The novel is about a "vicious country rube" named Charlie Manx that happens to be 140 years old. Says Hill, "He's a very bad man with a very bad car. Bad things happen to the children who get in the car with him. These children wind up being driven to a place called Christmas Land, and if Disney Land is the happiest place on Earth, Christmas Land is the unhappiest place NOT on Earth. It's partially about people who have unnatural powers that they derive from vehicles."