His mother's accidental death has devastated Brady and his father, Stan; neither of them is able to come to terms with it, or even talk about it. On his neglected 12th birthday, Brady goes down to the beach to be alone in the dunes and makes an incredible discovery: a large egg, pulsating with beautiful colors. To Brady's amazement, it begins to hatch into a creature that is ""either hideously beautiful or beautifully hideous."" Brady names the creature Excalibur and resolves to feed him and protect him. As he ""talks"" with the creature, he begins to think that anything is possible, and further resolves to find his dead mother. Meanwhile at home, the boy finds out that Stan is planning to marry Troy, his therapist, who would like Brady to be sent off to a military school. It's the last straw for Brady. He sets off to bring food to Excalibur, and on his way back rescues a young boy stranded on a spit, near a treacherous quicksand patch. Gareth lives in a rundown cabin with his reclusive mother, Gwen, who reminds Brady of his mother. In Gwen and Gareth's home he finds the love and warmth he has been missing, as well as the courage to face his grief. This is a powerful and gripping tale of a boy's loss, and his ultimate victory over it; the novel will move readers to tears before handing them a gratifying conclusion.