Summer 1964: Beatlemania hits the States, and the world mourns the loss of JFK. For 11-year-old Gus LeGarde, the powerful events that rocked the nation serve as a backdrop for the most challenging summer of his life.
Gus is spending another glorious summer at his grandparents' lakeside camp with his best friends, Elsbeth and Siegfried Marggrander. When their boat capsizes, Gus and the twins witness a drunk chasing a girl through the foggy Maine woods. She's scared. She's hurt. And she disappears.
On horseback and on foot, Gus, Elsbeth, and Siegfried search for Sharon Adamski, worried her brutal father will find her before they do. During the hunt, Gus is faced with a number of personal dilemmas. He must keep secret his new friendship with "Mrs. Jones" (Rose Kennedy), a woman in mourning who resides incognito. Gus also glimpses a slice of the twins' life through their mother,who lost her family in a Nazi concentration camp. In a cruel coincidence, Gus faces the imminent loss of his own mother.
The camp is thrown into turmoil as the frantic search for Sharon continues. Reports of stolen religious relics arise. New England churches are ransacked, and missing is the church bell cast by Paul Revere, stolen from St. Stephen's church in Boston's North End. When Gus stumbles on a scepter that may be part of the spoils, he becomes a target for the evil lurking around the lake. Will he find Sharon before the villain does? And how can Gus - armed only with a big heart, a motorboat, and a nosy beagle - survive the menacing attacks on his life?