Annat is the main character in Children of the Shaman. At the start of the book she’s thirteen years old, stroppy and self-opinionated. She’s spent her whole life in a small seaside village on the southern coast of Lefranu (a country that’s somewhat like France). Brought up by her aunt and grandparents, all of a sudden she’s yanked out of that familiar environment and dragged off to the big city to meet her father, who abandoned her and her brother when she was a baby.
And he’s a shaman. Annat is the one who has inherited his powers; her elder brother, Malchik, is a shy, bookish boy with no powers, mainly interested in reading and nature. It’s the first time Annat has met anyone like herself, and she realises pretty quickly that life with her father will be an adventure.
If she survives.
In the first book, Malchik is eighteen. He is not a shaman, but possesses just enough power to make him vulnerable to dark forces. And unlike Annat, he can remember their father, and what happened before he deserted them and their mother.
Their mother committed suicide not long after, and Malchik has never forgiven his father. He has a grudge the size of Mount Everest, and this is not improved by the fact that his father is a man of action, while Malchik is only interested in books – and birds.
…is the shaman of the title in the first book. He’s a Wanderer and a shaman, an outcast in a society that views both groups with suspicion.
His father wanted him to become a doctor. His mother probably hoped he would become a concert violinist. Instead he got a local girl pregnant – and she was not a Wanderer. He was forced to marry her, and they went on to have two children – Malchik and Annat.
Then Yuda ran away to the big city and didn’t return. He trained as a shaman and became a guard on the new steam railway, riding on the roof of the Black train and using his powers to fight as well as to heal.
He is short, mercurial, bad-tempered, and extremely self-assured. This does not stop him being riven with guilt and self-doubt. He chain-smokes cigarettes, likes to drink schnapps, and swears in several languages.
His parenting skills leave a little to be desired…
Yuste is Yuda’s twin sister. She used to be a shaman, but he destroyed her powers when they fought as teenagers. Yuste is very different to her brother, and resents his freedom while she was left to bring up his children.
Sergey Govorin is the Sheriff of Gard Ademar, and Yuda’s oldest friend.