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  • Jennifer Z. Major

"Can you say that name again? SLOWLY?"

Last week, I deviated from my normal pattern and paid tribute to my late father-in-law. Thank you for your comments here, and on Facebook. He was a wonderful man and we miss him greatly.


Today, I'm back to books and we're at "who?" today.

Specifically, who are the characters, and seriously, WHO came up with those names?

(Once you've read through the descriptions, I'll give you the link for my Pinterest page for this book.)

In the opening pages of A Dangerous Mercy, we meet Tsi'tnaginnie and his family.

But before you all hurt yourselves trying to sound out his name, I'll give you the phonetic spelling. Are you ready?


I know the "Tsi" can stop people in their tracks, but pronounce it as you would "Tsar". See? There you go. Tsi'tnaginnie.

But why such a tricky name? Well, there were two men whose stories reached out and hauled me back to the past, and both were named Tsi'tnaginnie.

Each had been captured as a young boy and were forced on The Long Walk. One had been beaten so badly that he went blind. The other endured and survived Bosque Redondo in somewhat better physical condition, he was the grandfather of my dear friend Ted Charles.

The other's story came to me through the stories of two sisters who helped me conduct my first research trip in 2012.

Both would have seen and suffered things that no child, no adult, should ever have to endure. Yet, these little boys were dragged into captivity because of their ethnicity and the hatred of others.

In the book, Tsi'tnaginnie is a silversmith. An artist who is forced into hell on earth and must become the kind of man he himself can barely contain, but must do so in order for the survival of his family and his people. Oh, and he's got a secret that could get him and his entire family killed. Think of actor Martin Sensmeier.

We also meet Eamon St. George. I made his name up. Out of the blue. No deep and heart-rending reason for good old Eamon. Eamon has a BIG heart. But it is in the prison camp that he finds the family he's always needed. Think of Jenson Ackles and you'll get Eamon figured out.

Josiah Fallon? Made his name up too. But he's based on the various camp commanders of Fort Sumner/Bosque Redondo. Carlteon was the worst of the lot. Fallon is all that Carleton was, and worse. He's a short, skinny bad guy with arrogance issues. Think Colm Meaney at his best. Worst?

Kemma Fallon. Well, I based the very mysterious Kemma on one of the most beautiful young women that I know. The real Kemma is pure hearted and generous and kind, with a loving family and parents who are amazing and awesome. The other Kemma is a snooty little brat with a troubling secret. And, ohhhh, yeah, Tsi'tnaginnie would love to destroy her father.

Nicole Fallon. She's Josiah's sister. Poor Nicole (love the name, so I used it) has one friend, a former slave named Mavis (made that name up, too). Think Kasha Kropinski.

Nicole is swept off her feet by a man named Benton Thomas. Benton is named for two dear writer friends; Lori Benton and Sarah Thomas. Benton is physically based on Anson Mount from AMC's 'Hell on Wheels'.

But, the setting? Bosque Redondo. It was real. It was hellish and thousands of people died there. It may be beautiful, but the beauty of the place holds no redeeming value for the sins committed there.


There you go, the major players. And all we need now is the book!!!

Here's the Pinterest link. Enjoy.

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