Need a quickie refresher before MONSTERS hits the shelves? Then look no further. Below you’ll find an ASHES TRILOGY full character list and super-dooper condensed version of who’s doing what at the end of SHADOWS.
ASHES TRILOGY Cast of Characters
Alex Adair: living with her aunt in Illinois after her mom, an ER doc, and dad, a cop, died in a helicopter crash three years ago. Suckier still, Alex carries a monster in her head: an inoperable brain tumor that’s stolen her sense of smell and many of her memories, especially those of her parents. After two years of failed chemotherapy, radiation, and experimental regimens, Alex has decided to call the shots for a change. As the novel opens, Alex has run off on what might well be a one-way backpacking trek through the Waucamaw Wilderness in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She intends to honor her parents’ last wishes and scatter their ashes from Mirror Point on Lake Superior. As it happens, she’s also got her dad’s service Glock, just in case she opts out of a return. After the Zap, Alex gets her sense of smell back in spades, a super-sense that also allows her to intuit emotions and, on one occasion, catch a glimmer of what goes on inside the mind of a wolf. Which is pretty funky. Much more to the point, like the dogs, she is able to detect the bloated roadkill stink of the Changed. Oh, and all of a sudden, every dog is her new best friend.
Ellie Cranford: sullen, uncooperative, a trifle whiny, a kid Alex has to keep herself from slapping silly. What can you say? The kid’s eight. Her dad’s KIA in Iraq, her mother split years back, and Ellie’s now being cared for by her grandfather, Jack, who might have the patience of a saint, but cut the kid a break. She hates camping, and it’s not like she hasn’t got good reason to be a little pissy anyway. Initially rescued by Alex and then Tom, Ellie is kidnapped by some very nasty adults who see her as a meal ticket.
Mina: Ellie’s dog, a Belgian Malinois, and formerly her dad’s MWD (military working dog). Mina also has the patience of a saint but packs a mean bite. The nasty adults take her, too.
Tom Eden: a young soldier and explosive ordinance specialist on leave from Afghanistan; a competent guy who complements Alex in a lot of ways. After Alex fends off a pack of wild dogs, Tom saves both Ellie and Alex by shooting his buddy, Jim, who’s gone through a major lifestyle change. Steady and calm, someone to whom Alex is instantly attracted, Tom also has a few secrets of his own. The biggest is just why he’s in the Waucamaw to begin with. After they leave the (relative) safety of the Waucamaw—we’re talking wild dogs, booby traps, and kids who’ve suddenly decided that people make excellent Happy Meals—Tom is shot while trying to prevent the nasty adults from stealing Ellie.
Chris Prentiss: the grandson of Reverend Yeager and Rule’s de facto second-in-command, though he grew up in another town. Dark and reserved, a bit of a brooder, Chris has an uncanny ability to find Spared, especially up north around Oren and its nearby Amish community. He falls for Alex in a big way after she comes to Rule. Despite her initial determination to escape, Alex eventually reciprocates his affection.
Peter Ernst: Rule’s overall commander, although he takes his marching orders from the Council of Five, representatives from Rule’s founding families who run the village. At twenty-four, Peter is the oldest Spared, and he’s fiercely protective of Chris. Peter has a thing going with Sarah, one of Alex’s housemates.
Sarah, Tori, and Lena: Alex’s housemates; all refugees to whom Rule offered sanctuary. Of the three, Sarah’s a tad bossy. Good-natured Tori alternately crushes on Greg (another Spared who is part of Chris’s squad) and Chris, and still makes a mean apple crisp. Taciturn, irreverent, and originally from that Amish community near Oren, Lena’s a girl with ’tude. Having manipulated Peter, Lena once tried to escape—only to be caught in the Zone, a no-man’s-land buffer zone through which those who are Banned (i.e., kicked out of Rule for various offenses) must travel in order to leave Rule’s sphere of influence.
Reverend Yeager: a descendant of one of Rule’s five founding families. Filthy rich from having run a very profitable mining company, Yeager heads the Council of Five. (The other Council members are Ernst, Stiemke, Prigge, and Born.) Before the Zap, Yeager was quietly dementing away in the Alzheimer’s wing of Rule’s hospice. After the Zap, however, Yeager was Awakened. Like Alex, he possesses a super-sense and can determine emotions and truthfulness through touch.
Jess: a tough cookie with a penchant for spouting Bible verses. Jess seems to have her own agenda when it comes to who should be making the decisions for Rule. She’s hot for Chris to stand up to his grandfather. For a variety of reasons—all of them very good—Chris is reluctant. Jess also makes no secret of encouraging Chris and Alex to become, well, a little closer.
Matt Kincaid (Doc): scruffy, pragmatic, sharper than a tack, and Rule’s only doctor. He is also an Awakened, though he has no super-sense. He is the only one who knows about Alex’s brain tumor as well as her super-sense of smell. Kincaid has suggested that the monster might be dead, dormant, or busy organizing into something entirely different.
Jed and Grace: an elderly couple from Wisconsin who’ve rescued and nursed Tom back to health. A vet, Jed suffered brain damage that left him blind in one eye and a tad addled. After the Zap, his vision returned as a super-sense. Stricken with Alzheimer’s, Grace Awakened, recovering her extensive nursing knowledge as well as developing an uncanny facility with numbers.
Wolf: the nickname Alex has given to the leader of a band of Changed, who also just happens to be Chris’s identical twin (and of whose existence Chris is unaware). Although Wolf seems by turns attached and attracted to Alex and protects her from ending up as a Happy Meal for the rest of his crew (Beretta, Acne, Slash, and Spider), Alex can’t decide if Wolf is only saving her for dessert.
Leopard: the leader of a rival group of Changed and Spider’s main squeeze.
Daniel: recruited along with his little brother, Jack, by Mellie. Daniel leads a doomed raid to rescue Alex. Spider murders Jack, who ends up as that evening’s main course.
Weller: one of Peter’s men, Weller is really working for Finn (see below). Why he’s thrown in with the militia leader seems more to do with revenge against Peter for some past, unknown grievance than a beef with Rule.
Elias Finn: Vietnam vet and now leader of a secretive, long-established militia. Several of his men have infiltrated Rule and captured Peter, but Finn seems more interested in whether the Changed can be tamed and, by subjecting Peter to endless life-or-death bouts, how quickly they can learn. Yet his long-term goals, as well as the reasons for his intense hatred for Rule, are unclear.
Davey: a Changed boy Finn is taming—and training.
Mellie: a grandmotherly sort, who’s gathering up and arming kids to march against Rule.
Luke and Cindi: part of Mellie’s band. At fourteen, Luke is oldest and very attached to Tom. The daughter of a child psychiatrist and the band’s lookout, Cindi major crushes on Tom.
Who’s Where and Doing What at the End of SHADOWS:
Alex: is caught in the collapse of the old Rule mine and falling down an escape shaft that is rapidly flooding.
Tom: is heartbroken and blames himself for Alex’s death. When Luke and Cindi tell him that Mellie and Weller (injured in the mission to destroy the mine) plan to march on Rule soon, Tom admits that he’s afraid to go because his hatred for Chris, whom Weller said was responsible for turning Alex out of Rule, is so black and monstrous, he wants nothing more than to murder the other boy.
Chris: is unconscious, dying, and pinned beneath an iron-spiked tiger-trap outside Oren.
Peter: is still Finn’s prisoner. Having killed numerous Changed in exchange for food and water—and, ironically, taught Changed like Davey the best way to fight—Peter is now faced with a choice: eat human flesh, or starve.
Lena: is fighting the urge to feed on Chris, whom she no longer truly recognizes. Startled by the sudden appearance of a dog, she takes off only to find herself surrounded by a band of Changed that’s been shadowing her for days.
Wolf: had disappeared after being shot by Spider. Just before she’s herded into the mine, however, Alex thinks she catches his scent with her super-sense.
Jess: is badly injured, comatose, and probably still in Rule under Kincaid’s care.
The Body Count: Jed, Grace, Daniel, Jack, Leopard, Beretta, Slash. Spider and Acne were presumably caught in the mine collapse.