DONALD GARDNER is eleven years old. Almost twelve. Almost in the sixth grade, too—his final year of elementary school. He's an average boy with messy hair and a good attitude who doesn't particularly stand out much. He's a little short for his age. A happy kid, but he thinks his life is totally boring. He longs for adventure. He wants something extraordinary to happen to him.
BILL GARDNER is Donald's father. He does his best working hard, raising a son, but he has trouble connecting with Donald. They don't talk about much of anything, even if they don't really fight or argue either.
ELLIE GARDNER is Donald's mom. She is fairly outspoken with a sense of humor. She and Donald get along well, and they discuss all sorts of things. But she worries about the wall of silence being forged between Donald and his father. She wants to help but isn't sure how. In addition to being a wife and mother with a full-time career, she collects antique silver on the side. It's been a passion of hers since early childhood.
JON FOSTER and CHRIS BRYANT are Donald's two best friends. They've all known each other since kindergarten, and Donald would trust them both with his life if he had to. JON is tall, blond, and athletic. He excels at sports, and his parents are always rewarding him with impressive gifts for winning a medal or a trophy at school. CHRIS travels abroad each summer with his family. They've been all over the world and seen incredible things. Donald would do anything for his two best buddies, but he is a bit envious of them as well. He wishes he were more like them.
GEORGE CLARKE has been on the run, living undercover, and out of the public eye for many years. Over a half-century has passed since his shattering discovery on the family's farm in Missouri. He hasn't had anything resembling a "normal" life since that day. And at the age of sixty-two, he is tired of running. Tired from staying just one step ahead of … them. Yet he senses the most challenging event of his life is about to begin.
OWEN ZELLER is a wealthy collector of the world's finest antiques. An international traveler—and a mysterious, soft-spoken, unsettling man. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
STUART BANNING and DENNY LAMONT are special agents with a highly secretive branch of the FBI—one that few people know anything about. They have been kept "active" on a very old, legendary case. A case of great importance to the government, but with no new developments in decades. That is about to change now. For them and for the world.
There are other important characters, to be sure. Some of them human and some of them not. Some of them living, and some of them … not. Some of them good, and some of them most definitely not. But to say anything more would spoil the story. And that wouldn't be right.