MALACHI JONES is a firebrand preacher and water diviner who believes that the Lord guides him personally to inspire in others the most precious human need of all: faith. After years without any followers, Malachi happens upon a newly formed lake which he names The Great Jones Lake and becomes spiritually responsible for a slowly growing flock who consider him a prophet, and for whom he cares as deeply as his own family. While the basis of his faith is a kind love and protection of the earth, seeing God in all of nature, his faith and gentle demeanor is tested as he becomes the leader of the religious movement called The Jones Lake Assembly (JLA) and must make difficult decisions to protect the many who gather. In the face of the violent Christian State, powerful foreign militaries, and other subversives, he will do anything to protect his flock.
MELANIE JONES met Malachi at his lowest point and has stuck with him through the harshest of tests, always cultivating their faith and devotion to their family. She believes in Malachi’s kindness as a means of building and maintaining a flock, but she doubts his acumen in keeping that flock. Melanie is the more shrewd one of the couple, and becomes an important voice as the Jones Lake Assembly grows. Recognizing the need for The Letters, she broadcasts a series of dispatches over the radio that she calls “the Newest Testament of God’s Word.” She shares the temper of her brother, KARL HAWK, the leader of the militant group calling themselves The Christian State, and has always relied on Malachi and her children to soothe her. But as the pressure mounts, her Hawk-side comes out in an effort to maintain power within the community.
Quiet and stalwart LEVI JONES,19, is the eldest son of Malachi and Melanie, a developing preacher in his own right, Levi has taken to heart his father’s message of peace and love in Nature. He is overjoyed to see more people accepting that love at The Great Jones Lake Assembly, and begins the journey of developing his own voice within the community. Like his mother and his uncle, Levi can be cruel, but unlike his mother, he is cruel to pursue an uncompromising version of father’s original vision, Love of Nature, and becomes dangerous when he and his mother do not align. When all seems lost for The Great Jones Assembly, he personally endows the role of martyr upon himself to save his community.
KARL HAWK, militant and storied founder and leader of The Christian State, older brother of Melanie Jones, he has been the mastermind of all of the major modern attacks against The East, successfully eluding their grasp at every turn, he is public enemy number across many nations. Remaining underground, he rarely makes public appearances, but when he realizes the potential of the community at The Great Jones Lake, he personally arrives to help his sister and brother-in-law and offers his guard to keep the community flourishing. His presence is at once terrifying, yet reassuring, because his arrival comes at a point of distress within the JLA. Manipulative and charismatic, he is able to gain the trust of Malachi and attempts to create another arm of his Christian State at the Great Jones Lake.
MARIA JONES, 16, outspoken, joyful, a singer, she is the least concerned with the politics and power of her family. While she’d rather be in the urban center of New Bethlehem, she adapts quickly to rural life at the Lake. She’s the first to welcome newcomers and quickly falls in with a rowdy group more interested in the kinship of the new community than the religion and abstinence. After the death of her sister, she wants a child of her own to protect, and wooed by love, joins the extremist Christian State, leaving the Jones Lake Assembly, against the pleas of her family. The family hears rumors later that she is killed by a drone strike on her wedding day.
KAIYA "KATHRYN" HIDEKO is a marine scientist working for the local government’s version of the environmental protection agency. She arrives on assignment to test the water of the newly formed Lake, but is soon drawn in by Malachi’s message of “love for nature.” While she understands the political interests of The East, she is humanity-first, and wants to protect the Assembly, both from UNA Forces, and from themselves. After her field tests reveal a poisoned lake, she gives up her life in New Bethlehem, and warns the Assembly with promises to join them and help, driven both by the spiritual message, and her inappropriate love for Malachi. The feeling is mutual, but that does not make it easy. Levi too lusts after Kathryn.
JOSEPH JONES, 12, Mama’s boy. Accurate with a rifle. Has never cried in his whole life. He is scarred irreparably after witnessing a brutal execution of a non-believer by the Christian State.
STEFANIE JONES, 9, beautiful, rambunctious, the soul of the family. The first to die when the Lake is poisoned. Her death tears her family apart.
JERICO WHITE, guard of Karl Hawk, woos Maria into the Christian State.