Emlyn lives in the Scottish borders and Maxine has recently moved to the same area. Together they discover a collection of wooden figurines that enfold the spirits of horsemen from the time of King Arthur and of the king himself. The aggressive local landowners on whose territory these mysterious objects were found seem desperate to have them returned, for reasons initially unexplained. The rest of the book is devoted to the struggle for possession of the objects and control of the spirits.
The situation is complicated by the fact that these characters – the contemporary ones and the Arthurian ones – have the ability to time-shift. Three subplots now unfold in parallel. The first concerns Emlyn’s father and the father’s mental illness and incarceration. The second concerns the landowners and their struggle to come to terms with the significance of the Arthurian horsemen. The third subplot concerns Maxine’s family and her family relationship. If the structure of this book sounds complex, then it is. It is also lengthy and even a dedicated young reader might find it a struggle to keep abreast of all the threads. It would have benefited from some judicious cuts.
However the effort required to get through the book is repaid in the end. The two protagonists, Emlyn and Maxine, are strong characters and very well developed, and empathy with both of them motivates the reader to press on. We are left with a good book, with a very good book trying to get out.