The Guide to

An Apology From the Gods


What you need, and surely want, to know about the gods, people, and places of Apology, carefully presented to avoid plot spoilers.

The World

An Apology From the Gods takes place in a world like ours, but with one difference — every small town has its very own god. What might result from that? Good question.

The Towns

Bolinas - Bolinas is small town located north of San Francisco on the Pacific Ocean. Its residents have been known to take down road signs to make it more difficult for non-residents to find the town. Bolinas has its very own god, the god Bolinas. It is also the site of the Coastal College of California.

Olema - Olema is a small town in western Marin County, California. It is nine miles north of Bolinas on California Highway 1. Like Bolinas, it is isolated from the better known areas of Northern California. Olema has its very own goddess, the goddess Olema. It is the home of the Holy Oil olive ranch, owned by the temple of the goddess and run by her priests.

Stinson Beach - A town on California Highway 1 just south of Bolinas.

The Apthorp in Bolinas

The Apthorp is an apartment building in Bolinas. In the story, it is located off Brighton Avenue on a hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Everything you’ll ever want to know about the Apthorp can be found in “A Brief History of the Apthorp in Bolinas,” by Edgar F. Glotz, Ph.D. Be sure to click and read it.

Residents of the Apthorp in Bolinas

All Apthorp residents except Anthony Young are or have been students at the Coastal College of California.

Anthony Young - Anthony is 21 years old and fresh from an undistinguished career at a college in the central valley of California. His aunt, Adele Freeman, has asked him to come to Bolinas to live and work at the Apthorp.

Audrey Brewer - Audrey is a 20-year old English major. Despite living in Bolinas, she wants to live a “normal” life and is skeptical of priests and their motivations.

Isabella Fox - Isabella is a 21-year old graduate of Coastal College who continues to live at the Apthorp even though she’s done with college. She has too much time on her hands and a natural inclination toward mischief, an interesting combination.

Katherine Hart - Katherine, 19 years old, grew up in a wealthy family with a tradition of public service. She is religious, worships at the temple of Bolinas, and hates change of any kind.

Mackenzie Lambert - At age 19, Mackenzie is an accomplished, even scary, martial arts practitioner. When not attending college classes, she is in demand as a martial arts expert and instructor.

Emily Little - Emily, 17, is the youngest resident of the Apthorp. She comes from a family of limited financial means and is shy and easily embarrassed. She attends Coastal College on a scholarship.

Bolinas Residents and Others

Rafael Fern - Rafael is a laid-back lifetime resident of Bolinas who knows everyone and everything that goes on. He befriends Anthony on Anthony’s first day in town.

Adele Hunter Freeman - Adele is Anthony’s aunt and owns the Apthorp. Because she often must spend her time on personal affairs, she has asked Anthony to come to Bolinas and work at the Apthorp.

The Letter Carrier - A somewhat mysterious person with a fondness for limericks.

Tiffany Clermont - Tiffany, an intrepid cable news reporter, is on the scene during a remarkable number of events.

Dave and his buddies - Dave is a troublemaker from the word go, and even he has buddies.

The Gods

Bolinas - Bolinas is the god of the town of Bolinas. He is concerned for the welfare of his worshipers, and as a result he is at a disadvantage compared to gods who are looking out for themselves. To the extent possible for a god, he feels guilty about his perceived failings.

Olema - Olema is the goddess of the town of Olema. She isn’t particularly concerned about her worshipers, preferring to focus on her own interests, and an interesting set of interests they are.

The Covenants - In a world with gods around every corner, there needs to be something that tries to keep them in line. The Covenants are that something.

The Priests

Atwood Phelps - Atwood is the high priest of the god Bolinas. He is a renowned faith healer who worries over the state of his temple’s finances.

F F (Fairfax Fern) Crescente - F. F. grew up in Bolinas and has returned to be Atwood’s number one assistant. He knows both the townspeople and the college students, is used to working with them, and feels protective toward them.

Irwin Griffin - Irwin is the high priest of the goddess Olema. Some might call him ruthless.

Balboa Portola - Balboa is Irwin’s number one assistant. His real name does not include either Balboa or Portola, but this is not sinister. He just thought “Balboa Portola” sounded cool. Some years ago, he conceived the idea for the Holy Oil olive ranch.


The Apthorp in Bolinas - An apartment building in Bolinas, CA, where many of the characters in the story live. See a complete history here.

Bolinas Mall - An open air shopping mall located at the intersection of Brighton Avenue, Wharf Road, and Bolinas-Olema Road, at the entry to Bolinas’s small downtown. Built to cash in on the spending power of Coastal College students, the mall has been controversial with long-time Bolinas residents since the day it was proposed.

Bolinas’s Temple - Bolinas’s temple is an impressive stone building with golden doors that looms over the town of Bolinas. A huge idol of the god Bolinas is located in the worship hall. Priest’s offices are in the back.

Coastal College of California (CCC) - A college located in Bolinas and attended by most of the Apthorp residents.

The Grape and Pint - A local bar and restaurant much favored by Coastal College students. It is located next to the Bolinas Mall.

Holy Oil olive ranch - The Holy Oil olive ranch, owned by Olema’s temple, is a popular tourist destination.  It is located just to the northwest of the town of Olema. Its visitor center looks remarkably like the visitor center for Point Reyes National Seashore.

Olema’s Temple - Olema’s temple is on a hill overlooking the town of Olema. Most of it is burrowed into the side of the hill. It’s not impressive from the outside, but its underground location suits the goddess’s interests very well.

Smiley’s - A hotel and restaurant located in Bolinas.