When the refugee boy Kasir appears in the little Swedish town of Klippsby, twelve-year-old Julia realises at once that something about her new classmate is a bit strange. But she doesn't realise just how different he is until one fateful night when they are attacked by terrifying living shadows. Along with her little brother Edvin and an old vagrant called the Troubadour, they are forced to flee through a magical portal to Kasir's homeland. It is a world of boundless beauty, where art comes alive - but the shadows threaten to destroy all its wonders. While Julia and Edvin struggle with a new language, a new culture and unknown perils, they discover that they have a secret link to Kasir's world. Perhaps they might even have the power to save it.