In high summer, darkness descends on Elgar's England. Investigating a series of road accidents in the Malvern Hills, Merrily Watkins stumbles into a barbed tangle of alienation, murder... and a mystical obsession with the landscape.
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Merrily Watkins, parish priest, single mum and Deliverance Consultant to the Diocese of Hereford, heads for the Malvern Hills to investigate an alleged paranormal dimension to a spate of road accidents in the sleepy village of Wychehill.
Merrily is called in when two people are killed in a head-on crash that is also linked to the revamped local pub which, it seems, has injected the valley with a shattering, strobing surge of inner-city nightlife... and drugs. When a dealer is found savagely murdered below the great earthen hillfort of Herefordshire Beacon, police ask: is it a ritual killing, a gangland disposal or a cry of outrage?
As Merrily and the police follow separate paths towards the truth, Merrily's teenage daughter, Jane, faces the consequences of her own obsession with a possibly prehistoric site in their home village of Ledwardine. Until, on a night of frenzied violence, in a place at the centre of an ancient, universal mystery, the final, shocking connections are made.