Who is Sam, and what do his strange dreams mean? The shock of icy water as a boat crashes onto rocks feels real; so does the castle high above him that is almost hidden in the mists. And what about the number eleven woven into all those dreams? Sam is almost 11 when he discovers a locked box in the attic above his grandfather Mack's room, and a piece of paper that says he was kidnapped. There are lots of other words, but Sam has always had trouble reading. To Sam, words are like spiders flexing their thin legs as they move across the page. Words are impossible. Who can he trust to help him read the documents that could unravel the mystery? It's wood that Sam understands, wood that he loves to shape and to build with. Caroline, the new girl, who bursts into Sam's classroom one day and warns him that she's not there to stay, helps build a castle with him, and reads those papers. But she's moving soon, and the two must hurry to discover the truth about Sam.