The last summer before college should be a time to relax and enjoy freedom. But when Dara’s father turns to the secret science of alchemy in order to develop a revolutionary renewable power source, disaster threatens their quiet rural community. His power conduits reach into mystic underground places, stealing light and energy from the realm of Faerie, the home of elves. He releases ravenous shadow-creatures from an even deeper land. When he uses the stolen cup of the goddess Ceridwen to deal with the waste products his process creates, he poisons the land of elves. Electricity behaves strangely. Earthquakes are rampant. Hungry shadow-creatures prowl the earth.
As her father withdraws into his work and her best friend is injured by one of the shadows, Dara struggles to uncover the cause of the troubles. On the night of the solstice, watching for the first star with an Aboriginal boy new to the area, a giant shadow-snake comes after them. Together, the three seek to unravel the mystery of the creatures and their connection to Dara’s father’s work.
Hallaer, queen of the elves, is furious but helpless. She cannot challenge the alchemist or slow his destruction of her land. Through a dream, she urges Dara to stop her father. Dara’s cousin, who is actually an elf the alchemist enslaved years before, presses her to step in. When her father is trapped in the conduit he opens, Dara, her friends and this elf must find a way to undo the damage and to rescue him.