Welcome to Zombay, a town full of mystery, magic and make-believe. Once upon a time, Rownie lived there with his mother and his older brother. But his mother drowned in the town's vast River; and then his brother vanished; so now Rownie runs through Zombay's riddlesome streets orphaned and all alone . . . alone except for Graba, the coddle-headed, chicken-legged witch who offers him shelter along with the other stray children she has collected - her Grubs.
Rownie suspects that his brother's love of acting - which is severely outlawed in Zombay - led to his disappearance; so when Rownie encounters a theatrical troupe of goblins daring to perform a play for the townspeople (with masks and stage-tricks and everything!) he wonders whether they might hold the key to discovering what happened to his brother . . . and perhaps even help him find him again.
Thus opens a dazzling heroic adventure - of immense love, loss and all-conquering courage - in which one boy's quest for the truth, leads him to learn his greatest power may lie in his mighty and boundless imagination . . .