Alan Norman, an honest and sincere young villager. Chosen by lot in an annual ceremony, he is promised a portion of the estate and the hand of the daughter of the deceased master of the lands of the English village of Pressan Ambo if he can, unlike the others who have tried, successfully complete the quest to find the missing son and heir, Sir Francis Crewe. Alan’s simple acceptance of his task and his sustaining dream of marrying Iris, Sir Francis’ sister, make him an unquestioning Everyman who will be transformed by his travels in postwar Europe from the prototypical unquestioning good citizen to one who learns something of the treachery and dishonesty of governments, whether national or local. As a hero, he is distinguished by his steadiness and single-mindedness of purpose, not so much acting as being acted upon.
Sir Francis Crewe
Sir Francis Crewe, a baronet, the missing heir who is literally the dog beneath the skin, for in his disillusionment with the modern world after the end of the war, he hides in a costume of a dog’s skin and sees the world from the ground up. He attaches himself to Alan Norman after years of learning what the Pressan Ambo villagers are like; hidden as he is by his role as a dog, people speak freely in front of him. He makes the journey with Alan to the Continent, where he experiences at first hand the politics of the village enlarged in national terms of fascism, mind control, and corrupt...
(The entire section is 609 words.)