Aggie's life in the village with her aunt is as normal as can be. She has never questioned the rule of the Ministration, or the power of the divine beings - the birds. Then she is sent for by the Master of Murkmere, the great house nearby, who wishes her to be companion to his ward, Leah. Needing the money, Aggie reluctantly leaves her aunt and enters a new life.
But all is not well up at the house. The Master is crippled and unhappy, trapped in a wheelchair, hemmed in with bars, for others' safety, as well as his own. Life is ruled by the steward, Silas, who fascinates and repels Aggie in equal measure. And Leah - the strangest of them all - challenges everything Aggie has ever been taught.
Patricia Elliott was born in London, but grew up in Europe and the Far East. A voracious reader since childhood 'where she had the resources of ten different school libraries', she also made up ghost stories to scare her friends! As an adult, she worked in publishing in London and in a children's bookshop in New York. She now teaches a course in children's literature at an adult education college, and is writing further novels. She lives in Barnes with her husband and two sons. Her first book, The Ice Boy, won the Fidler Award for a first novel, was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and the West Sussex award. Her second novel, Murkmere, was longlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Award.