An adventurous young Andalusian shepherd determined to fulfill his Personal Legend, which is to find a treasure at the foot of the Egyptian pyramids. He is the book's protagonist.

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The Alchemist

A 200-year-old, extremely powerful alchemist residing in the Al-Fayoum Oasis. He dresses in black, rides a white horse, and carries a scimitar, the Philosopher’s Stone, and the Elixir of Life. He often speaks cryptically, but he understands the Soul of the World and the importance of Personal Legends.

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Crystal Merchant

A struggling merchant who owns a crystal shop on top of a desolate hill. His shop was once popular but lost much of its business as Tangier lost its status as Egypt’s premiere port town. He is a good-hearted, devout Muslim, but has a crippling fear of change.

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A well-educated science student determined to learn the secrets of alchemy by learning from a true alchemist. He is a skeptic and loves reading his books.

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The King of Salem. He appears to possess magical powers and helps those pursuing their Personal Legends.

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A beautiful and chaste young "desert woman" who lives at the Al-Fayoum Oasis. She understands that she must allow Santiago to travel in pursuit of his dream.

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An old women living in Tarifa who interprets dreams. She reads palms and uses black-magic iconography, but she also keeps images of Christ.

Camel Driver

A friendly former orchard owner and devout Muslim who feels content with his life despite losing his orchard in a flood. He has made the pilgrimage to Mecca and lives his life in service of omens from God.

The Tribal Chieftain of Al-Fayoum

A strict and ruthless tribal chieftain who lives in luxury. He enforces Al-Fayoum's status as a neutral ground and believes in dreams and omens.

Merchant’s daughter

The beautiful and intelligent raven-haired daughter of the merchant who buys wool from Santiago.

The Monk

A welcoming Coptic monk living in a monastery near the pyramids of Egypt.


A merchant who buys wool from Santiago on a yearly basis. He worries about being cheated so he demands that any wool he buys be sheared from the sheep in his presence.

Santiago's father

A kindly, unadventurous family man who hoped Santiago would become a priest but gives him his blessing to become a shepherd.

Young Man

A scam artist living in Tangier who speaks Arabic and Spanish.

Candy Seller

A generous vendor in the Tangier marketplace who enjoys his occupation.


A well-meaning bartender who lives in Tangier and speaks only Arabic.

Caravan Leader

The bold leader of a caravan traveling across the Sahara Desert from Tangier to Egypt.