Adopted at eighteen months, Caradoc King was brought up in a large and growing family. His adoptive mother, a complex woman, was unable to bond with her newly adopted son and treated him with a harshness bordering on cruelty. At the age of six, he was sent to a boarding school run by two brilliantly eccentric brothers. But this happy time ended abruptly when his adoptive mother became a passionate Catholic and removed him from the school.
From the age of eleven, Caradoc was shuttled from one school to the next, later failing to fulfil his mother's wish that he should join a seminary. When he was fifteen, he was informed that he had been adopted and, a year later, his parents ejected him from the family. Two years later, he scraped into Oxford and there, on his first day, he met Philip Pullman who was to become his first client when he set up as a literary agent. Thirty years later, Caradoc went in search of his natural family and began to make sense of the mystery of his two absent mothers.