Dr. Rebecca Kitiona-Fenton: The multiracial great-grandniece of Jon Stone, author of a scathing memoir on the Solomon scandals. Stone charms her from the grave, so to speak. But she is still aware of Jon’s flaws as a late-twentieth-century man. Annotating the memoir in places, Dr. Kitiona-Fenton is an ardent feminist and speaks her mind.
Jon Stone: A quirky investigative reporter up against an unholy triad of media, government, and business in the Washington of the 1970s. Stone is a creative rule-breaker and protests an early-morning meeting by showing up to work in his pajamas. Normally his targets just pull ads, but this time, someone might pull a trigger. Stone is a Jew raised in a WASPy D.C. suburb. He isn’t a philosopher but relies on Baruch Spinoza as a mentor.
Sy Solomon: A legendary real estate tycoon with two missing fingertips. Once a humble bricklayer, Solomon is now an iconic name suggesting power and intrigue. His towering buildings house shadowy government agencies. Despite dangerous construction shortcuts, Sy is a hero to his media acolytes, enamored of his multimillion-dollar philanthropy.
George McWilliams: The Washington Telegram’s enigmatic editor, raised in hardscrabble circumstances in Brooklyn. Somehow he became rich enough to build a mini-Versailles. A political foe urged a local V.I.P. hangout to name a baby red-tail shark after him. Mac threatened to boycott the place if it didn’t.
Wendy Blevin: A wealthy Vassar-educated socialite and gossip columnist—both powerful and fragile. She is hurting or helping Stone’s investigation of Solomon. Wendy regularly flies out of “the cuckoo’s nest” and heads north for reasons unknown.
Margo Danialson: B.A. in Medieval Studies, now a junior bureaucrat at the government’s crooked business agency. Maybe she can help Jon circumvent Larry Zumweltnar, a PR sleaze there.
Donna Stackelbaum: Stone’s lover and old family friend who may leave him for a corrupt Lamborghini owner. She is about to get ensnared in a scandal of her own.
Lucky O’Brien: A bigoted, venal paper-shuffler who dreams of making a fortune as a tabloid tipster. But does he actually have some useful information for Stone?
Herb and Lydia Stone: Jon’s parents. Herb works for a lobbying firm tangled in the web of Solomon’s dealings. Up against anti-Semitism at work, Herb worries that Jon’s story could worsen it.