Dunstan (Dunstable) Ramsay — The main focus and narrator of the novel. As the [fictional] author of the novel (supposedly a letter written to a headmaster of his old school) he takes the air of extravagance, portraying his actions to be holy justified, otherwise brushing them aside in his appealing manner, as he retells his life's story from childhood to his current present. Born at the turn of the 20th century, he is maimed in WWI, wins a Victoria Cross, and devotes his life to the study of saints and myths, spending time with Bollandistscholars.
'Boy' (Percy Boyd) Staunton — Ramsay's childhood friend who threw a snowball at him which instead hit Mary Dempster, thereby precipitating the premature birth of Paul Dempster and her subsequent slide into madness. Changes his name from Percy to Boy. Through his immense business skills he becomes a billionaire in the sugar-processing business in Canada. He has almost no insight into himself but is a charming man with an immense need for sexual gratification.
Mary Dempster — Ten years older than the narrator, Dunstan Ramsay, she plays a pivotal role in his life where she assumes saint-like proportions despite being held in an insane asylum.
Paul Dempster — Son of Mary Dempster. Ten years younger than Dunstan Ramsay, he outshines Ramsay at hand magic and later on, disappears with a travelling circus. Later in life he transforms himself into the magician Magnus Eisengrim and is the subject of World of Wonders.
Leola Staunton — Ravishing wife of Boy Staunton and first love of Dunstan Ramsay. A sometimes weak, sometimes strong woman who cannot live up to her ambitious husband's expectations.
Liselotte (Liesl) Vitzlipützli — Daughter of a millionaire Swiss watchmaker who assists Magnus Eisengrim in his travelling magic show. She is bisexual, and the victim of an early adolescent affliction (never specified but possibly acromegaly) which leaves her unusually tall and with large features. She is Ramsay's confessor...
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