Theodore “Theo” Faron
The novel’s protagonist, Theo Faron is an Oxford historian. When the novel begins, he is reeling from the fallout of personal tragedy, the waning relevance of his profession, and lack of hope for a future… read analysis of Theodore “Theo” Faron
Theo’s cousin and the self-appointed Warden of England, Xan is a dictatorial man whose childhood tendencies toward “obsessive self-sufficiency” have made him into a cruel, thoughtless leader. Snakelike, shadowy, and incapable of true intimacy… read analysis of Xan Lyppiatt
One of the members of The Five Fishes, Julian is compassionate and driven by a desire for social justice. She wants to secure civil rights for Sojourners (immigrants forced into a kind of indentured servitude)… read analysis of Julian
The leader of The Five Fishes, an engineer in the electricity-supply industry, and Julian’s husband, Rolf has a “dark masculinity” about him and an impatient, jealous, and ambitious personality. He does not particularly like… read analysis of Rolf
One of the members of The Five Fishes, a priest, and secretly the father of Julian’s unborn child. Pious and even-tempered, Luke yearns for a version of the world that still values compassion, justice… read analysis of Luke
One of the members of The Five Fishes, recruited because of his expertise as a long-distance driver. Rolf tasks him with distributing The Five Fishes’ pamphlets all across England. Gascoigne is captured by the State… read analysis of Gascoigne
Theo’s ex-wife, who fell into a deep despair following the accidental death—at Theo’s hands—of their fifteen-month-old daughter Natalie. She has very recently left Theo for a man named Rupert. She and Rupert dote… read analysis of Helena Faron
One of Theo’s old history teachers who selected Theo as his favorite student during Theo’s time as an Oxford undergraduate. Fearing a “total breakdown of order” in the time directly after Year Omega, Jasper… read analysis of Jasper Palmer-Smith
Jasper’s wife Hilda, Theo notes, has become senile and disheveled in her old age. He is shocked, however, when he witnesses her as a participant—seemingly against her will—in a Quietus. Theo attempts to rescue… read analysis of Hilda Palmer-Smith
Head of Health, Science, and Recreation on the Council of England. She is the oldest member of the Council, and its “universal grandmother.” Theo notes her reassuring nature and her ability to make it “impossible… read analysis of Harriet Marwood
Head of Home Affairs on the Council of England. Theo describes her as having made him uneasy during his time on the Council, noting her misshapen, asymmetrical face. A former lawyer, she is curt and… read analysis of Felicia Rankin
The Minister for Justice and State Security on the Council of England. Regarded as the “brain” of the administration, he is “impervious to public opinion.” He believes that “there are things about which nothing can… read analysis of Carl Inglebach
A driver who ferries Theo to his meeting with Xan and the rest of the Council. Theo starts a conversation with him, which leads to Hedges’s resigned musings on the idea of humanity as one… read analysis of Hedges
Helena Faron’s new partner, a “sensitive” artist and graphic designer who is thirteen years her junior.
Head of Industry and Production on the Council of England. Theo describes him as the member of the council “with whom Xan is most intimate, the one he probably comes closest to calling a friend.” A military man, Martin is a hard worker and a “non-intellectual intelligen[t].”
A Chief Inspector with the State Security Police who questions Theo about his knowledge of the Five Fishes.
An Omega State Security Police sergeant who questions Theo about his knowledge of the Five Fishes.