In late autumn the little island of Lindisfarne was chilly and bare and quiet, with the tourists long gone. This was the time of year that Dan Reid loved best, when the island once more belonged only to its people and its wild creatures - the birds he loved to watch, and the grey seals his grandmother called 'the sea people'. Much as Dan loved autumn on the island, it could be a sad time too, for it was now the seal hunters culled the herds. Dan was a fisherman's son, and he knew that the seals could ruin his father's catch and were, as well, so crowded together that the colony faced slow starvation; all the same, he loved the graceful inquisitive creatures and hated to hear the shots across the water from the neighbouring Farne Islands. Next year he must join his sister Kate at the mainland school, staying there all week long; this was his last full autumn on Lindisfarne, and it turned out to be a time of secrets. Dan loved and trusted his family, but he couldn't tell even them about the hiding-place at Castle Point. His secret there swallowed up his pocket money, ate into his sleep, got him into trouble at school; but Dan couldn't give it up.