Alexander Armitage doesn't fit in at Eton College. Not only is he an American, his father, a new teacher at the college, is obsessed with ancient languages and the dusty old books he makes Alexander study. When his father is kidnapped, Alexander gladly leaves school behind and finds himself partnered with a baron's daughter, her little bronze dragon, and an eclectic crew of Sky Raiders in a quest to find him. When their search leads them to Malta, they discover a secret society intent on unleashing the ancient Iron Horsemen and usurping the reins of power in London.
In a steam-powered Victorian world where pirates prowl the sky and secret societies determine the future like a game of chess, Alexander must confront the harsh legacy of the divided country he left behind, a new aristocratic world that rejects him, and the overwhelming pressure of being offered to become a Horseman himself.