The novel Stone Cold by Robert Swindells introduces a large number of characters. The main character is Link, a teenager who leaves his home because of his mother’s abusive boyfriend. As he cannot continue to live in his hometown, Link goes to London, where he ends up homeless.
Link’s family situation is the main reason why his life changes dramatically. Link’s father has left the family and ran away with another woman, while Link’s mother has no authority in her relationship with her new boyfriend, Vince. In the end, Vince’s abusive behavior towards Link and Carole – Link’s sister – is the main reason which pushes Link to leave home.
The other main character is Shelter, a former army sergeant who has been discharged on medical grounds after twenty-nine years of service. Shelter is frustrated with this decision and develops an obsession with making the world a better place by getting rid of homeless people.
Some of the people that Link meets during his stay in London are also significant. He meets Ginger, a homeless boy who becomes his best friend and companion until he is killed by Shelter. The novel then introduces Gail, a homeless girl who becomes Link’s friend after Ginger’s death. The end of the novel reveals that Gail is actually an undercover journalist named Louise Bain, who wanted to research homelessness and life on the streets.
Other important characters are Toya and Doggy Bag – two of Ginger’s acquaintances who become Shelter’s victims, and Captain Hook – a man who rents out his boats for homeless people.
Link’s relationship with several of the characters develops throughout the novel, with most of the relationships ending abruptly for various reasons.