Cast of Recurring Characters in
The DeValera Deception is the first in a series of historical thrillers set in the period 1929-1939, Churchill’s “Wilderness Years” when he was out of office warning in vain against the dangers posed by the rising power of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. The template for the novels is Ken Follett’s The Man From St. Petersburg set in the summer of 1914 where Winston Churchill is a fictional character who acts as a catalyst to set the plot in motion and frequently reappears to keep the action going.
While the Winston Churchill Thrillers have a basis in fact, they do not convey actual events in fictional form. Rather, they are written in the same spirit as Churchill’s only novel, Savrola, where a protagonist bearing a strong resemblance to Churhcill himself leads a revolution against a dictator in the mythical European country of Laurenia and seduces the dictator’s beautiful wife in the process. The novel was a best seller when published in 1899 and Churchill described it in a letter to his mother as “a wild and daring book tilting recklessly here and there and written with no purpose whatever but to amuse."
Besides Churchill, continuing characters in the series are:
1) Mattie McGary, Churchill’s fictional goddaughter and a risk-taking, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting Scottish photojournalist for the William Randolph Hearst media empire. Mattie is a loner whose two older brothers and her fiancé died in the Great War. Her mother died in the flu epidemic of 1919 and her father was killed in an auto accident shortly thereafter. She has great affection for both Churchill and Hearst who serve as father figures to her. She is a free-spirited, sexually-liberated feminist who covers wars and insurrections and has an abiding antipathy to arms manufacturers and arms dealers, the “Merchants of Death” she holds responsible for the death of her brothers and fiancé Eric Seale.
2) Bourke Cockran, Jr., an Irish American lawyer, writer and former US Army counter-intelligence agent who is the fictional son of Churchill’s real-life American mentor and oratorical role model, the New York lawyer and statesman William Bourke Cockran. Bourke’s wife was killed in the 1922 Irish Civil War and he is raising their child Patrick alone with the assistance of his widowed mother-in-law Mary Morrissey. Cockran and Mattie have been lovers since Churchill introduced them in the summer of 1929. Like Mattie, he believes the Great War was unnecessary and agrees arms dealers and manufacturers bear a great share of the responsibility. Unlike Mattie, he does not seek out adventure but he is well-equipped to deal with it when it comes his way. Both Mattie and Bourke are strong-willed and their relationship resembles that of Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne in the film The Quiet Man and Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in Woman of the Year.
3) Kurt von Sturm, a former German naval airship commander turned professional assassin for The Geneva Group, a shadowy international cabal of arms manufacturers, dealers and financiers. He wants to see Germany restored to its rightful position in the international community. He has a highly developed sense of honor and hopes that, after Germany is great again, he can take command of a great passenger airship like the Graf Zeppelin. He admires and is romantically attracted to Mattie, an attraction which blossoms into much more in the second Winston Churchill Thriller, The Parsifal Pursuit.
4) Bobby Sullivan, a former member of “The Apostles”—a squad of assassins from the 1921 Anglo-Irish war created by the legendary Irish leader Michael Collins—and now a private detective in New York City has disturbingly close ties to the Irish mob boss Owney Madden. He and Cockran are best friends with ties dating back to the Irish Civil War and he works on some of Cockran’s cases. Bobby is still an assassin but only takes contracts where he believes the victim deserves to die. Bobby is more willing than Cockran to take the law into his own hands. Cockran occasionally does the same thing but not until all other options have been exhausted.
5) William Randolph Hearst, Mattie’s boss who has exclusive writing contracts in the U.S. with both Churchill and his future nemesis Adolf Hitler as well as Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Hearst has castle-like homes in California and Long Island’s Gold Coast. He has great affection for Mattie and, as a mentor, has carefully nurtured her career. An isolationist, he wants to keep America out of any future wars fomented by the Merchants of Death and strongly supports Mattie’s attempts to expose them.
6) William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan, a medal of honor recipient in the Great War and the managing partner of the New York law firm where Cockran practices law. The two are good friends and, before he was wounded, Cockran served as an intelligence officer in New York’s “Fighting 69th” commanded by Donovan. While he is a Republican and Cockran a Democrat, they both have an abiding belief in individual liberty and Donovan strongly supports the pro bono cases Cockran takes in defending “feeble-minded” women in compulsory sterilization cases brought by the state.
7) Adolph Hitler. Well, you can’t really write about Churchill in his Wilderness Years without including the man who would become his nemesis. And, as noted above, both Churchill and Hitler had exclusive writing contracts with Hearst.