At times Phillip’s confidant, at times his annoyance, Peter stands for, in one word: ‘madness’. He possesses a talent and a belief that no other of his family share – that of the supernatural layer in the atmosphere. Born five years after Phillip and thus (approximately) thirteen years after Stuart, Peter has the best understanding of the changing society, as he has grown up over the crux of the new Millennium.
Peter would stand to lose the least if the family name were tarnished, but his differences lie beyond solely opinions and class. The little he cares about the family name, compared to the other brothers, is not conscious, but hinges upon the subtle tugs of romance that his young heart falls to.
Whilst the family believe war has driven Phillip mad, it is actually Mrs. Octavia Costello who bears the most symptoms of madness. But this is not ‘madness’, only because the family view it so. Peter resembles his mother the most in this way – because he is the only one to have developed the dominant psychic gene that she also possesses, but chooses to ignore. As a cousin of Dr. Costello (who must bear some form of the recessive in the gene-pool), it is no surprise that one of their children develops the strain of this abnormality. Phillip must have a recessive strain, too, as he manages to pass the skill down to twins, Liam and Hector, and their sister, Zara.
The supernatural exists in reality, even if it is simply worshipped as a servant-status cult.
Whilst difference is rife in the novel, madness is not so much, though it is hinted at. This extra element gives Peter a further reason to feel outcast, even if he is never directly described as ‘mad’.
In this way, Peter’s ‘madness’ gives him access and ‘relatability’ to the servants that not even Phillip is able to share. The revolution may have started with a maid named Tia, but it was Peter’s choices that propelled her to herald the change.