It’s the summer of 1973, and eight year-old Bobby Burke’s father has been MIA in Vietnam for three years. He’s been keeping his father alive through the magic of his SafeKeeper, a charm bracelet he wears on his wrist, but it seems lately that the SafeKeeper’s power has been fading. The military has given up hope of finding his father alive, and even Bobby’s mom has taken up with a new guy, Nick, who seems determined to become a new father to him. What’s worse, Bobby has to contend with a pair of fearsome Tolltakers who have entered his life: one, a local schoolyard bully who demands money to let Bobby get home from school in one piece; the other a demon who visits Bobby’s dreams to try to snatch the SafeKeeper from his wrist. Bobby fights desperately against these forces that seem intent on keeping his father from him forever, until his final, shattering confrontation with the truth and the understanding of the toll he must pay in order to grow up.