Jason Walker is used to feeling like an afterthought--in school, with his friends, with cute girls, and even with his family. The one thing Jason really enjoys is volunteering at the local zoo, where life is always a bit less predictable. Boredom becomes Jason's last concern, however, after a routine cleaning of the hippo tank sends him falling through a tunnel into a whole other world. Lyrian is utterly different from anyplace Jason has ever known. The people dress differently, live differently, and all live in fear of their malicious Emperor, Maldor. Jason just wants to find a way back home, but his search for answers leads to the discovery of a secret vulnerability of Maldor's. Very few know the truth--that there is a magical, ancient word that holds the power to destroy this terrifying ruler. Now that Jason has stumbled upon one of the six syllables of the word, this knowledge makes him a target for Maldor's wrath. His only choice is to pursue the rest of the syllables, each hidden far and wide across Lyrian, until he can possess the weapon to destroy his powerful new enemy. Jason is joined by a fellow Beyonder, Rachel, who was also mysteriously drawn to Lyrian from our world. With the help of a few scattered rebels, Jason and Rachel become entangled in an epic quest to piece together the word of power that can destroy the emperor, and learn that their best hope to find a way home will be to save this world without heroes.