This article contains spoilers! Read at your own risk.

Victoria "Tory" Brennan is a main character the the book series Virals by Kathy and Brendan Reichs. Tory  

Victoria Brennan
The virals by wintersknight-d41mmc9
Name Victoria Brennan
Nickname(s) Tory
Gender 14

15 (As of Exposure)

16 (As of Spike)

Height 5'5
Eyes Green
Hair Red
Professional Status
Affiliation The Virals Pack
Occupation High School Student
Personal Status
Education High School
Family Kit Howard

Mom (Deceased)

Status Alive
Viral Yes

is the alpha of the Virals and possesses a telepathic ability to speak to the other Virals when flaring. Her sense of smell is also the greatest of all of the Virals and she can detect people's emotions via the pheromones emitted. 


Tory grew up with her mother in the New England area. Shortly before the first book, Virals, her mother was killed in an automobile accident after being hit by a drunk driver on her way home with pizza. After her mother's death, she discovers the identity of her father, Kit Howard, who did not know he had a daughter. As he is her legal guardian, she moves from her home in Massachusetts and down to Charleston, South Carolina.

Although only fourteen, Tory is in the same grade as her friends at Bolton Prep because she skipped the 6th grade when she was twelve. She got into the prestigious school because her dad works on LIRI as a marine biologist and they offered to pay Tory's tuition. When she arrives on Morris she meets Hi, Shelton, and Ben and quickly becomes friends with them. Tory also explores her love of science outside of school, collecting shells at the beach, cleaning and identifying them. Her knowledge of all things scientific often comes in handy and it is not uncommon for the group to break into LIRI (Loggerhead Island Research Institute) for access to lab equipment. This is part of the reason she is considered alpha of the Virals group. 

She is also the niece of famous anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan, the main character in Kathy Reichs' adult book series of crime novels. This book series inspired the TV series BONES, featuring Tory's great-aunt Tempe as the main character. Tory often identifies with her aunt because of their shared love of science and unrelenting desire to solve mysteries and sometimes contacts her for help, such as in Seizure when Tempe is able to translate a Gaelic poem, courtesy of her Irish roots.

It is not explained why Tory has the ability to communicate with the other Virals through telepathy, but it does hint that it is because she is the leader of the pack. She can also force the other Virals to flare. During Virals and Code, Tory was able to slip into Cooper, Shelton, Hiram, and Ben's minds, looking through their eyes and experiencing their thoughts. In Virals she forces the boys to flare while battling Chance and his crazed girlfriend. In Code, she focused some of her energy towards the boys, causing each and every Viral to become more powerful for the moment in order to beat the Gamemaster. Tory is also the only Viral who can flare twice in a row.


  • Christopher "Kit" Howard - Kit is Tory's father, although neither of them were aware of this fact until after Tory's mother died. Kit was about seventeen years old when Tory was conceived and born.
  • Ben Blue - Ben and Tory are close friends in and out of school. Ben is the only member of Virals which has trouble flaring.Tory and Ben often side with each other and work together very well. She notes a mysterious tension between Jason and Ben in the first two books; When she tries to find out why they either dodge or simply ignore her questioning. In Code, Ben admits to having 'feelings' for Tory, and, after Tory forgives Ben for his collaboration with the Gamemaster, begins to return those feelings in Exposure. Also, in Terminal she is forced to choose between Chance and Ben, she chooses Ben. Ben is now her boyfriend.
  • Whitney Dubois - Whitney is Kit's girlfriend (later becoming his fiance). She and Tory don't get along, due to the fact that she constantly refers to Tory's wolfdog pup, Cooper, as a "mutt","animal", or "filthy mongrel" and that Tory often feels that Whitney invades her space and tries to replace her mother.  Whitney also forces Tory to participate in cotillon and frequently comments on how it is "unladylike" to only be friends with guys. Tory tolerates Whitney for the most part but isn't afraid to make her distaste for the woman known. In order to keep Kit's new partner happy Tory endures debutante events that Whitney encourages her to participate in, in hopes that she will make some "respectable" female friends. This goal ends up failing spectacularly, as it leads Tory to fall in with Jason and ultimately choose he and the other Virals as her escorts to her debut.
  • Hiram Stolowitski - Hiram, usually referred to as Hi, is another of Tory's best friends. He was the first to befriend her, and the first to introduce Tory to Ben and Shelton. They seem to feed off of each other's sarcasm and joke around endlessly. He has a special gift for relieving the tension, sometimes simultaneously making Ben angry. Hi doesn't always agree with Tory's schemes, but he supports her in the end.
  • Shelton Devers - A Viral and a close friend to Tory. When flaring, Shelton's hearing abilities skyrocket, along with the usual strength and heightened sight. Although Shelton often seems irritated by and opposed to Tory's midnight break-ins and other escapades, he eventually caves in because of his undying loyalty to his friend. Shelton has admitted to not wanting to hear Tory's schemes in the first place because he knows he'll end up going along with them. He is the Virals' resident hacker, lock-picker, and claustrophobe.

Physical Description and Appearance

Tory is the youngest of the Virals, at fourteen. She is described in Virals as being 5'5" and slender. She has auburn red hair that is described as being wavy and easily tangled. Normally Tory has emerald eyes, but when flaring her eyes turn golden, like the other Virals. Tory has "pale New England skin" that burns easily. She also has freckles. Tory doesn't pay all that much attention to her appearance and is comfortable in her own skin. She doesn't want to be a typical girl. It is mentioned that she is very pretty.

Throughout the summertime, Tory often wears tank tops or t-shirts and shorts. For school, she dresses in the standard Bolton Prep uniform, and for cotillion events, she borrows from Whitney. She states that she sweats very easily as well.


Tory gained many canine-like abilities due to her exposure to experimental parvovirus XPB-19, which she and the other Virals contracted from her wolf-dog pup, Cooper. She uses these super-human abilities to aid her and her friends in their often dangerous investigations. These powers are not always at Tory's disposal. Strong emotions or life-threatening situations trigger "flares," which switch on the powers. When the Virals flare their irises glow gold. Later in the book series Tory practices focusing her powers and inducing a flare at will. Of all the Virals, Tory is the only one who has frequently and purposefully flared in public. The first of these incidents was at cotillion when she flashed her golden irises at Madison Dunkle, the leader of the "Tripod," to scare her off. This slip was later heavily reprimanded by the boys.

Some of the effects of the mutations are:

  • Enhanced vision - She can see better than the average human while flaring, also giving her nocturnal vision. At one point in the series, Tory is said to be able to see the fine details of a fly's eyes from across the room.
  • Enhanced hearing - With canine-like hearing Tory can eavesdrop on conversations from a great distance and pick out a specific voice, such as to keep track of the Tripod.
  • Enhanced stamina/strength - When flaring Tory has heightened strength, speed, and endurance. She becomes stronger and does not tire easily. Tory also has the ability to run much faster than should be humanly possible, including chasing after a car.
  • Enhanced smell - Each of the Virals has one particular sense that is heightened more than the others. Tory's special ability is her amazing sense of smell. Along with tracking and identifying different scents, she can detect the emotions of others based on the pheromones they give off. Many dogs and other canines share this ability, but Tory is the only one of the Virals who can smell emotions. This ability is first explored in the second book of the series, Seizure.
  • Telepathic communication - As the Alpha of the Virals, she can hear the thoughts of her fellow Virals (Cooper included) while they're all flaring in a reasonably close area. She can send messages to them as well, and can induce flaring in her fellow Virals. Tory is the only one of the Virals with this ability. She has also experimented with communicating her thoughts to wolves. In Seizure, Tory convinced the red wolves on Oneiscau island that the Virals weren't a threat. She also unconsciously called upon them for help while cornered by Sally and Chris Fletcher and later sent a telepathic message to the wolves, whom she called "brothers", thanking them for their assistance.