THREADS OF ILLUSION
Astounded audience members claim seventeen-year-old Margaret “Meg” Coppersmith has magic in her fingers.
Meg finds this infuriating—the costumes she creates for her parents’ theatre troupe are examples of skill, not enchantment. She lumps such gossip in with tales of mythical creatures roaming the countryside. After years of touring her native country, Midden, the only magic Meg’s seen are illusions conjured by her fellow designers.
But when she loses her precious sewing basket due to the meddling of a jade-skinned girl, Meg’s pragmatic world is shattered by a strange enchantment. Promising replacement tools, the girl leads Meg to an antique sewing box abandoned in a crumbling stone tower. The implements inside include a diamond thimble, as well as golden needles that can pass through silk without leaving a mark.
At first thrilled, Meg’s soon tortured by the darkness haunting this gift. She discovers she’s only person who can touch these tools without being burned. Even more disturbing—she finds her desire to handle the thimble and needles grows with each garment she makes. Her parents and friends are thrilled with her new creations, but Meg is horrified as she watches them transform their wearers—an average woman becomes a beauty, an ordinary speaker a brilliant orator, and a mediocre singer a sensation. Such talent does not go unnoticed. A wealthy railroad baron offers to sponsor the theatrical troupe at court, if Meg will create magical garments for his family.
Although it fulfills her parents’ dream, life at court presents more drama than any production, casting Meg into a secret war between the royal family and ambitious industrialists. Caught in a play without a script, Meg and the theatre troupe must act their way to freedom, before the curtain falls on their careers, and their lives.