The Darkness is rising again, and this time it has a distinctly fin-de-siecle cast as summoned by old Mrs. Fothersby-Bane who keeps a chess-playing baboon as a slave and controls legions of crows and werewolves from her dust-encrusted mansion. Two children, David and Lucy, find themselves leading the opposition after they rescue the Pegasus-like Telesm from Mrs. Fothersby-Bane's gruesome gardens and come into possession of the powerful Hat-stone. One can't help admiring the spirit in which the youngsters accept their role while trying to protect sweet Aunt Emily from the evidence of evil stalking their cottage. Later, they are transported to a meeting with one Casdar, a Keeper of the Old Magic, who explains that their enemy is really an incarnation of the evil Marada, and this wittily appointed fantasy is enveloped in dreary, all too derivative mists. Nevertheless, the 17-year-old author is off to a promisingly eccentric beginning--she gets a firm grip on her audience and hangs on throughout the story's downhill slide.