Emilia Finch and her cousin Luka are gypsies. They live a strongly traditional life, rich with story, music, dance, and magic, governed by the laws of the clan and the ways of the road. To the repressive Puritanical government of 17th century England, however, the gypsies are thieving, fortune-telling vagrants who are most likely allies of the devil.
Soon, a series of terrible events lands the family in jail, charged with murder. Emilia and Luka manage to escape, promising to bring back help and free them. But how? Emilia believes in the legend of the charms: it is said that the luck of the Rom soured after a long-ago gypsy matriarch broke her chain of charms, giving one charm to each of her five children. If they can gather the charms from the families, Emilia thinks, the strong magic of the Rom will somehow bring her family freedom. Luka, on the other hand, is more practical – he wants to enlist the help of the other clans to help the Finches escape.