Graham “Gray” Marshall is a gifted magician, studying magic at Oxford’s Merlin College, when some of his classmates insist he come along on a midnight adventure. In no time, things go bad. Gray is blamed for the misadventure and sent away from Oxford to the Breton estate of his tutor, the small-minded, petty and envious Professor Appius Callender. Sophie Callender is the ignored middle daughter of the professor. Her father has told her, repeatedly, that she has no magical ability, but she thirsts for knowledge and reads magical texts in secret.