Ned's twin brother was killed in a tragic accident when they were young boys. In an attempt to save them both, their Mother the village Witch uses magic to stitch his soul to Ned. The magic which is of course never supposed to be used for personal gain has unintended consequences and leaves Ned a weak and stuttering boy, teased and barely tolerated by the rest of his village. When his mother is unexpectedly called away by the queen, Ned is left to guard the tempermental magic. In her absence, the bandit king, who is obsessed and pulled by the magic, tries to steal it away setting off a chain of events and turning Ned into an unlikely hero. This is a page-turning fantasy adventure story with a rich cast of characters, told from multiple perspectives. I simply couldn't put it down!
— Shannon, Books Inc. Children's Department Buyer
When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging, bewitched river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. Sure enough, Ned grows up weak and slow, and stays as much as possible within the safe boundaries of his family's cottage and yard. But when a Bandit King comes to steal the magic that Ned's mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it's Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.In the meantime, in another kingdom across the forest that borders Ned's village, lives the resourceful and pragmatic daughter of the Bandit King, who is haunted by her mother's last words to her: "The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his." When Aine's and Ned's paths inevitably cross, they must learn to trust each other and make their way through the woods together to return the magic to its resting place and stop a war that is about to boil over.