Trevellick, a student sorcerer from the sixth century, has a report to write for his MAT (The Magicians and Associated Trades degree): housing, transportation and food conditions in the twentieth century. The efforts of three experienced magicians are needed to transport him into the present day via the enchanted garden express. When his advisor-owl Horace catches a chill, Marcus and Kate, fellow-boarders at Mrs. Button's, offer to help out. The young sister and brother team find it's difficult to guide a stranger about when he's fourteen hundred years from home; he tries to escape the escalator by running up the down side and in a fit of loneliness takes a walk with the giant statue of Queen Boadica while her two stone daughters guard the startled policemen. Despite his lack of self-confidence -- ""Oh, dear, I do hope I've got it right"" he mutters over a spell -- he has a kind heart; he turns the garden back to 1910 for snippy old Mr. Saips, and conjures up an entire corporation to buy Mrs. Button's rickety house. Do-good magic, fast and fun, but soon forgotten.