Once there was a gypsy queen who wore on her wrist a chain of six lucky charms. The queen gave each her six children one of the charms as their lucky talisman, but ever since the chain was broken, the gypsies had been dogged with misfortune.
It is the fifth year of the Lord Protector's rule, and not safe nor seemly to love bright colours, nor music, nor dancing, nor magic, nor any of the things that the gypsies most loved, and which made them who they were. But now life for the Finch tribe has gone even more horribly wrong - they have been thrown into gaol with only three weeks to live. The only members of the family to escape are Emilia and her cousin Luka. They have been entrusted to find the six charms - then, perhaps, the gypsies could once again have some luck. What Emilia and Luka do not realise is that there is a price to be paid for each lucky charm, and that the cost may prove too high...
15th-19th August, 1658:
Luka and Emilia must travel to the New Forest to find the Wood tribe, whose charm is a rue flower, the herb of grace. Its power is that of plants and herbs - which can both heal and poison.
On the way, the two children tangle with an impoverished widow, the thief-taker Coldham, a highwayman and a witch, and find themselves caught up in a Royalist plot to restore King Charles II to his throne.
Winner of Aurealis Awards for Best Children's Long Fiction 2007