Chateau du Chasse

The chateau is built by a French nobleman who wanted to leave his country as political unrest threatened to destroy his way of life. But he didn’t want to be too far from his extensive holdings. In 1790, his chateau is taken from him by Prince George the Tall, a Swabian nobleman who had his own reasons to flee his homeland. In 1830, at the establishment of the Belgian monarchy, George cedes the chateau to the royal family. They use the mansion as a hunting lodge during the 1800s. During most of the 1900s, the chateau has been used as a British Army hospital, headquarters for the Gestapo, and a hotel. Now in 1990, the chateau has been vacant for a number of years, and the royal family believe their chateau is happier if people are living in it. The chateau brings the cast of characters together with each other and with the intersection of the physical world and the spirit world.

Meet the Characters

The Marshall Family

Bill Marshall, husband, father, and US Navy fighter pilot with the rank of Captain. He progressed rapidly through the ranks until achieving his present status. Then a propensity to speak his mind, regardless of the circumstances or to whom, torpedoed his chances to make admiral. Bill grew up on a ranch in Wyoming. According to his wife the worst possible things to build a man out of are Wyoming cowboy and navy fighter pilot.

Kate, dutiful wife, espoused to the US Navy and to Bill, subordinated her ambitions for her children, the naval service, and Bill, but now she has a great opportunity. Her boss Claire, a jury consultant, observed great promise in Kate and offers her a partnership. Bill convinces her to accept Claire’s offer. He will put in his retirement letter in the morning. The next day, as Kate’s office celebrates her promotion, Bill is informed that the US Navy has one more job for him. His retirement letter is rejected. His new job is working in NATO at a post in Belgium.

Kate is devastated. Bill and the navy betrayed her after her years of subordinating her wants. But there were children to consider. For the last ten years, Bill has served in one sea duty assignment after another. Kate has to keep her family together. Maybe someday she will forgive him.

Eleven-year-old Heather is outgoing, self-confident, and spirited. As if she were built around chips off the mental, moral, and emotional building blocks defining her father.

Eight-year-old William, junior, JR, also chips off his father.

Nine-year-old Sally, quiet, reticent. Her parents worried she might be mentally impaired.

The Defonce family

Henrietta is sixty, unmarried, and the mother of a son with Downs syndrome.

Louis owns the farm adjacent to Chateau du Chasse. He is sixty-three in 1990, unmarried, and has devoted his life to caring for his sister and her boy. He worked hard at farming, but not as hard as he worked to protect the family name from the shame his sister’s bastard represented.

Rene, Henrietta’s son, the personification of innocence, if one could but see beyond what everyone thought of as a disability.

Isabella. Nine years old in 1944. Jewish, and sheltered by Louis’s mother and father.

The Kukovs.

Ivan, the leader of a clan of gypsies. Before World War I, the clan numbered more than two dozen members. The world wars, the periods between and after, took the lives of all but Ivan and his sister. Even though the clan only numbers two in 1990, as long as they live, the Clan lives.

Anastasia has a gift, the ability to see the souls of men and women, to see inside a person to determine if the person harbors hate and animosity toward the Clan. The Clan does not believe in violence. When they find animosity, they flee rather than fight. Anastasia’s gift was intended as a method to help the Clan survive, but her gift was unable to help the Clan during the world wars. “Bah,” Ivan said. “Evil is everywhere. You don’t need a gift to see it.” Ivan’s gift, grit, wit, and determination, kept the Clan alive, and twenty years prior, he found a haven for them at the edge of a Belgium royal family forest behind Chateau du Chasse. A blessed and peace-filled haven after so many decades of fear-filled flight. Anastasia relishes their blessed place of residence, but she still exercises her gift every morning searching for hate and evil that will set the Clan, she and Ivan fleeing for their lives again.

General Sampson is the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. SACEUR, a title originated with General Eisenhower, and now used by the commander of NATO military forces. The wall has come down and SACEUR faces an entirely different threat. He must come up with a new strategy. He needs a man who thinks “outside the box,” and who will speak his mind regardless of the consequences. The navy offers him Captain Bill Marshall.

Herb Lang is a US Army warrant officer working for General Sampson. It is said of him that while General Sampson handles the top-level strategy and politics, Herb runs Europe from the base of the clouds to the seventh level of hell.

Sergeant Otto Klein, a German Gestapo sergeant in 1944.