DONALD GARDNER is eleven years old. Almost twelve. He’s in the sixth grade now, his final year of elementary school. He's a little short for his age, and up until a few weeks ago, he was a fairly average boy with messy hair and a good attitude who didn’t particularly stand out much. But things have changed. He was put to an extraordinary test and rose to the occasion as few could. His life is not the same and never will be again.
BILL GARDNER is Donald's father. He does his best working hard while raising a son with his wife Ellie. But even after the incredible recent events, he still has difficulty connecting with his son. He is quick to doubt and judge, and he is far from easy to impress. Ellie believes it’s a subconscious defense mechanism or perhaps a stress-related impulse, but either way, Donald is hurt by it and can feel himself closing off again. Bill and his son don't talk about much of anything, even if they don't really fight or argue either. Bill's usual way is to dismiss his troubles with a corny joke.
ELLIE GARDNER is Donald's mom. She can be outspoken and emotional at times but is also tough as nails when the occasion calls for it. She and Donald get along very well and discuss all sorts of things. She is fiercely protective of her family’s privacy which was recently invaded by the national media, the public, the police, and the FBI. Ellie is also coming to terms with her family's incredible secret history. 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. Jon and Chris know Donald’s secret, too. They’re the only ones outside of his parents, Mr. Clarke, and the FBI who do.
KATIE SAMUELSON is a new pretty blonde girl in their class at school. She recently transferred from Seattle, and it was Katie who pointed out that the magic shoes from “The Wizard of Oz” were originally silver instead of ruby when Donald brought one of them in for show-and-tell. Now it’s clear she wants to get to know him better … but Jon and Chris are interested in her as well.
GEORGE CLARKE was on the run, living undercover and out of the public eye for decades. He's still fighting hard to preserve his privacy and anonymity. Over a half-century has passed since his shattering discovery at the age of ten on his family's farm in Missouri. He hasn't had anything resembling a "normal" life since that day. And after the recent events in Germany, he is being challenged yet again, questioning everything he knows and believes in.
LUKAS BARTUL is a middle-aged innkeeper living on the outskirts of the great German forest. He owns and runs the old tavern by himself now, ever since his wife Agatha died three years ago. He is the fifth generation of his family to do so. His is a lonely, isolated life … but all of that is about to change.
OSCAR ZARLEY and his ten-year-old daughter OONA were devoted members of the Order of the Wizard, a highly-secretive worldwide organization. They lived in a castle deep in the woods in Germany for five years until they were forced to escape a week ago. They made their way through the forest to Lukas’s tavern after that. Originally, they were from the United States, but their past, beyond this point, remains a mystery. No one seems to know anything about them prior to their stay in the castle.
THE WHITE RABBIT is just exactly who you think he is—a famous and slightly nervous creature immortalized by LEWIS CARROLL in the children’s book “Alice in Wonderland.” But this poor bunny has lost his pocket watch now and dutifully delivers an urgent warning message from a mysterious mentor in exchange for Donald’s help recovering the missing item.
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 about. They were kept "active" on a very old, legendary case. A case of great importance to the government, but with no new developments in decades. All of that changed two weeks ago. 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.