When a popular, literature-related research web site called the Wordwood crashes, everyone visiting the site — including popular author Christy Riddell’s girlfriend, Saskia Madding — suddenly vanishes. Now her friends must somehow find her before it’s too late.
It all starts when Aaran Goldstein, the mean-spirited book editor for The Daily Journal, has his fragile ego bruised by Christiana Tree, Riddell’s mysterious, independent shadow-self — made up of all the parts of his personality that he cast out when he was a child. To get back at the strange woman who slighted him, Goldstein blackmails a hacker to send a virus to one of Christiana’s favorite web sites. Little does Goldstein know the web site is actually a powerful sentient spirit; and when the virus is downloaded, a bizarre chain of events causes hundreds of people to be sucked into the otherworld of the Internet.