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From the church of St Udan's rises The Tower, threatening collapse unless a large sum can be raised to repair it. In its shadow, the brooding, macabre figure of Old Liberty, fire-and-brimstone vicar, rages against robust and clever George Hardcastle, humanist and self-styled 'antichrist', while between them wavers diminutive enchanting Mary Garstin, wearing her wealth and position uneasily

Happening upon this tiny hamlet where nothing is quite what it seems, John Smith is held in thrall by the elusive charm of Cynthia Hardcastle - who plays Shakespearean games with her father, and crouches on tree stumps in the dark of night - and by a premonition of disaster.

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