|A group of archaeologists gathers in the shadow of a precious and unique national monument, The Nine Quines, a group of standing stones on a peninsula in a remote Scottish sea-loch, their University having been given permission to carry out a dig which would not normally be allowed at such a sensitive site, on the condition that the dig is also part of a re-enactment project, foisted on them by their University’s marketing department, and destined to be filmed in real-time by a TV company intent on marketing the result world-wide, and sharing the profits. Dakin, the grizzled, jowly head of department, spends more time these days wielding a spreadsheet than a trowel, in his attempt to balance the ever-diminising educational grants and budgets. However, his work as a consultant on popular TV archaeology programmes has bought him a seat at the table. Parker, the specialist on ancient industrial technologies, harbours a not-so-secret passion for Jenny, the expert on Neolithic agriculture, not that she notices, or at least, not that she acknowledges; finally, the eponymous Waterlow, the boyish marine biologist, seems determined to continue treating the exercise like a public school outing.Into this volatile mix comes the enigmatic Dr Peter Glasson, of Emmaus College Cambridge, who has been allowed to tag onto the project in order to carry out extremely accurate measurement of the stones and their surrounding area, using new, as-yet-untested equipment.
But Glasson is not all he seems, and, as events unfold, his behaviour threatens to plunge the whole project into chaos and mystery. Meanwhile, the brooding presence of the stones looms darkly over the events of that spring and summer…Harry Fenwick is married and divides his time between Scotland, which he describes as his "spiritual home”, the North of England, where he actually lives, and Cambridge, where he has family connections. This is his first novel.