Martha is humble and unspoilt, despite living a life of utter luxury at Lottery Lodge with her (mostly absent) father and step-mother, Penelope.
She has a circular bedroom with ever-changing scenery upon the curved wall and, in the centre, her bed rotates under a silver canopy above which the ceiling is lit like the Milky Way. In Martha’s library, a conveyor-belt shelving system automatically files returned books into alphabetically correct spaces and her bathroom is like an undersea kingdom. The most extraordinary toys fill her glass-walled playroom, invented by her father’s brilliant employee, the ancient Willoughby Withers, and, from there she looks out onto the playground of dreams. But Martha is lonely.
Mitch lives at the boys’ orphanage, a dilapidated mansion which is owned and run by the kind Ariadne Scattypants who keeps no record of names or numbers. Ariadne, however, has a heart of gold. She feeds and clothes the orphans and never ever turns any boy away.
Neither child has any idea about the life the other is leading.
Between Lottery Lodge and the orphanage is a dense wood and it is here that a band of wild boys live, boys who, as a rite of passage, have had to leave the orphanage due to a lack of beds as new, younger boys continue to arrive. Mitch finds himself at their mercy, but somehow manages to scrabble his way out of the woods, emerging at Martha’s wonderful home.
However, here, too, things are taking a sinister turn. With the aid of Withers’ newest invention, Penelope has hatched a devious, failsafe plan to eliminate Martha. She has been concealing a deep secret which must not be revealed at any cost.
Will Martha and Mitch uncover the truth or will the devious Penelope succeed in getting her evil way?