these latter-day imperials work to preserve, and one day restore in full, the old Gloria.
- As Long as There is One Man: As Kraft proclaims, Prussia will remain as long as Prussians remain to fight for her.
- Back from the Brink: By the end of the story, the German Empire has indeed been restored, with the German Emperor representing the (non-Anglo-Saxon) Germanic nations when they, the Slavs, the Latins and the Britons negotiate their alliance against the Muslims.
- Fighting for a Homeland: They are trying to restore the old German Empire, though details on borders and such are vague.
- Government in Exile: The Imperial Prussian government in exile has its seat in Koenigsberg, the historical capital of the Teutonic Knights, now part of the Kaliningrad oblast in Russia.
- Right Makes Might: Kraft is confident that Prussia will one day be victorious, because her cause is just.
Prince Michael of PrussiaAlso known by his private family name, Michael von Hohenzollern. Prince Michael is the legitimate heir to the dethroned Emperors of Prussia, and one of the leaders of the international Monarchist and Retroculture movement. An ally of the Victorians, he is also William Kraft's theoretical commander in chief, with Kraft holding a colonel's commission in the Prussian Army in Exile.
- Composite Character/No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Although it's far less formidable than the government in exile depicted in Victoria, there does exist a Prussian Monarchist movement in real life, currently centered around Prince George Frederick of Prussia. Prince Michael is a sort of fictionalized larger-than-life amalgamation of him and several other Hohenzollern dynasts.
- The Emperor: By the end of the story, he has become the Kaiser of the restored German Reich. He remains a benevolent example, however.
- Heroic Lineage: As the heir of the Hohenzollern, he is descended from a long line of kings, emperors and great generals.
- Modest Royalty: He often uses simply the name "Michael von Hohenzollern" in informal communications, instead of his full royal title.
- Rightful King Returns: Like Czar Alexander, he eventually succeeds at restoring his ancestral empire.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Leads the Prussian government in exile initially, and takes a major part in the international diplomacy of the Retroculture alliance throughout the story.
- The Von Trope Family: Almost inevitable for German nobility and royalty.
- The Wise Prince: His diplomatic intervention plays a major part in saving the early Confederation from political infighting they really can't afford following the downfall of the corrupt Governor Bowen.
GeneralSeemingly the major international power which has escaped the global disasters least damaged, Japan has regained the spirit of the days of the Showa Emperor, left democracy and pacifism behind, and is now once more an expansive and self-confident nation. At first, Japan supports President Warner's regime, but later they become allies and trading partners of the independent Confederation.
- Anachronism Stew: Done entirely on purpose, since the Imperial regime deliberately encourages a retro-futuristic culture. Japan is a super-high-tech society, but one that also has room for katanas and Shinto rituals.
- Future Imperfect: Seemingly due to deliberate propaganda, as they put a much more heroic spin on Japan's part in World War II than most present-day historians would.
- Hegemonic Empire: Dominates the Pacific region through trade and political influence as well as military power, having re-established the old autarkic scheme of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
- Japan Takes Over the World: Not literally, but Japan effectively displaces the United States as the new global hegemon after the latter's downfall, with a huge economy, powerful bluewater navy and a decisive voice in the UN and international affairs in general.
- Mysterious Backer: The Japanese are playing the long game, and looking only to their own interests in politics. During the Revolution, they supported President Warner's government against the insurrectionists; but after the Confederation is victorious, they are perfectly willing to sponsor them, instead, as part of their global chess games with China. Tomo hints to Rumford that their nations may not always remain friends in the future, either.
- Rising Empire: Japan has finally thrown off the malaise of the 90s and is a first-rate power again, full of dynamism and optimism. Her economy is booming, and her political influence growing by leaps and bounds. The West has had its day, and the future belongs to the Japanese—or so think even otherwise levelheaded officers in its navy, anyway.
- The Rival: Their main competitor is China, which is less advanced but has greater numbers to rely on.
Captain Yakahashi TomoAn officer of the Imperial Japanese Navy who liaises with Rumford for their joint expedition against Cascadia. Though he looks down on Western culture, he is polite and respectful, and he and Rumford eventually become friends.
- Bowdlerization: In-universe example. At one point, he interprets a conversation between Rumford and Admiral Tanaka, and pragmatically adjusts Rumford's characteristically blunt language to the approximately equivalently (im)polite Japanese register, rather than giving a literal translation (which would be Cluster F-Bomb levels of offensive).
- Brutal Honesty: By polite Japanese standards. As a Japanese nationalist, he has little love for the old United States and less respect for liberal democratic "Western" culture, and discusses their shortcomings quite freely with Rumford (who, of course, responds in like manner).
- The Captain: Played with; he holds the substantive rank, but is presently assigned to a staff, rather than command appointment.
- Cultural Posturing: Trades friendly barbs with Rumford over the advantages and shortcomings of their respective cultures.
- Fire-Forged Friends: The shared experience of the Cascadian campaign makes him and Rumford friends. When Rumford goes home, he offers him a specially written haiku as a parting gift.
- Japanese Politeness: Not the most extreme example, but it is there.
- Officer and a Gentleman: A polite and cultured Imperial Japanese officer of the Showa tradition.
- Patriotic Fervor: Expressed in rather subdued tones, but no less real for it, as might be expected of an Imperial Japanese officer.
- Warrior Poet: A modern samurai who writes haiku and views life with a zen-inspired detachment that looks almost unsettling to Western audiences.
- With Due Respect: Offers his objections, or modifications, to Rumford's sometimes impractical suggestions in an unfailingly respectful manner.