Janie Scott has a happy life in Los Angelesshe likes her school and admires her parentsuntil a strange car starts following her home from school, and her family has to leave the country for reasons she doesn't fully understand.
Arriving in London, in the cold and unfriendly St. Beden's School, Janie thinks she'll never fit inuntil she meets a boy named Benjamin Burrows, who defies the school's authority and mocks the idea that hiding under desks will prevent anyone from an atomic bomb.
Janie's never met anyone like Benjamin before, and as their friendship grows, so does her fascination. They discover that Benjamin has a destiny far more important than taking over his father's apothecary shop, and he needs Janie's help to fulfill that destiny.
On the run, Janie and Benjamin discover a world of international intrigue and danger, and realize that the quiet, kind apothecary was not the man he seemed...
Benjamin Burrows wants to be a spy. He's good at it, and has been practicing and learning the techniques. His father is a London apothecary, and Benjamin is supposed to become an apothecary, too, but that seems supremely boring to himuntil strange men come to kidnap his father. The apothecary gives Benjamin an ancient book for safekeeping, and begs him to protect it.
The book is written in Latin and Greek, which Benjamin doesn't understand. With Janie's help, he starts to uncover the truth about his fatherbut his discoveries bring the men who came for his father after him. Benjamin finds that following in his father's footsteps isn't boring after all. In fact, it might just be deadly...
Marcus Burrows is a London apothecary with a shop near Janie Scott's new flat, who gives Janie a powder made from aspen and honeysuckle to cure her homesickness for Los Angeles. He has a teenage son, Benjamin, who has no interest in being an apothecary, and won't even take care of his deliveries after schoolhe's too busy spying on people.
Benjamin doesn't understand the apothecary's real work, and Mr. Burrows doesn't have time to each him. He has a plan, which takes up all his attention. But it's attracting the attention of his enemies, too, and his enemies are more powerful and ruthless than he imagined...