The Guardian Stones

Written by Eric Reed
Review by Viviane Crystal

In 1941, young English children are being evacuated to a town in the Shropshire countryside. It was believed they would be safe there from the German bombers beginning to crush major British cities. Few of the children enjoy this transition, especially as they are divided up to provide hard labor for Shropshire families. The town’s residents are a motley crew, resenting the children as more mouths to feed in the middle of hard times when food is rationed. Now, one by one, four children go missing. Meanwhile, a widowed, retired American professor, Edwin Carpenter, comes to study the barrows and stones, which are similar to those at Stonehenge. He is disliked because America has not yet entered the war, but curiously follows the mysterious disappearances.

How much does the rampant superstition about the stones contribute to the fear that is increasing daily, especially when several horrific crimes occur? Shades of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible pervade these pages, which are rife with hysterical suspicion, blame, fear and anger. Does WWII create these mad consequences far from the actual battlefront? A nicely told historical mystery.