As far as fourteen-year-old Bun knows, Mary Hare has always been his mother, and New South Wales has always been his home. But one day he returns home to find the woman who raised him lying gravely injured at the bottom of the stairs, where she finally reveals the truth. With her last breaths, Mary informs Bun that she is not his biological mother after all. Determined to find out who his real parents are, Bun puts his photographic memory to work and begins collecting and examining clues—ones that will lead him and his best friend, Katie, on an epic chase across the United States. Someone, however, wants to keep the truth from them, so the pair finds themselves pursued every step of the way.
Guided by their intelligence and determination, Bun and Katie are able to decipher the few clues they have to work with: an American passport, a birth certificate, and a mysterious niello necklace with the inscription “MMA585.” After jetting across the ocean to New York, the evidence leads them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they find the possible fate of Bun’s real parents hidden in some newspaper archives. The articles also contain clues to the location of some of his other family members, but they won’t be able to get there without a fight. In the span of twenty-four hours, Bun narrowly escapes being shot, run over, and kidnapped, all by the powerful forces determined to keep his family secret under wraps.
The pair’s thrilling American adventure turns into a race against their enemies, as they do anything they can to reach their cross-country destination while staying one step ahead of the people trying to harm them. Nothing is what it seems, and Bun and Katie have only each other to trust as they face life-threatening dangers at every turn. They will either make it to the West Coast in time for a happy family reunion, or powerful forces will keep the mystery of Bun’s parentage hidden for good. It will take plenty of intelligence, lots of bravery, and a little bit of luck if the friends are to reach their destination safely and solve the mystery of the niello necklace.