Name Game

by John J. Miller on December 17, 2009

in Blog Posts

  • Sumo

The name of virtually every fictional character in The First Assassin is an allusion.

I’ve already described a couple of examples in an article my local paper did on me and the book. Frank Springfield, a supporting character who assists one of the heroes, is named after the Franconia-Springfield Metro station. It’s the last stop on the blue line, close to my previous home–a low-key tribute to the place where I started writing the book. Two other minor characters–a father and son who make brief appearances late in the story–share the last name of Hoadly. Why? Because my current home is close to Hoadly Road, in Prince William County, Va.

Those references are highly personal. So are a few others: Four minor characters have the last names of men who played for the Detroit Tigers in the late 1990s. This is for no better reason than I’m a Tigers fan.

A handful of the names in the book are packed with more potent meanings. They aren’t obvious, but some readers will detect them. I’ve already heard from one who successfully figured out my favorite allusion in the whole book.

Failing to notice the hidden sources of these names won’t detract from anybody’s enjoyment of The First Assassin. Picking up on them, however, may increase it.


The namesake of Frank Springfield: the Franconia-Springfield Metro station.

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