Main characters

In order of appearance:

  • Enoch Root – an elusive and mysterious alchemist who first appears at the beginning of the book and recurs throughout often in the company of Alchemists such as Newton and Locke.
  • Daniel Waterhouse – son of prominent Puritan Drake Waterhouse, roommate of Isaac Newton, friend of Gottfried Leibniz, and prominent member of the Royal Society. Waterhouse is both a savant and a strict Puritan. As Quicksilver progresses he becomes more and more involved in the inner workings of British politics.
  • "Half-Cocked" Jack Shaftoe – an English vagabond, known as "The King of the Vagabonds", who rescues Eliza and becomes the enemy of the Duke d'Arcachon.
  • Eliza – a former harem slave who becomes a French countess, investor, and spy for William of Orange and Gottfried Leibniz. She originally became a slave when she and her mother were kidnapped from their homeland of Qwghlm by a European pirate with breath that smelled of rotten fish.

Historical characters

  • Robert Boyle, Irish natural philosopher
  • Caroline of Ansbach, an inquisitive child who loses her mother to smallpox
  • John Churchill, former employer of Jack and a prominent British politician
  • William Curtius, German Fellow of the Royal Society, and diplomat for the House of Stuart.
  • Nicolas Fatio de Duillier
  • Judge Jeffreys, Lord Chancellor of England
  • Robert Hooke, English natural philosopher and biologist
  • Christiaan Huygens, continental natural philosopher
  • Gottfried Leibniz
  • Louis XIV, King of France
  • Isaac Newton
  • Henry Oldenburg, founding member and secretary of the Royal Society
  • Bonaventure Rossignol, a French cryptologist
  • James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
  • James Stuart, as the Duke of York and as James II, King of England
  • Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard
  • John Wilkins, Bishop of Chester, founding member of the Royal Society, and advocate of religious tolerance in Britain
  • William III of England, as William, Prince of Orange

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