Even though the complete "cast" list is rather lengthy, the main story line revolves around five principle characters, all scientists in specialized fields. They are the following:
- Jeremy Stone, a bacteriologist and head professor at Stanford University
- Peter Leavitt, a macrobiologist specializing in epidemics and infectious diseases
- Charles Burton, a renowned pathologist from Houston, Texas
- Mark Hall, a surgeon and inveterate bachelor
- Christian Kirke, a Yale University anthropologist
Some of these characters are developed more than others (Mark Hall, primarily) since they evolve throughout the story. The other characters are basically "flat" in that the novel deals more with external conflict and action than with more subtle character development (although at times internal conflict does indeed come to the fore.) One point the author insists upon is that scientific knowledge (shared by all of the above) is not the same thing as wisdom or common sense.
Have a look at the following references for more information concerning the above-mentioned characters (all from the Wildfire Team) as well as some others, and for some pertinent questions as a springboard for discussion or debate.