For Harriet, Eden university is a chance to escape the shadows of a family tragedy and reinvent herself, even though she doesn’t know exactly who she is or where she belongs. She’s grown up hiding from curious eyes, and seeking refuge in the music of Dark Island, who appear to be the only ones who have words for her hidden traumas. She’s escaped into hockey and being an A* student, found companionship and adventure in role-playing games, but somehow she’s never been able to run far enough to avoid the night-time terrors which haunt her. Spurred by a promise from Dark Island that she’s leaving the shadows, Harriet is convinced that university will be the place where all this changes. And yet, finding where she belongs is not easy. Hockey is dominated by the arrogant Mark Collier, and relationships prove as difficult here as at home.
As the structures which have kept Harriet safe start to crumble, she is drawn somewhat against her will towards the cold, mysterious and compelling Iquis. It’s a tumultuous relationship – full of conflict and misunderstandings. And yet, as Harriet starts to recognise a matching brokenness in Iquis, she becomes convinced that their paths are entwined, and that only by rescuing Iquis from what binds her can she, Harriet, ever find freedom from the chains of her own past. But as the girls’ journeys take them across the night-time landscapes of Cumbria, and then deeper into the frozen north, the questions arise: how much of what the girls fear comes from inside and how much from outside, and what is the price of redemption?