- David Strorm is the narrator of the story. David is one of a small group of youngsters who can communicate with each other via telepathy. However, their community's theological prejudice against anyone who is abnormal means he and the others must keep their abilities carefully hidden. David and Rosalind's love for each other is kept secret from their parents because of a bitter feud between their families.
- Sophie Wender is a young girl born with six toes on one of her feet. Sophie lives with her parents in an isolated cottage somewhere north-west of Waknuk, her deviation from the "norm" keeps her from associating with other children. She befriends David after he discovers her secret but promises not to reveal it.
- Joseph Strorm is the father of David and Petra. He is a domineering personality, deeply religious, and unyielding on the subject of mutations and blasphemy, even punishing David severely for an unintentionally blasphemous remark about "needing an extra hand" to apply a bandage.
- Uncle Axel is a widely travelled former sailor, open-minded and willing to question conventional religious precepts. Upon discovering David's telepathy, he counsels caution and extracts a promise that David take great care not to allow others to learn of his mutation.
- Petra Strorm is the youngest of the Strorm children. The group of telepaths discovers that her ability is extraordinarily strong and difficult to resist, placing the group at greater risk of discovery.
- Rosalind Morton is David's closest friend among the group of telepaths. They become more of a couple later on in the book. She lives on a neighbouring farm and is David's half cousin.
- The Sealand woman and her people are from a more technologically advanced society where telepathic ability, while not ubiquitous, is far more common and is accepted, promoted and studied. The woman calls her country "Zealand", but the telepaths insist on calling it "Sealand" instead.
- Michael is the most objective, perceptive and decisive of the telepaths, the best educated, and in many ways plays a leading role in the group despite his physical absence from events in the story. His telepathic abilities remain secret, and during the pursuit into the Fringes he joins the leading posse to give updates and warnings to David, Rosalind and Petra as they flee.
- Rachel is the last remaining telepath in Waknuk after David, Rosalind and Petra depart to Zealand. As her own elder sister who was also a telepath had committed suicide earlier in the book, her possible fate of being left alone whilst the others depart, carries even greater pathos. As an act of heroism, commitment and love, Michael remains behind with Rachel when they find out that the aircraft bringing the four of the telepaths to Zealand does not have enough fuel to also collect Rachel from Waknuk and get home again. He declares the intention to find some other way to come to Zealand with Rachel at some future time.
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