Exiled for being a witch but unable to perform witchcraft; will her mother's grimoire and her cousin Forester be enough to protect Pelly?
It is tough being a second son when your mother is the Mother of a Coven and needs a Daughter to succeed her. As Forester Hardwicke turns fourteen and begins his training in witchcraft he hopes his life will become easier. He will no longer be at the mercy of his older brother Magnus' spells and once he is qualified he plans to escape the Coven and track down his father, the Magician-Explorer Gwydion Hardwicke.
Instead, Forester's life becomes more difficult and much more dangerous when a mysterious foreign girl arrives, claiming to be his cousin. Greeted with delight by his mother, hostility by his brother and Grandmother; it soon becomes clear that looking after Pelly will be added to Forester's responsibilities.
But who is Pelly Hardwicke? Why is she unable to cast the simplest spell? Can Magnus really be trying to harm her? What is he plotting with the Housekeeper's daughter? Can Forester's Grandmother really be practising the Dark Craft? Why is his mother suddenly so ill? With threats on all sides Forester and Pelly must depend on themselves, their craft, their friends and the mysterious cabinet of curiosities to avert disaster.