'Once upon a time there was a boy, and they called him Mouse . . . That is how the story began when I told it to myself in the long darkness. Of course, it wasnt the whole story, but back then I knew nothing, almost nothing at all . . . Mouse is unaware of his privileged background: of Epton Towers, the luxurious home in which he was born, and its magnificent surrounding grounds. He barely recalls his loving parents, who are lost at sea. He certainly does not remember the threat posed by his Uncle Scrope, who, deeply in debt, is driven to threaten Mouses very life. But Mouse does remember Hanny, the loyal and loving nursemaid who saw the threat and whisked him away to safety. Mouse lives a happy and carefree life with her until the evil Mr Button darkens their door, threatens Hanny and takes Mouse away.Mr Button takes Mouse to grim Murkstone Hall, a school that lives and breathes terror and fear. Can Mouse escape and find his way to his true family again?A brilliantly evoked tale full of memorable characters, including Nick Tick, the tiny but clever clockmaker, Aunt Indigo and Aunt Violet, two strong-minded seamstresses and washerwomen, and Charlie Punch and his amazing dog Toby. These warm-hearted and generous characters see the plight of Mouse and each in their own way help him towards his destiny. But will they be enough to upset the continual scheming of the villainous Mr Button?