Meet the characters of the Dark is the Night series! All descriptions attempt to be as spoiler-free as possible.

All character art © Sandrine.

James Spencer

James is the only child of wealthy parents, and grew up wanting for nothing. Although overly foppish for his parents’ tastes, they gave him a lot of leeway due to the fact that he never got in trouble or otherwise brought disgrace onto the family...at least until the summer he turned 17. James tells no one why he was abruptly sent to Whisperwood, and it’s a secret he closely guards. Yet despite tragedy, James is a bright, friendly individual with a flair for the written word and a love of the arts. He’s long gotten over any shame he feels being attracted to men—although it’s obviously not something he divulges to anyone—having decided it’s society’s problem and not his.

 

Although James helps out with his family’s business, he has little desire to continue it, having more interest in becoming a writer than anything else. He fully believes he would be happier living in poverty doing something he loves than wealthy and doing something he isn’t passionate about. (However, he says this as someone who has never had to worry about where his next meal is coming from...)

He’s an emotional boy who feels everything intensely and isn’t afraid to show it. Unfortunately, his temper can sometimes get the best of him. Biting his tongue in the face of authority is not one of his strong suits, and there has been more than one occasion where he’s lashed out with words he didn’t mean. But, being in tune to his emotions, James is also a great romantic, the sort of person who loves being in love and would spoil rotten those he cares for.

- A Light Amongst Shadows - 17 years old, 3rd year student
- A Hymn in the Silence - 19 years old
William Esher

Initially aloof and frigid, William doesn’t make friends easily. He comes from a well-to-do family in the shipping and transport industry and is the middle child with an elder brother (Peter) and a younger sister (Charlotte). William was as, according to his mother, a “nervous child.” She frequently gave him opium-based medications to calm his frazzled nerves. This started him down a path of turning to such medications himself, to the point where he became addicted. Ironically enough, his opium reliance—in addition to being caught a few times in compromising positions with other boys—is one of the reasons his parents had him sent to Whisperwood.

All that aside, William is a self-conscious boy, having grown up constantly being compared to his brother. Where Peter was strong, independent and capable, William was emotionally and physically more delicate, preferring the company of books, theatre, and animals to any real socialisation. Beneath his prickly exterior and insecurities, however, is a loving person who can’t stand disappointing those he cares about.

- A Light Amongst Shadows - 17 years old, 3rd year student
- A Hymn in the Silence - 19 years old
Oscar Frances

Born and raised in the slums, Oscar has never known anything but poverty. His father died while enlisted in the Army, and as such, it was up to his mother to provide for him and his younger sister. At the young age of six, Oscar himself procured work—using his father’s pocket watch, one of the few items of value he had—to serve as a knocker-up…meaning he spent his early mornings dashing up and down the streets, rousing workmen from their sleep to begin their day. He also worked as a rat catcher and took whatever odd jobs he could manage to bring money to the table.

Unfortunately, as he grew older, this became difficult. Oscar regrettably took on a few less legitimate jobs, finding himself on the wrong side of the law a handful of times. It’s for this reason his father’s brother offered to pay for his tuition to Whisperwood, in hopes it would put Oscar on the right path in life.

Despite a rough upbringing, Oscar is a sweet, friendly boy with a smile for everyone and a knack for bad jokes, and has proven to be exceptionally intelligent in just about every subject. While many of the upper-class boys at Whisperwood turn their noses up at him, those who have befriended Oscar know to look past his “uncultured” exterior to the wonderful person he is beneath.

- A Light Amongst Shadows - 16 years old, 3rd year student
Benjamin Prichard

Benjamin’s mother, a Chinese immigrant, came to England as a child with her parents. After their lives were claimed by smallpox, she struggled to make ends meet on her own. Eventually she caught the eye of a wealthy Englishman and became his long-term mistress. Over the course of eighteen years, he paid for her room and board and most anything else she wanted…including caring for her financially when she became pregnant with Benjamin.

Benjamin has never met his father. He’s spent his life being sent to public schools, and although his father certainly could have afforded someplace of higher standing, he likely feared being found out that he has a bastard son running around. Thus, Benjamin ended up at Whisperwood, forever his father’s dirty little secret. Despite all this, Benjamin is surprisingly well-adjusted. Known for his quiet, shy demeanor, he’s quick to reach out to those who are in need. He appears to hold no grudge toward his absent father (outwardly, at least…) and has a close bond with his mother, of whom he thinks the world.

Benjamin's secrets lay in the things he sees that he never speaks about...

- A Light Amongst Shadows - 16 years old, 3rd year student
- A Hymn in the Silence - 18 years old
Preston Alexander

Preston grew up the oldest of many children (and the only boy!) in the countryside on a farm that’s been passed down through his family for generations. Concerned about Preston’s seeming thirst for adventure, and the dropping value and rising cost of running a farm during a time of exploding industry, his parents had him sent to Whisperwood. There, they hoped Preston would take the steps to continue onto a university after graduation, and perhaps find his own way in life. Unfortunately for them, Preston still has stars in his eyes and dreams of traveling and exploring the world.

 

Outgoing and friendly, Preston is a fiercely loyal friend and has no qualms about physically stepping in to defend someone who needs it. He met Benjamin in their first-year, noticing the quiet, shy boy and instantly taking to him. They’ve remained incredibly close since then, sometimes even going home with one another during school breaks. Although he holds a few particular people close to him—Oscar, James, and Benjamin—Preston is the sort who makes casual friends with most everyone he meets.

- A Light Amongst Shadows - 17 years old, 3rd year student
- A Hymn in the Silence - 19 years old
Virgil Appleton

The son of a doctor, Virgil has grown up with a strict upbringing and a solid background in the medical field. His father sent him to Whisperwood as a means of paving his way to university, and was unable to afford a more prestigious school. Despite his father’s strictness, he and Virgil are very much alike and have a close bond. Virgil admires him greatly and has an interest in following in his footsteps into the medical field.

Virgil has had few problems at Whisperwood and likes it well enough. Well-behaved and sharp, he’s a favourite of the staff, which is what earned him a place as the prefect of the third-year dormitory in his fourth year. He’s calculated, focused, and difficult to get a read on. Yet he proves more than once his distant exterior does not equate to him being a cold person. Far from it, Virgil is less about rules and more about justice and what he feels is right and fair. (If anything, he’s a bit lonely because his social awkwardness often keeps people at a distance without him meaning for it to.) Surrounded by boys who often come from troubled backgrounds, Virgil remains unbiased and non-judgmental, going so far as to check in on various students when he knows they’re struggling.

- A Light Amongst Shadows - 18 years old, 4th year student & prefect for the 3rd year students
- A Hymn in the Silence - 20 years old
Lady Adelia Wakefield

Adelia is the daughter and only child of the wealthy Lord Claude Wakefield. She meets William and James during their job in the Chiltern Hills, proving to be an invaluable ally in their search for the Brewers' murderer.

 

At a tender young age, Adelia's mother fell ill and passed away, leaving her and her father with only each other. Despite his flaws, Adelia loves her father, but doesn't let it stop her from going against societal norms to do what she wants and what she feels is right. Although she's grown up sheltered beneath the roof of a doting and overprotective parent, Adelia has big hopes and dreams for her future that include somehow becoming an investigator. 

Quick-witted, no-nonsense, and elegant, Adelia commands the respect of all those who meet her. 

- A Light Amongst Shadows - 18 years old