Syl Hellais—Conceived among the stars, Syl was the first of the Illyri to be born on Earth. She's now sixteen years old. Her father, Lord Andrus, is among the most powerful Illyri on the planet. Her mother, Lady Orianne, died of malaria when Syl was an infant. Syl is smart, obstinate, and curious about her adopted world, while passionately loyal to Illyr, the home planet she's never known.
Althea—Syl's childhood governess, the closest thing to a mother Syl has known. Althea loves Syl as a mother would, and would do anything to protect her.
Ani—Syl's closest friend, and daughter of General Danis, commander of the Illyri military in Britain. Ani often knows things she has no way of knowing, and is just beginning to discover the extent of her powers.
Lord Andrus—Syl's father, governor of Britain and Ireland, and the most powerful of the Illyri on Earth. He rules from bases in London and Edinburgh, but prefers Edinburgh Castle, which has been Syl's home. Lord Andrus is the Illyri's senior Military commander on Earth, but must share authority with the equally powerful Diplomats. At 60, he is considered only middle-aged by Illyri standards. He loves the Earth, and wants to rule with justice.
Balen—Lord Andrus's secretary, he has known Syl since she was a child, and thinks of her almost as a niece.
Danis—General of the Illyri military in Britain, and Lord Andrus's closest friend. Father of Ani, Syl's best friend.
Ezil—The almost-legendary Supreme Mage of the Nairene Sisterhood, most powerful of the "First Five" who lead Illyr's order of witches. Hers is the only power greater than Syrene's, the wife of Grand Consul Gradus. Ezil and Syrene have an old grudge against Syl's father, Lord Andrus, going back to Syl's mother's decision to forsake the Sisterhood for him.
Fian—Wife of Danis, mother of Ani.
Fremd—An Illyri deserter who has joined the human Resistance.
Gradus—Grand Consul of the Illyri Diplomatic Corps and overseer of the Securitats, the Illyri secret police. A rival of Lord Andrus; there is no love lost between the two. Married to Syrene, leader of the Nairene Sisterhood. Their visit to Earth suggests a threat of a new civil war between the Diplomats and the Military.
Meia—Andrus's spymistress and Syl's unofficial minder; she watches Syl constantly, but allows her some freedom. Meia keeps everyone's secrets, but her own are deepest of all.
Peris—Captain of the castle guard, sent to rescue Syl and Ani from the Resistance. His personal loyalty to Lord Andrus will force him to make difficult choices.
Sedulus—Marshal of the Security Directorate for all of Northern Europe, immediate supervisor of Vena.
Syrene—Also known as the Red Sister, Syrene is an Archmage of the Nairene Sisterhood, a closed order of women who serve as advisors to the Diplomats, and wife of Grand Consul Gradus. Membership in the Nairene Sisterhood is both a great honor and a burden. Most members remain unmarried, living in isolation in the Marque, a city on Illyr's moon Avila Minor. The Nairene Sisterhood discovered the wormholes that make intergalactic travel possible for the Illyri.
Toris—Tutor to the young Illyri on Earth, a man so old his students wonder whether he was a witness to the history he teaches.
Vena—Most senior (and most terrifying) of the Securitats in the United Kingdom, a master spy with streaks of silver on her scalp, making Lord Andrus refer to her as "the Silver Skunk." She reports to Sedulus, who is also rumored to be her lover.
Paul Kerr—Born just after the Illyrian invasion, he is not quite 17 years old. He has been part of the Resistance since the death of his father, and is one of its most valuable intelligence operatives. Paul manages a network of young spies throughout Edinburgh.
Steven Kerr—Paul's younger brother, at 15 he too is a dedicated member of the Resistance.
Katherine Kerr—Paul and Steven's mother; she worries about her sons but is proud of the work they're doing. Her husband Bob, the boys' father, was killed by Securitats when Paul was only 12.
The Green Man—The legendary leader of the Resistance, with a headquarters deep in the Scottish Highlands.
Heather and Tam—A brother and sister in the Highlands Resistance, who live on a farm with Heather's daughter, Alice, and their dog, Lex.
Just Joe—The Green Man's right-hand man, chief lieutenant of the Resistance. He lost his wife and child to the Illyri, and has sought vengeance ever since.
Trask—One of the leaders of the Scottish Resistance, he has formed a peculiar alliance—almost a friendship—with Meia.
Jean and Nessa Trask—Resistance fighters in their own right, their father is one of the most important Resistance leaders in Scotland.