Don Ramón Carrasco
Don Ramón Carrasco (rah-MOHN kah-RRAHS-koh), a landowner and scholar who is convinced that only the revival of primitive religion can save Mexico. He establishes at his hacienda a meeting place for cultists who worship Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent. He is denounced by the church and is seriously wounded when his political and religious enemies attack him. Finally, having desecrated the church at Sayula by burning the holy images, he converts it into a sanctuary of the ancient Aztec gods.
Kate Leslie, the widow of an Irish patriot. Because she is restless, she goes to Mexico, where she meets Ramón and his followers, saves Ramón’s life when he is attacked by his opponents, and falls in love with Cipriano. A product of a culture dominated by technology, she finds strange the masculine, atavistic culture of Mexico. Her woman’s will is no match for the dark primitivism of this savage land. She marries Cipriano in a pagan ceremony conducted by Ramón. Although she wants to return to Ireland, she is impelled to stay with her husband in Mexico.
General Cipriano Viedma
General Cipriano Viedma (see-pree-AH-noh vee-EHD-mah), a full-blooded Indian who joins Ramón to revive the ancestral gods. He comes to believe that he is a reincarnation of Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of war. Kate is unaccountably drawn to him and at last yields to his masculine dominance.
Doña Carlota (kahr-LOH-tah), Ramón’s first wife, a devout Christian who refuses to countenance his heresies. She leaves her husband and goes to Mexico City. Returning to Sayula when Ramón opens the church there as a pagan temple, she protests her husband’s blasphemy. Overcome by hysteria, she suffers a stroke and soon dies.
Owen Rhys, Kate’s American cousin, who accompanies her to Mexico. He returns to the United States prior to the time Kate becomes embroiled in the ancient god movement at Sayula.
Teresa (teh-REH-sah), Ramón’s second wife, the daughter of a local landowner who is deceased. Her manner toward Ramón is passive and submissive.
Mrs. Norris, the widow of a former British ambassador. She invites Kate to tea. It is at her house that Kate meets Don Ramón.
Juana (HWAHN-ah), a servant at the house Kate rents in Sayula.