- Captain Ebenezer Falcon: Captain of the Republic, involved in illegal slave trading.
- Rutherford Calhoun: Protagonist of the story; a freed slave who stows away aboard the Republic.
- Ngonyama: Allmuseri tribesman on the Republic, being transported to America in the illegal slave trade, who takes charge of the ship after the mutiny.
- Isadora Bailey: Schoolteacher whom Calhoun escapes being blackmailed into marrying. Nevertheless, they plan to marry by the end of the story.
- Papa: Creditor of Rutherford Calhoun. He is also part owner of the Republic.
- Peter Cringle: The First Mate of the ship. He is considered by Calhoun to be a very moral man.
- Josiah Squibb: The ship's cook. Calhoun is his assistant.
- Baleka: An Almuseri girl whom Calhoun has come to care for.
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