Date of Birth: March 18, 1830
Clint’s parents immigrated to Texas from Enniskillen, Ireland, in 1824, when Texas was still a Mexican state trying to find a way to work with a government that wouldn’t keep its promises. Even as Catholics, the Donovans had a hard time making a go of their new life, and they lost almost everything in the Runaway Scrape. They had better luck at ranching, and though Clint did get a degree in mathematics from a fledgling Baylor University, he never wanted anything more than to stay on the family ranch and make his living as a cattleman. The Civil War interrupted, though, and Clint and his brother Bill fled once more, this time into Mexico to escape a Texas government that wouldn’t keep its promises and to fight for the Union against the insanity that seemed to grip the leaders of the South. Clint met and married the love of his life in Matamoros, but his heart was still on the ranch in Independence—until chance, as he thought, caught away his entire family in the space of two months. With Independence no longer holding anything for him but land, he determines to start over again with Bella among the like-minded Germans of Loyal Valley. But when he learns that the Donovans’ ill-luck isn’t luck at all and that there’s a limit to which even President Grant will keep his promises, Clint’s simple ranching life turns out to be anything but.
Favored rifle: Henry .44
Favored handgun: Colt .44
Favorite author: Clint is something of a literary omnivore, but he leans more toward American authors.
Languages: fluent in English and Irish; conversant in Mexican Spanish; some German and Comanche; ecclesiastical Latin
A dark beauty—in more ways than one. Bella doesn’t talk about her past, not even what her maiden name is, where her parents came from, or how she came to be in Matamoros in 1861 when the Donovan brothers arrived (Clint knows only that she once taught school in her hometown of Shanklin’s Mill and that the Tonkawa smuggled her across the border). Life, it seems, died with her father and began again with meeting Clint, though it has not been easy since then; a difficult pregnancy during the war nearly killed her and may have left her barren. Like all pioneer women, however, Bella is more than capable of looking out for herself, and her marriage to Clint is both a love match and a partnership of equals. Bella is a skilled herbalist, a born profiler, and a crack shot. She is also a devout Catholic.
Favored handguns: Derringer, Smith & Wesson .22
Favorite author: Christina Rossetti
Languages: fluent in English; conversant in Mexican Spanish and Tonkawa; some German and Comanche; ecclesiastical Latin
A former Baylor professor of physiology, Jim quietly supported the Union during the Civil War and kept his politics out of the classroom, but that didn’t stop returning Confederate soldiers from running him out of the university in 1869. He, Clint, and Marty had become good friends in Independence before the war, and with Marty’s health deteriorating, Jim concluded the only prudent course of action was to take Marty with him and move to the Donovan ranch in Loyal Valley. The town was preparing to open a school the next year, and Jim agreed to be its first teacher, since Bella had her hands full with ranch work. He helps out around the ranch as best he can, but he’s far more scholar than rancher. Still, his expertise keeps him a part of Team Donovan just as much as his friendship with Clint does—he serves as the team’s medic and medical examiner when needed.
Favorite author: Robert Browning
Faith tradition: Baptist
Languages: English, scientific Latin and German, some Spanish
Marty’s love of science is infectious. He hadn’t thought as a young man that he’d have the patience to teach once he got his Ph.D., but five years of civil engineering in Chicago was enough to show him that he had even less patience for corporate bureaucracy. He wanted a job that would let him share his knowledge and still have time to tinker with his own projects, and Baylor University seemed like a perfect fit when he arrived in Independence in 1858 to teach engineering and natural philosophy. Then came the war, along with a scarlet fever outbreak in 1863. Now blind, reviled as a Unionist, and slowly being crippled by rheumatism, Marty has fled Independence for the relative safety of Loyal Valley and made friends with fellow tinkerer Jacob Brodbeck. Bella has helped him get the rheumatism somewhat under control, and when the Donovans learn what really happened in ’63, Marty finds a purpose for his creative energies and pursues it with dogged determination.
Favorite author: Jane Austen
Faith tradition: Baptist
Languages: fluent in English and French; conversant in Scots Gaelic and German; some Mexican Spanish; grammar-school Latin and Greek; could read Russian before his blindness; acquired American Sign Language finger-spelling after his blindness
Born April 1838
The only son of a French Canadian trapper and a Shoshone woman, Mike grew up traveling through the Rockies and the northern Plains, gaining little in the way of formal education but more than most in the way of linguistic and cultural education among the tribes and towns with whom his father traded. When Mike was eleven, the trading post in Nevada where he and his parents were staying was attacked by Crow raiders. Mike managed to escape, but he was the only survivor not taken captive; both of his parents were among the slain. Methodist missionaries rescued him several days later and took him to Carson City, where he stayed in school just long enough to be able to pass the exams to become an intelligence officer. So far most of his intelligence work, at his request, has involved scouting renegade Indians across the Plains, in part because he half hopes to avenge his parents someday; but when chance brought him to Independence in April of 1863, he couldn’t have imagined the degree to which it would change his life.
Favored rifles: Sharpe’s .50 (in 1863), Henry .44
Favored handgun: Colt .44
Favorite authors: Leans toward Poe until he reads Innocents Abroad, then becomes an unabashed Twainiac.
Faith tradition: His father was nominally Catholic, but due to his education, Mike is more Methodist than anything else, though he’s not a regular church-goer.
Languages: fluent in English, French, Shoshone; conversant in Apache, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Comanche, Sioux, Spanish; able to trade in Swedish, German, and Indian sign language
St. Louis native Daniel became interested in musical theater while at West Point and has since become a master of disguise. He has a natural talent for languages as well, which has served him well as an intelligence agent. Daniel is every inch an officer and a gentleman, friendly and multitalented, and he can charm information out of any woman when he’s in character, but he’s shy when it comes to attempting a genuine relationship with a girl. Jake gives him no end of grief about it.
Favored rifle: Winchester 1866
Favored handguns: Colt .44, derringer or Webley Royal Irish Constabulary when in disguise
Favorite author: Charles Dickens
Faith tradition: Presbyterian
Languages: fluent in English, Castilian Spanish, German, French, Italian, and Scots Gaelic; conversant in American Sign Language, Cherokee, and Mandarin; reading knowledge of Russian, Japanese, Czech, Polish, and Dutch; grammar-school-level Greek and Latin; learning to read Hebrew
Daniel’s younger brother, Jake became interested in chemistry and physics at West Point and served in the artillery under Clint’s brother Bill during the Civil War. Bill’s murder prompted Jake to collaborate with Daniel in tracking down the men who killed him, after which he officially transferred to intelligence work as a munitions expert and arson investigator. Though he knows how to behave in polite society and sometimes misses the social life of the city (especially casual friendships with young ladies), he finds that ranching life suits him better than city life and half hopes to settle down to it once he can find the right woman to settle down with. He enjoys working with Marty, especially on things that go boom. He also handles any chemical analysis the team may need.
Favored rifles: Winchester 1866, Remington Rolling Block
Favored handgun: Remington New Model Army
Favorite author: George MacDonald
Faith tradition: Presbyterian
Languages: fluent in English and Scots Gaelic; grammar-school Latin and Greek; some German, French, and Spanish