Claramina Dart – Mina for short. A resourceful orphan, and bright as a new pin, she’s gained employment as an apprentice seamstress for an elderly tailor.

Barley Spindle – a hungry, unschooled street urchin keen to better himself.

Mr Thrums. Tailor to the high society. An anxious man.

Dandy and Dinmont Mortescue – nicknamed the ‘Skews’. The almost-identical twin City Custodians are sly, petty, penny-pinching and child-hating. Convinced of their own cleverness, they are busy furthering their own advancement.

Horatio Smalt – Master Engineer. Possessed of even fewer scruples than the city custodians, he excels in stealing other people’s ideas. He has treacherous plans of his own.

Lady Celadon – dazzling leader of rival city state, Barroca, famous for outliving her husbands. She has two new projects: a young fiancé, and a grudge against the Skews, ever a thorn in her plump side.

Florian Cabochon – said young fiancé, who befriends the orphans and whose training in the dragoons comes in handy.

Flugelcrampers – the vicious street police in the overcrowded city of Mudwells on the island of Sulisia, whose job it is to round up anyone they’re told to.

Mrs Bellyband – mean-spirited workhouse supervisor, wife of the helpful Mr B, and in league with sundry childmongers including Rackspittle and Blockfoot.

Otto Karussel – a hapless clockmaker who continues the work of his genius father, who created the model city of True Haven.

Master Krankhandler –assistant to Smalt, and a fellow who's more interested in a trip to the wine cellar than completing his proper duties.

Claremont – a chinchibirincha with revolutionary abilities and a taste for certain salad greens.

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