Let me first say that it would be a mistake to sit down with this book and try to read it in order. If you're anything like me, you're going to want to make your own list and then see how many of your choices made Pollard-Gott's list. And since her definition of fictional characters runs the gamut from religious to classic literature to comic books, you'll likely find most of your favorites. I was very pleased to find Valjean, Superman, and Arjuna, for example. Her choices are entirely defensible -- and she does a great job in doing so -- but everyone will have their own list of "should have been includeds, but weren't." For me, this included Harry Potter (which, granted, might be too recent to be considered influential), and The Count of Monte Cristo. In fact, I think none of Dumas's classic characters made the list. Pollard-Gott defends each of her choices with a brisk, but comprehensive description of who the characters are, and the role that they've played in culture. It is both a scholarly work, and a great deal of fun. I strongly recommend it.