This section contains 1,665 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Lancelot Andrewes Lamar
Named for an English clergyman and scholar, Lancelot Andrewes Lamar is the only son of traditional southern family. Lancelot grew up with his father and mother, believing that both his parents were good, chivalrous people. However, as Lancelot grew older, he soon came to realizes that his mother had had an affair with a distant relative during most of his childhood, and his father was taking bribes in his career as a politician. Despite these truths, Lancelot grew up believing in the values of the South and became a successful attorney, representing blacks during the sixties in multiple racial discrimination suits.
After the excitement of the sixties ended, Lancelot found himself disillusioned about his career and lacking in passion. Lancelot married a younger woman who filled the hole his career left for a time, but soon Lancelot found himself stuck in a rut that revolved around alcohol and the news. Lancelot was perfectly happy to let life pass him by, unconcerned for the activities of those around him, until the day he learned his daughter might not be his child. Lancelot becomes obsessed with the idea that his wife has been cheating on him, even convinced of who her lover was the summer she became pregnant with their daughter.
Lancelot began to spy on his wife, using a household servant who had been a part of his household since childhood. Lancelot got proof of his wife's infidelity, as well as the corruption of his eldest daughter, leading him to believe he was justified in acting out his own revenge. Lancelot causes a fire that kills four people, including his wife and her lover. Now Lancelot is in a mental institute fighting for his freedom so he can begin a new world in the hills of Virginia where a woman can never again hide her true sexual nature.
Harry, the Priest-Physcian, or Percival
While in the mental institution, Lancelot begins speaking to a priest-physician he often calls Percival. This man is supposed to be an old friend of Lancelot's from his childhood, a man named Harry, who grew up not far from Belle Isle where Lancelot grew up. Although Harry was richer than Lancelot and attended a private high school, they found themselves at the same college where they spent a great deal of time together. Harry went from college to become a psychiatrist, later entering the seminary for reasons that Lancelot can only guess at.
While in the mental institute, Lancelot sees Harry in the hallway. This sighting causes Lancelot to begin to remember the events that have brought him to this place. Lancelot begins inviting Harry to his room to tell him the story of what really happened that fateful night at Belle Isle. As they speak, Harry rarely asks questions or answers the many questions Lancelot asks him. As Lancelot tells his story, he makes frequent reference to medieval folk lore, including the idea that Harry was once called Percival in college and that Lancelot and Percival were supposedly the only two Knights of the Round Table who ever set eyes on the Holy Grail. This idea seems to connect in Lancelot's mind with the idea that he and Harry are the only two who will ever know what really happened that night at Belle Isle. In the end of the book, the reader is left with the idea that Harry might not exist anywhere outside of Lancelot's mind.
Margot Lamar is the daughter of a rich oil businessman. Margot came to New Orleans with her father as a young woman to become a part of the social society that flourishes there in the hopes of finding a good husband. While working with an organization that promotes the traditions of the South, Margot worked as a tour guide at Belle Isle. Lancelot met her there one night and they began a torrid love affair. Margot always showed interest in Belle Isle, suggesting changes and renovations Lancelot could make. Upon their marriage, Margot uses her father's money to renovate Belle Isle, putting her personal touch on the place.
After Belle Isle is finished, Margot grows bored. Margot begins dabbling in the idea of becoming a movie star. At some point Margot goes to Texas to take an acting seminar, and it is during this time that Lancelot believes Margot became pregnant with their daughter, Siobhan. This suggests to Lancelot that an actor named Merlin is Siobhan's father. Lancelot begins watching Margot as she interacts with her actor friends who have come to Belle Isle to film a new movie. Lancelot is convinced Margot is having an affair with one of these men and sets out to prove it. Once Lancelot has the proof, he plots to kill Margot and her friends.
Siobhan Lamar and Tex Reilly
Siobhan Lamar is Margot and Lancelot's young daughter. When Lancelot looks over an application to camp for Siobhan, he notices that her blood type is not compatible with his own. Lancelot deduces from this that Siobhan is not his daughter and that her father is most likely an actor with whom his wife, Margot, is associated. This sets off a plot in which Lancelot begins attempting to discover the truth and murder his wife.
Grandpa Tex Reilly is Margot's father. Siobhan and Tex are often banished to a room upstairs because Tex is embarrassing to Margot in front of her movie friends. Tex is also annoying to Siobhan, but she continues to spend time with him every night because she has been told that this is her place and she will not be allowed to interact with any of the guests. Siobhan and Tex are like ghosts in this story, a memory rather than tangible characters. Their only purpose seems to be motive and means, as Siobhan provides the reason Lancelot believes his wife is cheating and Tex provides the means to kill Margot and her friends by repeatedly arguing with Lancelot about a gas well over which part of Belle Isle is built.
Lucy Lamar is Lancelot's eldest daughter, a product of his first marriage. Lucy is starstruck by Troy Dana and his girlfriend, Raine Robinette. Lucy hangs on everything Raine says and desires to be just like her. When Lancelot has cameras hidden in the guest bedrooms, he discovers that Lucy is having a sexual relationship with Raine and Troy despite the fact that Lucy is only sixteen. Later Lucy tells Lancelot that she is moving to Hollywood to live with Troy and Raine. Lancelot never says anything to Lucy about this relationship and does not seem moved by the fact that his daughter is being taking advantage of by these older people. In the end, Lancelot sends Lucy back to school before the hurricane hits, removing her from the danger he plans for the movie people.
Elgin is the son of house servants who have worked for the Lamar family since Lancelot was a small boy. Elgin is college age, the same age as Lancelot's own son. In fact, Lancelot was instrumental in helping Elgin secure his place at MIT. Elgin is home from school for the summer and agrees to help Lancelot spy on his wife, believing Lancelot is doing this to prove that Lucy is using drugs. Elgin is unhappy with the idea of spying but likes the problem-solving issues that are included in the spying. Elgin comes up with the idea of using video tape to watch the activities taking place in the guest rooms at night, helping Lancelot get the information he needs to go forward with his plans of revenge.
Troy Dana and Raine Robinette
Troy Dana is an actor who plays the hero in the movie being made at Belle Isle. Troy appears to lack the intelligence necessary to be a success at any other career, but he is well liked in the movies and does well in his acting. Raine Robinette is also an actor and is Troy's girlfriend. Raine is a follower of a cult-like group that believes in auras and spirituality. Raine uses this interest to pull Lucy Lamar in and convince her to not only become her lover with Troy but to move to Hollywood and become her assistant. Raine is highly sexual and also comes on to Lancelot several times during the story, even sleeping with him beside her passed out boyfriend in the hour before her death.
Janos Jacoby is a highly-celebrated director who is directing the film being made at Belle Isle. Jacoby is interested in artistic films that are more about the visuals than about a plot or entertaining the movie goers. Lancelot finds him boring and obnoxious. However, it is Janos Jacoby that Lancelot ultimately learns is having an affair with his wife. Lancelot breaks into his wife's room the night of the hurricane and attacks Margot and Janos as they lie in bed. Lancelot and Janos begin to fight and Lancelot pulls a knife, slicing Janos' throat as the man pleas for a truce. It is in retrieving the knife that Lancelot burns his hands.
Merlin is an actor who gave an acting seminar the summer Margot became pregnant with Siobhan, leading Lancelot to believe he is Siobhan's father. Lancelot also believes for a while that Margot is continuing to have an affair with Merlin. However, when faced with the fact that Margot is not having an affair with Merlin, Lancelot softens on the older man. In fact, Lancelot lets Merlin go when Merlin wants to leave Belle Isle rather than stay and wait out the hurricane.
Lucy Cobb is Lancelot's first wife. Lancelot and Lucy met while Lucy was playing tennis one summer afternoon. Lancelot believed himself to be deeply in love with Lucy, grieving her deeply upon her death a few years later. However, Lancelot finds himself questioning what love means after meeting, falling in love with, and killing his second wife, Margot.
This section contains 1,665 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)