The year is 2174. The place is Zimbabwe, Africa. Three adventurous children escape their parents' heavily guarded mansion to explore the dangerous world outside. They soon learn how dangerous it really is. Tendai, the oldest boy, is their leader, although he worries about being brave enough. Rita, his sister, is an expert at starting fights. Kuda, his little brother, is willing to try anything. They are quickly enslaved in a plastic mine ruled by the terrifying She Elephant and her army of vlei people. Vlei people have been living in the dump so long they look like piles of trash. The children flee them to find new perils. They are pursued by the Ear, the Eye and the Arm, detectives hired by the children's parents, who always seem to arrive too late. The worst danger of all lies at the top of the Mile High MacIlwaine, a hotel so tall that it sways like a tree in the wind. For up there are not merely humans, but spirits whose aim is to devour the souls of Zimbabwe.