Meet fourteen year old Emma Holden. Shipped off to a lone Scottish boarding school and forced into leaving her rebellious friends in London far behind, she is far from looking forward to her first term at Fare Isle.
But her antipathy is soon forgotten with the arrival of peculiar new headmistress Mrs Ursula Pearl - 'a woman who looks like she's dressed for a tea party'. Her strict new policies, including the banning of all electronic equipment and insisting pupils sit and 'reflect' on all their bad deeds soon turns the idyllic Fare Isle with its extensive woods, rancid food and eccentric staff into a virtual prison. And, when pupils and teachers alike suddenly disappear with little explanation, Emma quickly realises that she has stumbled into a world in which blackmail, deceit, and corruption lie hidden down every corridor.