A high-pitched, sultry slice of atmosphere from the British moors, reverberating with the drums of a phantom army and delivered in prose as thick and shimmering as the air at Drummers' Darkness during the scorching drought that drives the action. The army has been night marching for generations, and fear of the haunting makes the copse of the title safe for the solitary, orphaned fox who dens nearby. Then, with the lingering heat wave, the drums beat louder and the hungry fox, grown dusty and gray, fans out--raiding the farmer's chicken coop, hunting the alley rats who scavenge in the village garbage, then frequenting the local factory where night watchman Johnny Toolittle feeds and shelters him. Meanwhile the parched, weary farmer works obsessively on a trap, convinced that only the fox's death will bring rain, and the neighboring old Huntsman, waiting for death, is tapped at last by the drummers; thereafter his horn accompanies their marches: Finally Johnny Toolittle and the fox become ghosts as well--but not until the watchman also becomes a hero, using his last jot of life to sound the alarm when lightning, followed by a saving rain, strikes the factory's tank of poison gas. Stranger dispenses less sense than ambiance, with a bit too much blazing and surging at that, but it's a heady fix for the special reader subject to her sort of hypnosis.