The real world and the fairy world intersect in Tanya, a teenager who can see fairies. These fairies are often darkly malevolent creatures, but she keeps her strange ability secret, unaware that anyone else shares it. When, however, she goes to stay in her grandmother’s decrepit manor house near sinister Hangman’s Wood, the legacy of old tragedies intrude into her life and she finds her very strange family history unravelling and absorbing her in the process.
Two mysterious girls are encountered by Tanya: the very material Red and the unearthly Morwenna, both of them bound up with mysteries involving changelings and events in the grim woodland 50 years earlier; events that had such an impact on Florence, Tanya’s grandmother, and on old Amos, the father of Warwick, the caretaker, that Florence will not speak about them and Amos cannot. The nerdy Fabian, Warwick’s son, becomes Tanya’s ally in her attempts to understand a complex and sinister tangle, often made more dangerous by the intervention of the fairies.
Harrison keeps her plot moving along nicely; the antics and utterances of many varieties of fairy provide some humour, leavening the darker aspects of the plot and ensuring it does not spill over into melodrama. An ambitiously conceived and executed first novel, The 13 Treasures, leaves readers hoping for more from a promising new author.