John, the narrator, a laconic fifty-year-old American private detective of French Canadian origin who has been hired to investigate the death of an American named Adams. An unreflective man of action, almost a machine, he seldom becomes nervous or frightened. As an astronaut, he learned how to wait patiently for those moments when quick and decisive action was required, yet he can make quite impulsive decisions, as when he enlisted in the commandos at the age of eighteen and participated in the invasion of Normandy as a glider infantryman. Dismissed from the Mars program because of allergies to grass and dust, he has been hired to investigate the death of a fellow American who was one of twelve victims of the same mysterious cause of death in Naples.
Annabella, a young French girl whom John heroically saves from being killed by a Japanese terrorist’s bomb in the Rome airport. Although newspaper accounts of this event describe her as a teenager, she is in fact younger than that. At first, she is apprehensive about John, fearing that he may be part of the terrorist’s plot, but she becomes friendly with her protector when he takes her back to her parents.
Dr. Philippe Barth
Dr. Philippe Barth, a distinguished French computer scientist who serves as a consultant to the Sûreté. Because he has been programming a computer to solve problems in which the amount of data...
(The entire section is 484 words.)