Wicked forces come to a head at Bloor's Academy, and Charlie and his friends must use all their skills and magic to fight the evil and save Charlie's parents. In his greatest adventure yet, Charlie must discover the fate of his family, the evil intentions of the Bloors, what has become of Septimus Bloor's will, and, most important, the destiny of the Red King's heirs.
Charlie's ancestor has been kidnapped and imprisoned in the dark, forbidding land of Badlock, and it's up to Charlie to save him. Traveling through a painting to the terrifying countryside, Charlie and his best friend's dog, Runner Bean, take up the quest.
Asa, a fellow classmate who changes into a beast at dusk and Charlie's sometime enemy, is missing. His parents seek out Charlie for help, and now Charlie needs the help of the Flames to rescue his classmate.
When Charlie turns twelve on New Year's Eve, the Flame Cats give him a grave warning: Something ancient has awoken, and Charlie must be watchful. Soon Charlie learns that the shadow from the Red King's portrait has been released, and that it will do anything to keep Charlie from finding his father, while pets are mysteriously vanishing from the city, and Olivia is in danger of revealing her newfound powers.
Charlie's power is taking on a new dimension as he meets a new cast of characters, including Mr. Pilgrim's replacement, Tantalus Ebony, and the mysterious new student Joshua Tilpin, who appears to be magnetic. But Charlie isn't the only one dealing with changes . . . Billy has been adopted by a child-hating couple called the O'Gres, who carry a gray bag of oaths wherever they go, pressuring Billy to sign an oath of obedience, and locking him behind a force field in an odd place called The Passing House.
This semester at Bloor's Academy brings a few changes. There is a new art teacher, Mr. Boldova, and a new student named Belle, who lives with the Yewbeam aunts and seems to have strange power over them. Emma and Charlie soon discover Mr. Boldova's secret identity: He is the older brother of Ollie Sparks, the boy who lives in the attic of Bloor's Academy.
Henry Yewbeam and his younger brother, James, have been sent to stay with their cousins at the Bloor's Academy, and all Henry wants to do is hide from his mean cousins and play marbles. Suddenly a series of strange events takes place: Henry begins to disappear, and he quickly scribbles on the floor GIVE THE MARBLE TO JAMES, and then he vanishes from the year 1916.
The fabulous powers of the Red King were passed down through his descendants, after turning up quite unexpectedly, in someone who had no idea where they came from. Charlie's scheming aunts decide to send him to Bloor Academy, a school for genius's where he uses his special gift --- he can hear people in photographs talking --- to discover the truth despite all the dangers that lie ahead.