In an August which turns from heatwave to winter desperate events are occurring. Fifteen year old Nicholas’ life is torn apart when his parents are killed in a train crash and it becomes apparent he did not know them as well as he thought he did. There is something special about him and he needs protecting from the forces of evil that are beginning to gather around him. This debut Young Adult novel is the first part of a trilogy in what is quite a flooded market. There are elements of a darker Harry Potter and this does separate itself from the glut of American teen series titles by having a strong British feel and a Cambridge area setting. I would have liked to have seen more depth to the main character, his grief at sudden loss is convincingly done but there’s not enough teenager in this characterisation, which seems like a missed opportunity. Some of the supporting cast are more strongly portrayed. Plot-wise, does it achieve a balance between setting up the next two novels and providing a wholly satisfactory read ? I’m not totally convinced. With so many young adult series novels around I fear this title might get lost, unless someone is willing to commit to a TV/film adaptation and then Joshua Winning could be on to the next big thing.