Authors: Timothee de Fombelle
Italics denote real historical figures
BORIS PETROVITCH ANTONOV
murderous Soviet agent tasked with killing Vango
girl who secretly prowls the rooftops of Paris; resistance name Marie; a.k.a. “the Cat”
Boulard’s ambitious second-in-command
ETHEL B. H.
Scottish heiress and orphan; in love with Vango; lives with her brother, Paul, at Everland Castle
PAUL B. H.
Ethel’s older brother; Scottish heir and orphan; RAF pilot who fights in the Spanish Civil War and for the French Resistance
doctor on the island of Salina; hopes to see Mademoiselle again
cabaret singer who achieved fame at La Lune Rousse in Montmartre, Paris
SUPERINTENDENT AUGUSTE BOULARD
eminent police detective at the Quai des Orfèvres (Criminal Investigations, Police HQ, Paris)
MADAME MARIE-ANTOINETTE BOULARD
mysterious resistance leader for the Paradise Network
murderous pirate who left Salina for New York with a stolen fortune; a.k.a. Gio
Voloy Viktor’s right-hand man, and a thug
MADAME BLANCHE DUSSAC
concierge for the Paris apartment block where Boulard lives; friend of Marie-Antoinette Boulard
COMMANDER/DOKTOR HUGO ECKENER
commander of the
friend of Vango; member of Project Violette
leader of the Abbey of La Blanche on the island of Noirmoutier, off the coast of western France
Max Grund’s personal doctor; member of Project Violette
proprietor of La Belle Étoile restaurant in Paris
chief representative of the Gestapo in German-occupied Paris
headwaiter of the
CAPTAIN ERNST LEHMANN
captain of the
Hugo Eckener’s second-in-command
Vango’s childhood nurse; a.k.a.
a.k.a. “the Bird-seller”
German World War I fighter pilot; member of Project Violette
cook at the invisible monastery on the island of Arkudah
housekeeper at Everland Castle; guardian of Ethel and Paul
INSPECTOR BAPTISTE MOUCHET
assistant to the superintendent at the Quai des Orfèvres (Criminal Investigations, Police HQ, Paris)
son of Peter, the gardener at Everland Castle; Ethel’s ally
violin player from Moscow studying in Paris; blackmailed into spying for Boris Petrovitch Antonov
IVAN IVANOVITCH OULANOV
father of Andrei; lives in Moscow
KONSTANTIN & ZOYA IVANOVITCH
younger siblings of Andrei; they live in Moscow
former soldier turned boxer from the Ivory Coast; now a barber based in Monaco; member of Project Violette; a.k.a. J. J. Puppet
the bell ringer at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
despotic ruler of the Soviet Union
eight-year-old daughter of Stalin; a.k.a. Setanka; a.k.a. Setanotchka
a girl from Chakva
Pippo Troisi’s abandoned wife; a.k.a. Pina
once a farmer from the island of Salina; now an “asylum seeker from marriage” at the invisible monastery on the island of Arkudah
washed up on the island of Salina as a child; now a young man searching for his identity; a.k.a. Evangelisto; a.k.a. “the Bird”
pirate from the island of Salina; killed by Giovanni Cafarello
daughter of the late Bartolomeo Viaggi; from the island of Salina
nefarious arms dealer; also goes by many other names, including Madame Victoria
VLAD THE VULTURE
Soviet agent; rival of Boris Petrovitch Antonov
mysterious, sickly figure who is hidden away in a valley in the Caucasus Mountains
leader of the invisible monastery of Arkudah; mentor of Vango; member of Project Violette
1918. At the age of three, Vango is washed up
on a beach in the Aeolian Islands in Sicily, with Mademoiselle, his nurse, who claims to know nothing about their past. He grows up on the island of Salina, sheltered from the world, among the birds and climbing the cliffs.
At the age of ten, he discovers the invisible monastery, which Padre Zefiro founded in order to protect a few dozen monks from the mafias that were after them. Vango is accepted by the community, and lives between his island and the monastery. But, four years later, when he announces to Zefiro that he wants to become a monk, the padre sends him away to find out about the world before making a final commitment.
So Vango spends the year of 1929 as a crew member of the
airship, by the side of Commander Hugo Eckener. On board he meets an orphan called Ethel, who is traveling with her brother. But Vango is being pursued by unknown forces who want him dead, and three weeks after meeting Ethel, he is forced to leave her.
A few years later, just as he is about to become a priest at the foot of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Vango is accused of a crime he hasn’t committed. The senseless witch hunt continues, and Superintendent Boulard and his men join the ranks of those already pursuing him. From now on, Vango leads the life of a fugitive across Europe, as he tries to discover why such hatred follows him.
Padre Zefiro has now left his monastery and is fighting against the arms dealer Voloy Viktor in order to keep the promise he made to three friends, twenty years earlier, in the trenches of Verdun.
In the middle of this whirlwind, Vango finally learns about his dramatic arrival in Sicily as a child: offshore from the islands, his parents were killed in their boat by three men, led by one Cafarello. Vango and his nurse escaped. Cafarello betrayed his co-pirates, sunk the boat, and disappeared with the lion’s share of the mysterious treasure that was on board.
Vango sets off again into the unknown to find Cafarello and uncover the great secret of his life.