The narrator, a young American sailor in the South Seas who, with a companion, jumps ship and leaves in a small boat for hospitable islands. At sea, he meets a blonde native girl named Yillah. The party is welcomed to an island by a group of natives who call the narrator “Taji,” thinking he is that god reincarnated. The narrator falls in love with Yillah. When she mysteriously disappears, he wanders the seas, visiting many islands, looking for her. His quest is to no avail.
Yillah, the narrator’s sweetheart, the symbol of good in the novel.
Hautia, a dark native queen who is Yillah’s rival for the narrator’s love. Though the narrator finds her attractive, he refuses the favors she offers him.
Jarl, a sailor aboard the Arcturion who, with the narrator, leaves the whaling vessel and travels among the islands of the South Seas.
Samoa, a native whom Jarl and the narrator find hiding in a derelict ship. The sailors befriend him, and he accompanies them on their travels.
Media, a native king who mistakes the narrator for the god Taji and offers him the hospitality of the island.
Babbalanja, a wise man in Media’s court who tells the narrator that having lost Yillah, he will never again find her.
King Donjalolo, monarch of the island of Juam, who moves from place to place on his island home in order to escape reality.
Yoomy, the minstrel-poet of King Media’s court.