Eleven-year-old Benji Saintaubin dreams of becoming a hero. But the kind of hero found in a fairy tale must have strong arms and legs. All Benji has is a crutch, a deformed face and a beloved story of an imaginary boy written by his father.
Due to his disfigurement, Benji is kept locked away in an attic, far away from anyone who might scream at his frightening appearance. But then one day mother comes to his room and says he can leave the house and see the world. On his 12th birthday Benji is taken to the center of the city where he marvels at the large buildings and endless masses of people packed into the streets. The wonder of the outside world doesn’t last long. Within seconds mother disappears into the crowd and Benji finds himself alone in a maze of twisting streets and decrepit buildings that encompass 19th-century London.
Terrified, Benji draws upon the strength he found in the story of the imaginary boy who had to defeat a Dragon if he wanted to escape the lower world and become a hero. Unfortunately for Benji the last few pages of the manuscript were blank. Father died before he could finish the end.
After nearly being trampled to death and sold into slavery, a man by the name of Simon Talbot rescues Benji and promises to help him find his mother. But then Benji notices an odd tattoo of a serpent’s tail coiled around Simon’s hand. Only one thing could have the tail of a serpent. Benji tries to escape but it is too late. He was the prisoner of the Dragon now and judging by the mysterious sounds that reverberate through Simon’s lair, he may not be the only one. Locked in a dark room with no food or water, Benji begins to wonder if his father’s story is more real than he once thought. In order to be reunited with his mother, defeat the Dragon and at last become a hero, Benji must complete the quest his father created and finish the story of the imaginary boy.