David is a young boy in WWII England who slowly, painfully watches his mother die (of what I’m thinking is cancer). Very obviously distraught by her death, things get worse for David when his father remarries and announces that David has a sibling on the way. David has always taken refuge in reading books, but now those books are speaking to him and as his family life becomes more stressful, the lines between reality and imagination start to blend. Suddenly David finds himself in a strange, dangerous world and has to find his way home again. His only hope is to make it to the King, an old, dying man whose legendary “Book of Lost Things” might be the key to David’s return to his world.
En route David kills two thieves who try to steal Scylla, and the Crooked Man protects him from wolves. When he reaches the castle, the King sends soldiers to meet him. The chief guard, Duncan, takes him to meet the King; David is taken to his room to eat and rest. During the night, David is awakened by voices; it is the Crooked Man on the throne, talking to the King who sits below him holding the Book of Lost Things. The King talks of a mistake he made as a child and of how he wants to die. The Crooked Man disappears behind a tapestry, and the King returns the book to its place in an alcove. David sneaks down to the throne room and opens the Book of Lost Things; he finds it to be a child's scrapbook with some diary entries expressing the writer's hatred for a little girl who lived with his family, stating that he has decided to get rid of her. The book belongs to Jonathan Tulvey, Rose's uncle who disappeared with his adopted sister Anna, and David realises that Jonathan is the King.