Rapunzel escaped the witch and went on to marry her prince – everyone knows that story. But that's not the end of it. 100 years have passed since the days of long hair and secret trysts. During that time, Rapunzel has become a queen and a sorceress, learning magic words from the witch who held her captive. Now the girl once called Rapunzel is known as Lady Zel: Witch of the Weald, and mistress of the doorless tower. But her power is fading, and an evil presence threatens the kingdom she once ruled. With little hope, Lady Zel searches for someone to whom she can pass on her Words of Power before they die with her. And so it is that she discovers Nell Shoemaker, a 13-year old urchin girl who has an uncanny connection with the natural world. To Nell the sorceress gives the gift of the Wealding Word; but there is no time to explain how to use it. Left to discover the wonders of the Word on her own, Nell quickly finds her world transformed into a fairy tale where she can speak with animals and bewitch plants. But a shadow lurks in every fairy tale… Nell's uncontrolled use of the Wealding Word soon attracts the attention of a demonic creature known as a Malady. It isn’t long before the demon’s dark influence begins to ruin Nell's life. Beset by accidents and deadly creatures from which not even Lady Zel can save her, Nell flees into the ‘weald’. But in a world where evil witches siphon the life from children, runaway urchins make for easy prey. Caught in a power struggle between sorceresses, kings, and sinister forces, Nell's only hope for survival is to master the secrets of the Wealding Word.