Maximilian 'Max' T. Epper, also known as Merlin or Wizard, is an expert in electromagnetics, ancient history and archaeology. He is also a founding member of the Coalition of Minnows team.
He began researching the ancient Machine linked to the Dark Star, which would become the main focus of Epper's research for years to come. In this endeavor, he began working alongside the Japanese anthropologist Yobu "Tank" Tanaka, and the two became friends. Between their research on the Machine, Epper also looked into the Golden Capstone of the Great Pyramid.
Epper took a job teaching archaeology and ancient history at the Trinity College in Dublin, and during this time he also built several devices based on his knowledge of electro-magnetics. One such invention was his anti-gunfire Warblers, however when his investors screwed him over when they sold it, Epper was furious and decided to avoid working with capitalists again.
He first met Jack West Jr. in 1989, when he joined the history class he was teaching. Jack's superiors in the Australian Army were concerned because he was unsatisfied by simply being a soldier, and because they were aware of Epper's upcoming mission to find the pieces of the Capstone, asked Epper to take him on as a favour. Also in his class at this time was Zoe Kissane, and he would later take on the twins Julius and Lachlan Adamson as his students.
Following Jack's time serving during Desert Storm, he decided he was going to quit the Army, but one of his superiors decided to assign him to Epper's Capstone quest in order to keep him around for a while longer.
On Christmas Eve, 1994, Jack and Epper followed up on Jack's own theory regarding the Temple of Dendur, which he thought might contain the Knife of Osiris. After they received permission from New York's Metropolitan Museum to examine the Temple, they confirmed the Knife's pressence within one of the Temple's bricks with a Ground Penetrating Radar.
When a fire alarm went off, Jack and Epper were forced to evacuate the museum, just as a squad of firemen entered the museum. When they both heard a nearby boy note that their firetruck was not the real number 17 firetruck, Jack became suspicious, so he sent Epper back inside the museum. Epper went back to the Temple of Dendur, only to find that the brick that contained the Knife of Osiris had been taken. He then quickly called Jack, who pursued the firemen, but ultimately lost the Knife to a man in a trench coat who had been watching them earlier.
Before Seven Ancient WondersEdit
Some time before 1996, Jack and Epper located several hidden scrolls that were saved from the Alexandria Library fire, and discovered, among other things, the Callimachus Text, which would lead them to the locations of the Ancient Wonders and the Capstone Pieces with them.
In March 1996, Epper and Jack sought to locate the Oracle of Siwa to translate the Word of Thoth to help translate the Callimachus Text, however they learned he had recently died while his wife Malena was pregnant with his child. Because only the child would be able to help them once grown up, Jack and Epper asked Malena for help, only for her to be kidnapped by a European force led by del Piero. The pair tracked them to a volcano in Uganda, but arrived too late to stop del Piero from taking Malena's child. As lava began pouring into the chamber, Jack discovered that a second child was still inside Malena's now dead body, and so he and Epper retrieved the infant, and attempted to escape, only to be blocked by the lava. When Jack sacrificed his left arm into a waterfall of lava to pull a release lever, Epper promised to build him a new one stronger than his old arm.
Epper and Jack proceeded to the meeting of small nations, whom were debriefed by Epper about the coming calamity the Tartarus Sunspot would cause if it was not nullified by the restored Golden Capstone. With the nations agreeing to participate in the collective mission, the Canadian delegation assigned Epper to represent them in the team of minnows as they guarded the infant (named Lily by Jack) until she was old enough to translate the Callimachus Text and lead them to the Capstone pieces.
The team based themselves on a Kenyan farm, and were joined by Dorris, and over the years Epper and his wife became grandparent figures to Lily. During this ten year period, Epper worked on building Jack a mechanical arm, modified the Halicarnassus' engines with electromagnetic retrograde thrusters, and worked with Jack onpreparing for the traps they would encounter when trying to recover the pieces.
Between Seven Ancient Wonders and The Six Sacred StonesEdit
After learning Jack survived the fall and rescued Alby, Epper's group met up with them and the rest of their team on Little McDonald Island, exchanging tales of their adventures since their split.
Later relocating to Sea Ranger's base on Zanzibar, Epper and the teanm tried to assert what they knew about the remaining Vertices and Pillars, however they were at a loss. Diane, who had volunteered to assist them as thanks for rescuing her, pointed out the Five Warriors of legend connected to their mission, and Epper admitted he had thought of them, but couldn't fit them in with what he knew.
Over the next two months, they used this suggestion and were able to learn more about the Vertices and Pillars. In the midst of this research, they learned that Genghis Khan had held some of the Pillars before passing them on, and once had a Fabergé Egg with pictures of the Vertex entrances. Seeing the importance of this, Epper went along with Jack's team to locate Genghis' Lost Arsenal in Mongolia to find it.
However, they were beaten to the chamber by Wolf's team and Tank's Blood Brotherhood, the latter of whom had just destroyed the egg. Epper tried to reach out to his old friend, admitting he regretted that he never saw his hatred within. While Jack believed the mission was over, Epper noticed a sarcophagus in the room, as well as a shield with the egg's images painted on. While attempting to escape their enemies, Epper and Jack were confronted by Wolf, who fatally shot Epper with a crossbow, believing that Epper's death would break Jack's spirit.
As he lay dying, Epper pleaded for Jack to finish rebuilding the Machine and not to let his death break him. As Lily and Zoe arrived, Epper said his goodbyes to them too, and let slip that Jack had once told him that he had once planned on proposing to Zoe. With his last words being his gladness to be with Dorris again, Epper finally succumbed to his injury.
While Jack wanted to take his body with them, Zoe pointed out they couldn't and thought that being burried in the same tomb as Genghis Khan would have pleased him. Having not seen the sarcophagus before, Jack realised what Epper had being trying to tell him about the shield, and he quickly took it, before he and the others quickly made their escape from Mao's forces.
The rest of the team were saddened to learn of Epper's death, while Lily, being the most affected, believed that Wolf should die for killing him.
- Epper is the second major recurring character in any of Reilly's novels to be killed off.