"It lay beside her on the pillow, shinier than silver, glowing softly, with twinkling blue stones set all around....It did not occur to her to wonder from whom it had come; she was merely aware that it was hers by right."
Ellen awakens on her tenth birthday to discover a silver crown on her pillow. She delightedly wears her strange new crown to the park that morning, but when she returns she is horrified to find that her house has burned down and her family has disappeared. Dazed, Ellen knows she must somehow reach Aunt Sarah's house, but the only way to get there is to travel over the unforgiving mountains on foot.
Her journey turns treacherous when she and her travel companion, Otto, stumble across an ominous castle where evil rules and everyone who enters falls prey to the darkness within. Everyone, that is, except Ellen. She alone must conquer this mysterious force -- but how?
In this gripping and memorable fantasy, Robert C. O'Brien, acclaimed author of the Newbery Medal-winning Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, creates a world where good and evil are locked in battle and the balance between the two can only be restored by one young girl's determination to set things right.