Theo has spent his entire life confined to the estate of his guardian, never allowed to see other people, all because of some rare disease he has. His guardian, Saintly, the butler Mr. Nicely and the deaf serving-girl Clarice are his sole companions. Then, on his birthday (15th?), everything changes. Thieves break into the house and in the ensuing aftermath Theo discovers that he is not who he thought he was and that his so-called disease is in fact a strange legacy passed to him from the legendary Candleman.
There is a struggle between the Society of Good Works and the Society of Unrelenting Vigilance for power and Theo stands at the heart of it. His choices determine the fate of everyone. A cast of eccentric secondary characters livens up some of the dull parts. It is a fun read, fairly quick. The latter third could have been sped up a tad as I was beginning to lag in my attention. Still, a good introduction to the characters and world and there are not so very many threads left open. Boys will probably like it.