Last Updated September 5, 2023.
The President is the dictator of the country where the story takes place. He is cruel, demanding, and able to manipulate events to keep himself in power. Not much is directly known about him in the novel because he's a creature of rumor and shadow.
Miguel Angel Face is one of the President's advisors. He's handsome, charming, and able to get results no matter what it takes to get them. While carrying out his duties for the President and helping the President frame a man for murder, he falls in love with the man's daughter. They eventually marry, and Angel Face is branded a traitor, eventually dying in prison. He's torn between wanting to please the President and wanting to be a better person who does right in the world.
General Canales is the man who is accused of the murder at the beginning of the story. The President has Angel Face convince Canales to escape so that he looks guilty. Canales meets villagers hurt by the President's government on his travels and comes to see that the system he's been living under is bad. Canales decides to lead a revolution. He dies when he hears that the President attended Camila's wedding.
Camila Canales is the daughter of General Canales. She is taken by Angel Face after her father flees. No one is willing to shelter her, because they're scared of being branded traitors as well. She grows ill, marries Angel Face, recovers, and has a son.
Don Juan Canales is Camila's uncle. He refuses to take her in because of the supposed crimes of her father.
Miguel is the son of Camila and Angel Face.
The Zany is the beggar who committed the murder at the beginning of the novel. He is saved by Angel Face but eventually killed by Vasquez.
Jose Sonriente is the Colonel who mocked the Zany and was murdered.
Lucio Vasquez is one of the people who works with Angel Face. He kills the Zany.
Genaro Rodas is another person who works with Angel Face.
Fedina de Rodas is Genaro's wife. She's taken by the police for supposedly helping Canales escape, even though she didn't. She's smeared with lime so that her baby can't feed from her breasts; the baby starves to death. Later she's forced into a brothel and then put into the hospital when they realize that she's holding her dead baby.