William Godwin, or Will, is a young boy who was left an orphan when his entire family died of smallpox. After receiving a letter from his uncle, whom he had never met, he heads to London to meet him. However, once there he is attacked by two thieves and finds shelter in the apothecary shop of the evil alchemist Elias Theophrastus Spittle. He is then promptly made his assistant and sent to do his every bidding. On one of his tasks in the winter of 1664 he comes across a cat and her kittens and brings them back to the shop. Eventually he discovers the truth as to why he was kidnapped by Spittle and escapes him leaving the burning capital behind carrying the last surviving kitten—who will later become Jupiter.