Alpha Lux is disabled and is the first foundling to live at Haven Point. She was found in a crate that had “Lux Flakes” printed on the side. She lives with the Captain, other foundlings with disabilities and lots of cats in Old Ben the Lighthouse. Also near to Haven Point is a colony of mermaids. Mermaid Ephyra helps to raise Alpha. This community supports itself by wrecking. They capture boats that sail nearby, take the goods they need, but then send the sailors unharmed, on their way. The mermaids are very helpful in this.
Life is fine and Alpha is relatively happy; she has friends, she is fed and sheltered and she feels s loved. Until one day she sees a glint coming from the old pill box on the coast. Could this be her real mother looking for her? No, it is a spy who is trying to find evidence of mermaids. Life becomes complicated when this spy, Bobby, is captured and he falls in love with Ephyra.
Alpha begins to feel excluded, falls out with her friends, and gradually realises that she has been extremely self-centred.
Those who had sent Booby arrive and capture one of the mermaids as evidence of the existence of mermaids. In the ensuing struggle Ephyra is wounded as she protects Alpha. The wound is fatal.
Life has to change at Haven Point. The mermaids leave and go out further to sea. The light house becomes a café and tourist attraction. Alpha has to find her own way in the world. This borders on being a bildungsroman
The book is 379 pages long –though the text is double spaced. It uses a young reader friendly font: 12.25 Bembo though it is serifed and has difficult ‘a’s and ‘g’s. There are line drawings at the beginning of each chapter and full page illustrations at intervals throughout the book. Three artists have been involved here: Gillian Gamble has created the cover, Valentina Toro the drawings at the beginning of each chapter and the full page drawings, and Luke Ashforth has provided the map and the concept of the lighthouse. There is information about the author and the artists at the end of the book. At the beginning Auton discusses disability. She labels herself as a disabled person rather than a person with a disability.