In London in 1944, war orphans, Belle and Joe, discover a link between their Uncle’s ‘Shop of Mechanical Marvels’ and The Turkish Chessmaster, a chess-playing automaton, which leads them into a time-travelling adventure with ‘The Turk’s’ inventor Baron Von Kempelen.
Helping the Baron they find themselves in a risky confrontation with the Russian Army; a narrow escape at the court of Maria Theresa and a game of chess with Napoleon.
Despite their adventures, Belle and Joe long for a permanent home. Determined to solve the mystery of ‘The Turk’, they are inevitably led to the Museum in Philadelphia in 1844, where the Chessmaster has been revealed as merely a conjuring trick. Or has it?