Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 342
Henri is one of the main characters in the novel who is sent to fight for Napoleon. Despite his dreams of playing music as a drummer, he is given work as a cook. This puts him closer to Napoleon, who he cooks food for. The Emperor is a man of specific tastes, and Henri learns to cook chicken exactly the way he prefers. When he meets Villanelle, she decides to run away with him and pretends to be his wife despite not loving him. She refuses to marry him legitimately, even when they have a child together. He murders her ex-husband—who he used to work with as a cook—and spends the rest of his life in jail.
Villanelle is a woman who lives in Russia. She is married and is in love with another woman. Her husband forces her into prostitution with the Army, which is how she eventually meets Henri. Despite their friendship and the fact that he rescued her, she says that she never loves him the right way to marry him. They travel to Italy, where her parents live, and she becomes pregnant with Henri's child. She raises the child alone after Henri is imprisoned for killing the husband that hurt her. Villanelle has webbed feet that let her walk on water. Villanelle's husband is a grotesque gambler who raped her before they were married.
Patrick is an Irish priest who works with Henri in Napoleon's army. He has a magic eye that lets him see more than a normal person should see. He dies on the journey from Russia to Venice with Villanelle, and his spirit visits Henri in prison.
Napoleon and Josephine are the Emperor and Empress. Henri works for Napoleon, who is very particular about how he likes things done.
The Queen of Spades is the woman that Villanelle loves. Even though the woman will never be with her, Villanelle still refuses to commit to another person. She believes that she lost her heart to the Queen and sends Henri to steal it back.
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