The story began in Merrymead, a fictional town in Cornwall, where a young boy, Samuel Lucas, vanished after a stormy night chasing a cat in his uncle's garden and discovered a staircase in the trunk of an old mulberry tree. The only clue to his disappearance was his book "e;Tales from Talendia"e; that he had received from his uncle the same day. Thirty years later, a young and troubled girl called Frida, who lives in London with her single mother meets a mysterious bookseller who sells an old book with the same title to her. Frida quickly notices that the book is dedicated to Samuel Lucas. The same night, Frida and her mother have strange visitors who can turn into birds and are seeking Frida out. She manages to escape from them through a small door under her bed that leads her to Talendia, a kingdom inhabited by wizards, witches, centaurs, dwarves and other fantastic creatures. Frida quickly makes friends, but realises that Talendia must face a dangerous enemy. She comes to believe that Samuel also somehow got to this magical world. She is determined to find him before it is too late for all of them.