The year is 1836. Britain is notionally a monarchy, but many aspects of society are dictated by an organisation of powerful sorceresses.
In the tiny town of Blackwater in Devon, Milo Whitlaw lives with his father and his adopted brother Tobin. They are struggling to come to terms with the suicide of Milo’s older sister Shana, while at the sorceress academy. Tobin is badly injured in a riding accident. Defying his father, Milo seeks the aid of a sorceress who saves his brother’s life but the cost is a debt to the sorceresses. The incident convinces their father to let them spend a year with the Earl of Suffolk and his daughter Felicity in London.
After arriving in London Milo and Tobin explore the city but get lost and find themselves in a back street where they are mugged and Milo is shot. To save his brother’s life, Tobin seeks help from the only other person around at the time, who turns out to be the owner of a burlesque theatre, Rosney Black.
Shortly after this Milo and Tobin try to attend a garden party held by the King, but when they arrive it appears only Milo is invited. Tobin who, following a number of incidents, is struggling to come to terms with his origins, takes this to heart and following a bitter argument with Milo runs away. He finds himself back at the burlesque theatre and explains his troubles to Rosney. During the conversation Tobin confesses he wants to be an engineer and Rosney convinces him to return home and try for university.
As the year progresses Tobin devotes his time to studying for the university exams, while Milo builds a relationship with Felicity. In the spring the sorceress who saved Tobin’s life comes and asks Milo to pay his debt by planting a device in the home of Matthias Holt who has been stirring up feelings against the sorceresses. Milo does so, believing it to be a spying device.
Next day, Milo and Tobin take a trip into the centre of London, but find the streets full of people, who quickly turn violent. They take shelter at the theatre and help defend its inhabitants from the riots outside. The following day they are found by soldiers loyal to the Earl who have been searching for Milo. While reading the paper Milo finds out the cause of the riots – an explosion has destroyed the house of the man he visited for the sorceresses, killing many people.
Milo goes to spend a week with Felicity and her grandmother, leaving Tobin in London. He meets Ramae, a sorceress and Tobin presses her for information about his sister’s death. He finds out his sister was murdered and seeks out Holt to help with revenge. Before he can do so, he is arrested.
Milo returns to London to find Tobin is charged with murdering a sorceress. He begs the Earl to help save his brother, and the Earl has Tobin committed to an asylum to spare him from the gallows. Rosney convinces Milo to break Tobin out of the asylum, but they are too late: the asylum has broken Tobin’s mind. Milo asks Rosney to get Tobin home, and goes to seek the Earl. He is intercepted by a sorceress who takes him to a cave where the Earl reveals he is a descendant of the first sorceress and his blood is needed to restart the source of magic. Milo escapes with the help of Ramae, and the Earl and his daughter are killed in the process
Current mood: accomplished.