A remote Shropshire town is beset by wartime demons even more insidious than the Third Reich.
It's 1941. American widower Edwin Carpenter is retired from his job as a university professor, and he’s made the arduous trip to England to study a stone circle just outside the town of Noddweir. He’s corresponded with Vicar Timothy Wilson and arranged to lodge with Grace Baxter, whose father, the village constable, has gone off to war. The village is of two minds over the disappearance of Issy Chapman, the teenage daughter of the village blacksmith. On one hand, Issy is considered a troublemaker and a slut; on the other, her father is rumored to mistreat her. Quite a few children have been removed from their city homes and sent to the country for their safety, billeted among many families in and around Noddweir, and inevitably their numbers include quite a few tough troublemakers. As more children vanish, suspicion runs rife among the villagers. An outsider like Edwin is naturally high on the list of suspects. Then the ineffectual special constable sent to replace Grace’s father is found murdered, and several other villagers die in suspicious circumstances as rumors of strange sightings occur. Grace’s grandmother, a student of the old ways, folk cures, and magic, insists that the stone circle known as the Guardian Stones is responsible for all the horrifying events. Edwin, unpersuaded, tries to help Grace do her father’s job and protect the town from whatever modern evil is plaguing it.
A fascinating look at a small town mired in the past and confronting the future—with a bombshell ending.