The story opens at the Murrys' New England farm. The children's physicist father disappeared without a trace some time ago, and their mother, also a scientist, is waiting patiently for him to return. The setting soon leaves earth; five-year-old Charles Wallace has met three very odd old ladies, who take the children on a journey across space and time. Eventually they reach the planet Camazotz. It is here that the Murrys' father has been imprisoned in a glass column, frozen in a state of suspended animation. Camazotz is remarkably similar to an ordinary world gone terribly wrong; everyone acts in exactly the same way, ruled by the evil force of IT.