Percy is good looking, with red hair and pale skin from the many hours he spends inside reading. He is gangly and awkward, and wears spectacles. Inexplicably, he is attractive to debutantes.
Quesnel Lefoux calls him "Pompous Percy." Percy hates that he is inexplicably attractive to debutants, so he hides indoors and his only interest is in books. He is a good strategist and technician, good at coming up with redundancies and backup plans.
As soon as Percy came of age, he moved out of his mother's hive and accepted a post as an Oxford don. His time at Oxford didn't last; he was dismissed for radical theories on the transcendental sprout-shaped nature of the aetherosphere. Afterwards, he moved into a home behind the British Museum, off Russell Square.
In the booksEdit
In Timeless, Percy travels with his family to Egypt, along with the Maccons. His sister Primrose is mistaken for Prudence and kidnapped by the Alexandria Hive. She is later rescued by the adults of both families, and escapes unharmed, though their mother is fatally wounded in the attempt and is metamorphosed into a vampire queen while there.
At the beginning of Imprudence, Rue, Primrose and Virgil are worried because Percy had taken off in a huff. They discover him in the library aboard the Spotted Custard in a near-rage over a paper Quesnel had done, but refusing to talk about it. Quesnel had published a story in the Royal Society with Mrs. Featherstonehaugh about the weremonkeys before Percy, which is why Percy was so upset. In retaliation he published his own paper on the werecats. When this fact is discovered while the crew is in Egypt, it leads Rue to believe the attacks on the ship have been an effort to capture Tasherit. Percy becomes very contrite and does his best to make up for his bad behavior.
Percy helped safely land the sinking Spotted Custard. He's also been the only crew member to become somewhat friendly with Rodrigo Tarabotti. He undertakes the task of teaching Rodrigo ethics in an effort to turn him towards their favor. Percy and Prim act as ambassadors to the pishtacos when they landed in South America.
Percy is one of the main narrators for Reticence. The story opens where he, Prudence, and Primrose are interviewing candidates for the position of surgeon upon the Spotted Custard. In walks Arsenic Ruthven and he is immediately flustered. She quickly proves her prowess and they are off to Prudence's wedding to Quesnel. There, Percy gets a request from his Aunt Softy (Sophronia) to look for a missing intelligencer: the Wallflower in Japan. A quick stop in Egypt for the newlyweds to see her parents, and they are given the official mission to go to Japan in search of fox shape shifters. Percy has, of course, already plotted their route. The air travel affords Percy the chance to grow closer to Arsenic. In Japan, they pretend they are married so that Percy can escort Arsenic off ship to see a patient: one of the fox shape shifters they were on the hunt for. They escort the patient back to the Spotted Custard where, upon the tense situation getting worse, Percy was unceremoniously shoved from the ship. He was rescued by Arsenic who, fortuitously, had a parachute. The two land with nothing worse than a sprained ankle and make their way through the hostile Japan countryside where they are rescued by a mobile temple and meet Lady Manami and the Wallflower. Together, they devise a plan to both be rescued by their crew-mates and save both the fox shape shifter and her dragon lover.
- Percy once hypothesized that bacon could be blamed for the explosion of Mount Vesuvius.
- Percy speaks six languages.
- He does not like sweets or spicy food, and sometimes forgets to eat.
- Percy is an excellent dancer and swimmer.
- He has a valet named Virgil.
- Drinks cognac.
- Percy has developed an Information Cloud: An unique candelabra in Percy’s library aboard the Spotted Custard. It is made up of hundreds of tiny books on a pulley system that can twirl and raise and lower at the whim of a person sitting at the desk below.
- Percy is a crack shot and was taught by a vampire, his mother's praetoriani, Gahiji.
- "Now, Puggle, he's the best man for the job of navigator in all of London. Who's not already committed to queen, country, or contact. Do be reasonable. He's smart and capable and used to being bossed around by a woman." (Prudence, Chapter Two)
- "Percival Tunstell was nothing if not a great fan of learning. If that education involved sharp pointy sticks, he applied himself just as diligently as to other forms of research and with far more uncomfortable results to those around him. In the end, Queen Ivy gave up mothering her son, and Percy stopped poking her vampires with letter openers." (Prudence, Chapter Three)
- "Percy, it must be acknowledged, was quite good-looking for a bluestocking ginger fellow, but terribly peaky about it." (Prudence, Chapter Three)
- "Wouldn't you enjoy seeing some of the exotic lands you've studied?' 'Not particularly. All evidence seems to suggest that they are dirty, hot, messy places riddled with disease and chilli peppers. I loathe chilli peppers." (Prudence, Chapter Three)
- "He seemed perfectly able to participate in the conversation, even when he was to all appearances entirely absorbed by the written word." (Prudence, Chapter Four)
- "To the surprise of everyone, including himself, Percy agreed to attend the garden party that evening. Rue forbade him to bring any books." (Prudence, Chapter Eight)
- "Percy was helping himself to a small plate of buttered scones and prunes soaked in rum when he was swarmed by a gaggle of giggling young ladies. Presumably these represented the eligible among the officers' and ambassadors' daughters. Percy, as usual, had drawn them to him like jam to toast." (Prudence, Chapter Eight)
- “The Rakshasa,' said Percy pedantically, 'are a different breed altogether from our vampires. Much in the same way that poodles and dachshunds are different breeds of dog. Rakshasas are reviled in India. Their position as tax collectors is an attempt by the crown to integrate them in a more progressive and mundane manner. Rue said, 'Oh, how logical. Because we all know ordaining someone as a tax collector is the surest way to get them accepted by society.” (Prudence, Chapter Nine)
- "Are you talking to a lioness? Is that wise? Aren't they hazardous to the health?" (Prudence, Chapter Eleven)
- "Rue, Percy's not accustomed to adventure. Or forests. Or the outside world, really." (Prudence, Chapter Eleven)
- "Percy was like a small child, always eager to share knowledge recently acquired, as if it were some artistic creation of his own devising." (Prudence, Chapter Twelve)
- "Rue had thought until that moment that Percy's charm was largely unintentional-now she was beginning to wonder." (Prudence, Chapter Fourteen)
- “My brother has been known to be capable in emergency situations.” (Imprudence, Chapter Four)
- “More a solidarity in misery. I’m certain I shall return to loathing him shortly.” (Imprudence, Chapter Six)
- “Percy, being a frightful booby, was never one to take his cherished book learning and actually apply it to reality. Presumably, he would find such a logical step quite silly.” (Imprudence, Chapter Twelve)
- “But Mr. Tunstell would remain unaware of a sand tick up his nose.” (Imprudence, Chapter Fifteen)
- “Percy never had understood his own value in society or as a friend. He saw other people as either worthy academic opponents, fellow awkward intellectuals, or irrelevant. He applied the same judgement to himself.” (Imprudence, Chapter Sixteen)
- “Percy may be a pill of particularly fine vintage, but he was awfully good at navigation.” (Imprudence, Chapter Nineteen)
- “He likes this life. Won’t ever admit it, but he does. Secretly always had a flair for drama and adventure, despite his hermit tendencies.” (Imprudence, Chapter Nineteen)
- "Well, sir, no offense, but you're rather shaky with all things moral and ethical yourself.' Percy thought he ought to be even more affronted, but he found this to be more like a compliment than not. It implied that he never allowed his scientific analysis of a situation to be troubled by how the rest of the world thought it ought to be.” (Competence)
- "Percy did not wish to be condescending (well, to be fair he did wish it, he was excellent at condescension) but he could hardly take the time to explain to his extremely aggravating captain how aeronautics and wind dynamics worked." (Competence, Chapter Two)
- "He'd nothing intelligent to add to these details, so he said nothing. A policy he wished the world in general would obey." (Competence, Chapter Two)
- "Percy would never want to be thought of as sentimental-heaven forfend. His mother was mostly sentimental. From what he'd heard, his father had been wholly sentimental. Percy worked hard to be stoic as a countermeasure. Someone had to." (Competence, Chapter Two)
- "Percy, you see, knew himself to be a supremely bad judge of character. He didn't like anyone. Ever." (Competence, Chapter Two)
- "Percy considered the library sacred space, and his quarters were attached, so it ought to be treated as a private sanctuary, but no one else gave it reverential treatment, barging in at all hours." (Competence, Chapter Four)
- "I mean really, why should I not teach others? I'm an educated man, and information does no one any benefit if it is not shared." (Competence, Chapter Four)
- “As long as I live, thought Percy, I shall never understand the nuances of dinnertime conversation.” (Competence, Chapter Five)
- "Sometimes you are so perceptive it's uncanny, and the rest of the time you're a ninnyhammer." (Competence, Chapter Six)
- "Percy might think guns crass, and Primrose might consider them quite rude, but if their mother didn't want them shooting anything, by golly they would learn to shoot everything." (Competence, Chapter Seven)
- "You do realise that being intentionally obtuse doesn't make you smarter than the rest of us, it simply means you're more of an ars-" (Competence, Chapter Eight)
- "He was horrible at loving. Better to write papers on aether pockets and have done with it." (Competence, Chapter Eight)