Number Ten Ox was a droll and modest young man who had no wish to be a hero.  But when a malevolent plague fell over his village, Ox had no choice, for all the children between the ages of eight and thirteen lay still as death in the old monastery.  With his mentor, a wise and wily sage and old beyond belief, Ox set forth to find the antidote to the poison.  Their search leads them to a homicidal monarch, the cruellest duke in history, pleading ghosts, Jade Pearl, the loveliest girl in the world and a mystery that began a thousand years before they were born.