The book begins with a chase through the streets of Calcutta in May 1916. Lieutenant Peake pauses for breath outside the ruins of the Jheeter's Gate station knowing that he only has a few hours to live. Inside his overcoat he is sheltering two newborn babies - twins, a boy and a girl. Peake entrusts them to Aryami Bose. Sixteen years later we meet the boy, Ben, and his friends. They have formed a secret club, The Chowbar Society, which meets each week at midnight in the old ruin they have christened The Midnight Palace. Then Aryami Bose turns up with Sheere, Ben's sister, and tells them the story of the parents they never knew. Their father was an engineer and writer who died in tragic circumstances at the inauguration of Jheeter's Gate station. But as the novel unfolds, there is more to their history than meets the eye and they are lured by a shadowy figure from the past into a final showdown in the ruins.