The town of Rumpole in The Glass Table was named after Horace Rumpole from the British television series, Rumpole of the Bailey (1975-1992), created and written by the late British writer and barrister, John Mortimer QC. The series starred the late Leo McKern as Horace Rumpole, an aging London barrister who was not particular as to which clients he would defend, and would never plead guilty. It is brilliant writing, and remembered for Horace's moniker for his wife, "She who must be obeyed."
Hanging Rock at Lake Como was named after Picnic at Hanging Rock, a novel by Australian author Joan Lindsay, based on the mysterious disappearance of three girls and their teacher from Appleyard College (an upper class private boarding school). The group had travelled to Hanging Rock for a picnic on Valentine's Day in 1900. One girl who was later found and rescued had no memory of what had happened to the others. A fourth girl had climbed the rock with the group, but returned in hysterics for reasons she could not explain other than being ravenously hungry.
The cover of The Glass Table, designed by Elizabeth Botté, features the six river spirits seated around the glass table. Lucy and Ming are obvious. Jack is at the head of the table to the right, and Jordan to the left. Isaac and Toby Witherspoon have their backs to us.
Isaac is eleven and has a twin brother, Brandon. Toby is seven, and there is a fourth Witherspoon boy, Riley, who is three. Mr Witherspoon is an architect and partner at the architectural and development firm of Dundee, Castle, and Witherspoon. It is the firm's development on the banks of the river Kai that threatens the existence of the river spirits and wood spirits, and pits the Witherspoon boys against their father in a race against time.
While the wood spirits and river spirits have been at loggerheads since Toby, with Isaac's assistance, escaped the spell by passing through an unguarded river mouth, they unite in an all-out effort to stop the development.
When Toby made his escape, Faith Prattle (wood spirit), turned into a mass of bubbles that grew larger and larger, and then floated away down the river Kai. Faith, Kiera Watson, and Georgia Downs, are all friends from the same school—the one Ming attends, except they are there because their parents are wealthy.
Zeb Fabergast, age thirteen, is the self-declared leader of the wood spirits. He is a renowned bully with a reputation for cruelty to ducklings. He instils fear in children and teachers alike, and his fellow wood spirits.
Arjun Singh is a thirteen-year-old Hindu boy who becomes leader of the wood spirits when Zeb mysteriously disappears after an attempt to free himself from the spell contrary to the rules. He has been taken by real spirits into the real spirit world where he is no longer the bully, but the bullied.
The final wood spirit, Jasper Gifford, is seven, and is mothered by Kiera and Georgia who catch all his food eg prawns and fish.