On his sixteenth birthday, Thorn Jack steals a curious crystal from the Treasury of a neighbouring settlement in his coming of age rite-of-passage. Returning home, he finds that his younger sister has been kidnapped. He sets out to find her with Racky Jagger, an enigmatic but wordly-wise individual. Their way leads through Judy Wood, a place of mystery and ill-repute. When fifteen-years-old Jewel Ranson's father, a travelling draper, is murdered at a fair, she sets out to avenge him. Accompanied by Rainy Gill, a juggler, she journeys to Harrypark where she becomes involved in a bloodthirsty wager. As she travels, Jewel discovers that she has been gifted with unusual powers. After many colourful adventures and encounters, their separate quests lead Thorn and Jewel to a momentous meeting - and the discovery of a common enemy...