In 1925, earthquakes and a rising sea level left Lower Manhattan submerged
under more than thirty feet of water, so that its residents began to call it the
Drowning City. Those unwilling to abandon their homes created a new life on
streets turned to canals and in buildings whose first three stories were
underwater. Fifty years have passed since then, and the Drowning City is full of
scavengers and water rats, poor people trying to eke out an existence, and those
too proud or stubborn to be defeated by circumstance.
Among them are fourteen-year-old Molly McHugh and her friend and employer,
Felix Orlov. Once upon a time Orlov the Conjuror was a celebrated stage
magician, but now he is an old man, a psychic medium, contacting the spirits of
the departed for the grieving loved ones left behind. When a seance goes
horribly wrong, Felix Orlov is abducted by strange men wearing gas masks and
rubber suits, and Molly soon finds herself on the run.
Her flight will lead her into the company of a mysterious man, and his
stalwart sidekick, Joe Golem, whose own past is a mystery to him, but who walks
his own dreams as a man of stone and clay, brought to life for the sole purpose
of hunting witches.