In The Ash Burner, a sensitive, poignant novel about growing up, running away, and the many guises of love, 12-year-old Ted lives with his father, the local magistrate, in the small coastal town of Lion's Head. All Ted knows about his mother is that she died when he was a boy, and that his father—despite moving halfway across the world to start anew—still grieves for her privately. When he is hospitalized after a swimming accident, Ted meets Anthony and Claire, and is immediately captivated by the older pair. Intelligent and perspicacious, they introduce him to poetry and art, and he feels a sense of belonging at last. But as the trio's friendship intensifies over the years, Ted must learn to negotiate the boundaries of love and come to terms with a legacy of secrets and silence.