A feature of the book is that real people from history appear. Many will be very familiar. These are a few of them.
Jean Jaurès in 1904
Jean Jaurès is by far the most important character in the book (not its protagonist; that is Tommy Green, of Greenford, Middlesex ). In the UK, few will have heard of him. Yet, go to Paris and it seems like every other street is named after him. Why is this so? This is the heart of the book.
Queen Victoria (1837 - 1901) is too well known to need any kind of introduction from me. Obviously, she was dead well before the book is set, but she appears in retrospect through the words of John Jakes, Tommy Green's close friend.
Charlie Chaplin is also very well known from his time in the early film industry. What fewer people know is that he had a very deprived childhood. He and his half-brother Syd spent part of it at 'The Cuckoo School', in Hanwell, Middlesex.
Josef Stalin was a key figure in the Soviet Union, especially during his leadership years of 1923- 1953. Before that he was essentially the Bolshevik Party's 'fixer'. Before it even came to power in the revolution of 1917, the Party held its 1907 conference in London. Stalin attended, along with Lenin and Trotsky.