When Edward's mother dies, his aunt sends him to a school for troubled youths. There, Edward develops an itch in his back that he can't scratch, and when he gets angry it seems like he can move things with his mind. When the itch erupts into a set of wings, an evil teacher tries to cut them off. Edward is rescued by Mr. Spines, who reveals that Edward is a Guardian, a magical being who guards and guides souls in the Woodbine, a stopover between life and death.
Edward will now have to battle the most evil force in the Woodbine, the Jackal, and his army of fallen Guardians. They have destroyed the bridges that lead to the afterlife, trapping countless souls. Edward is unprepared for so much responsibility and he runs away and becomes lost in the Woodbine. There he must find his own voice and learn to master his powers as he is pulled from side to side by magical forces he is only beginning to understand.
The Mysterious Mr. Spines consists of three books. The current recommended reading order for the series is provided below.