Death Comes for the Archbishop

Death Comes for the Archbishop Character List

Bishop Ferrand

An Irish missionary bishop stationed at the Great Lakes. He puts forward Jean Marie Latour as a candidate for vicar of the new diocese of New Mexico.

Jean-Marie Latour

He is one of the two main characters of the book. Latour is chosen by Monterrand to be the diocese of New Mexico. His name means "the tower," as he is a reserved and intelligent man. His role in the novel is to travel from Ohio to accept his post in New Mexico, interacting with the people he meets along the way.

Joseph Vaillant

Vaillant, whose name means "valiant," is the second main character. He is nicknamed "Blanchet," which means "white-y," and "Trompe-la-morte," or "Death-cheater." He is a profound, confident man, but he is also an ugly, sickly-looking one. Traveling with his friend Latour, Vaillant is a vicar from Ohio determined to assist his friend upon his quest. He ends up becoming the first Bishop of Colorado.

Buck Scales

He owns the home at which Latour and Vaillant stay and are almost murdered. In the past, he has murdered four or more of his guests. He's an abusive husband who drives his wife, Magdalena, to attempt to murder Latour and Vaillant. After they are rescued, he is arrested and hanged for murder.

Father Gallegos

He is the priest of Albuquerque. He loses his post due to gluttony. The people condemn him for dancing, eating rich foods, and hunting. After his removal, he is replaced by Vaillant.

Father Martinez

Father Martinez is the priest of Taos. He is removed from his post for renouncing his vow of celibacy and having children, among other wrongdoings.

Father Lucero

He is the priest of Arroyo Hondo. Lucero is removed from his post for the sin of greed. Before his removal, he joins the condemned church of Father Martinez.


Eusabio is a Navajo. He becomes a friend of Latour. Along with his leader, Manuelito, Eusabio tells Latour of the Long Walk of the Navajo people as they were exiled by the Europeans.

Garcia Maria de Allande

A Spanish cardinal, still a young man, who has been working for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith (the "Propaganda") since falling out of power after the death of Pope Gregory XVI. He hosts the meeting of cardinals in a Roman villa to discuss the matter of the new diocese of New Mexico and the appointment of a vicar for it.

Unnamed Norman cardinal

A French cardinal invited by Cardinal Allande to the discussion in Rome in the prologue.

Unnamed Venetian cardinal

An Italian cardinal invited by Cardinal Allande to the discussion in Rome in the prologue.


Leader of the Navajos.

Don Antonio Olivares

A rich Mexican rancher who contributes funds for Bishop Latour's cathedral.

Doña Isabella

Wife of Don Olivares, who, after his death, must admit to her age in court to save his inheritance from falling into his brothers' hands.