Ally was back in the clearing. It was night, there were the black shapes of trees all around, and a fire was burning in front of him. He bent down towards the twigs lying at his feet, knowing that he would never reach them.As he always did at that moment in the dream the man with the plaited beard and ice-blue eyes stepped out of the shadows. Ally stretched his hand down as far as it would go towards the twigs, his eyes on the man’s face. The man neither moved nor spoke, but only watched him dispassionately, as if he was looking at the struggles of an insect in a killing-jar. Ally tried again to bend and pick up the twigs, but the muscles in his back and arms were locked tight. Then a muscle in his back spasmed. He screamed, and woke.

Ally Fraser is having the same dream, night after night. When his health begins to break down, he is sent to help on an archaeological dig. There, as past and present blend, he finds that the dream is bound up with the events which led to the burning of the site over a thousand years before.

A novella-length book for young adults, or for anyone who enjoyed the Alan Garner novels of the 1960s.

read the 1st chapter