Auberon Fox is the warm heart of the English village of Cloudcroft and father of a happy family including his daughter, Rosie. But on the hill lives the mysterious, aloof Lawrence Wilder, Gatekeeper to the inner realms of the Spiral. Tortured by personal demons, Lawrence is beset by trouble on all sides. His wife has left him; his sons Jon and Sam are angry and damaged, and when he refuses to open the Great Gates, preventing access to the Otherworld, the Aetherial community is outraged. What will become of them, deprived of the home realm from which their essential life-force flows?
Rosie, an Aetherial among mortals, knows the Wilders are trouble, but she and her gentle brother Lucas can't seem to keep away. She falls in love with the alluring Jon Wilder; she is tormented by his notorious brother Sam, who is always in trouble. Rosie becomes caught in a classic conflict between trying to live a normal, hard-working human life, or surrendering to her wild, Aetherial instincts. Ultimately she makes a disastrous choice that leads to tragedy.
Journeying deep into the Spiral as she tries to pick up the pieces, Rosie can't escape her destiny as she learns about life, love and her role in the terrifying conflict to come.