Etta, the main character who is sitting, is getting ready for her concert coming up. She and her mom, Rose, are talking about Rose's new painting.
Thanks, darling. I want to replace the painting of Luxembourg Garden with this one.
Are you going to hang up the new painting you finished? It's really beautiful.
Etta has been kidnapped and is now in the Atlantic of 1776. There, she meets Nicholas Carter and Sophia Ironwood, who reveals to her that she has the ability to time travel.
They're like the natural crevices - fissures - you find around the world. The passages have always existed, and our families have always been able to find and use them.
Our ancestors were able to take advantage of tears in the fabric of time, pass through holes to emerge in a different area...
Etta tries to destroy the astrolabe, an object that can examine a passage and inform the bearer of the destination and time period on the other side, but she fails because she was badly wounded.
Sophia leaves with the astrolabe and goes to give it to Cyrus, the antagonist, who wants to create a passage back to a point where he can save his first wife Minerva. Etta is flung through another time passage, leaving a badly wounded Nicholas alone.
Rose arrives the next day and Nicholas recounts what happened. She explains a lot of things to him: that she did not tell Etta about her ability to time travel in order for her plan to destroy the astrolabe to work, that she was warned by a strange traveler from the future that it must be destroyed, and that she is responsible for Alice's, Etta’s guardian and music instructor, death.
Etta is alive. The Thorns must not have been part of the original event - the version of the timeline in which the astrolabe was destroyed.
Nicholas is taken to a Bedouin tribe's camp where he finds a badly injured Sophia, without the astrolabe. He has to make a journey to save Etta and retrieve the astrolabe.