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"You make sure you do take his cock and balls before you finish him. You make that bastard suffer."
―Holden to Jennifer Scott, regarding her desire to kill Reginald Birch, 1757.[src]

James "Jim" Holden (died 1758) was an ally and close friend to Haytham Kenway, the first Grand Master of the Colonial Rite of the Templar Order.


Services under Haytham[]

In his youth, Holden served in the British Army under General Edward Braddock during his campaigns in the Dutch Republic, including the Siege of Bergen op Zoom in 1747. His brother had been executed alongside the same gallows as Haytham Kenway, who had managed to escape. To avenge his lost kin, Holden aided Haytham in his investigations to find Tom Smith, a mercenary who was allegedly involved in murdering Haytham's father Edward, following which the pair became close friends.[1]

From there, Haytham invited Holden to London to aid him in his further investigations, under the guise of his "gentleman's gentleman." This included Holden waiting in a carriage outside the Theatre Royal to aid Haytham's escape following his assassination of a patron of the Assassin Order.[2] After suspecting the treachery of Reginald Birch, Holden quickly became the only ally Haytham could trust with such sensitive information regarding his father's murder and the disappearance of his sister, Jennifer Scott.[1]


Following Haytham's failed attempt to access a First Civilization storehouse in Colonial America, Holden aided the Templar in his efforts to locate Jennifer. Around 1757, while Haytham increased the Templars' influence in the American colonies, Holden privately tracked Jennifer to the Qasr al-Azm, a Damascan palace, where she had initially served as a concubine to the Ottoman court at Topkapı Palace, before being transferred as a servant due to her increasing age.[1]

After Haytham was informed of Holden's discovery, he returned from the American colonies and joined Holden in infiltrating the palace under the guise of eunuchs. Once the pair located Jennifer, however, they were discovered and Holden stubbornly chose to stay behind and delay the guards while Haytham and his sister made their escape. As a result of this act, Holden was captured and sent to the Abou Gerbe monastery on Mount Ghebel Eter, Egypt, to undergo operations to become a eunuch.[1]

In September 1757, Haytham tracked down Holden but greatly suspected that he had already been castrated. Proven true, and on seeing Holden suffering from dehydration as a result of being buried to his neck in the desert, a furious Haytham burned down the monastery and killed many of the priests who conducted the operations on other men before carrying his weakened friend to safety. Following this, Haytham located a cottage where they would be safe, and he and Jennifer gradually nursed Holden of his injuries, though the process took several weeks.[1]

Assault on Birch's chateu and death[]

In October, Holden joined Haytham and Jennifer on an assault on Reginald Birch's chateau in France, after Jennifer had informed Haytham that Birch was responsible for both her disappearance and their father's murder. Following Birch's death, Holden helped Birch's prisoners Monica and Lucio Albertine escape. However, as Haytham attempted to apologize to the Albertines for the conditions in which his fellow Templars had put them through following their 1753 capture, Lucio unforgivingly stabbed him in the torso, but luckily missed Haytham's heart.[1]

As a result of this sudden attack, Holden and Jennifer cared for Haytham in Birch's chateau during his recovery over the coming months. Once Haytham had fully recovered by January 1758, Holden committed suicide, having felt he had fulfilled his duty by helping heal his friend yet also unable to cope with the injuries and emotional trauma inflicted upon him at Abou Gerbe. Haytham and Jennifer subsequently attended his small funeral.[1]

Behind the scenes[]

In Oliver Bowden's 2012 novel Assassin's Creed: Forsaken, Holden is described as a young man in "his late twenties, with close-cropped, gingery hair" when Haytham first meets him in 1747. However, in the 2012 video game Assassin's Creed III, he appears much older, being depicted with white hair in the memory "A Deadly Performance", which is set in 1754. This is because Holden's character model is not unique and is used for multiple NPCs throughout the game.

The name "James" originates from the old Hebrew name Yaakov (Jacob), which means "one who takes by the heel" or, more plainly, "supplanter". "Holden" is derived from the Old English word hol, meaning "hollow" or "valley".