Marnie Speck arrives at her new foster home in Downfell, Northern England with her crusty social worker, Miss Baxter. Marnie guards a rose-covered case with hidden secrets and the only link to her past and future. A telescope, old glass and a strange librarian unleash the potential of a new and extraordinary life far away at the Fanglewick School of Magic in the Old World. But first Marnie must find a way to cross the demonic halo like aspiring young wizards, witches and elves have for centuries.
In a strange but beautiful landscape inhabited by haughty wizards, ratbag witches and ambitious elves, Marnie fights for a place in Fanglewick, where magic begins and ends. The school sits on the repository of magic and flows through Shining Lake and beyond to the multiverse. Over time, Fanglewick has lured heroes, kings, queens and dark beasts. Wizards, goblins and their dragon-riding armies have waged terrible wars to possess and control its treasure. For now there is peace, yet there are rumblings in the Imporium where scheming wizards and elves work in the magical government and a new presence is lurking in the forests and grounds of Fanglewick.