Odd, mindless people and docile schoolchildren who greet you with ""Happy day"". . . a filthy old hermit who warns that there is ""no escape"". . . an eerie painting of the town, with people turning to stone as they flee a blinding light. . . a ring of stones that impart excruciating pain to the touch. . . . These are some of the puzzles that greet teenager Matthew and his astrophysicist father Adam in an ancient English village where they plan to study a prehistoric (""older than Stonehenge"") circle of strangely magnetic stones. There are other newcomers in the tiny village, but one by one they all fall victim to the happy zombie syndrome that plagues the natives. The explanation, as Matthew and Adam discover just in time to save themselves, has to do with psychic and magnetic energy, a prehistoric supernoya turned black hole, and a retired astronomer-magus amassing cosmic power. Readers can tell from the start that it's lunatic nonsense with no redeeming literary value, but there's an insidious page-turning power at work that could suck them along in pursuit of what happens next.