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On the border between England and Wales lies the tiny town of Crybbe, not picturesque enough for the tourist trade, quietly sliding into decay. Max Goff means to change all that. Goff has made millions in the record business, but his heart is in New Age philosophy. He has learned that Crybbe was once a spiritual center of sorts, surrounded by ancient standing stones that were emblems of power. He means to replace the stones that have fallen - or been destroyed, as many of them were - and establish a thriving New Age community that will draw tourists and students from all over the world. What Max Goff doesn't know is that the standing stones of Crybbe were destroyed in the sixteenth century for a very good reason. Some of the endearing customs of the town - such as tolling the church bell for curfew each night - are actually deadly serious rituals. The people of Crybbe know that evil has been kept at bay here by the old ways, and that there's nothing quaint about them. And the power about to be unleashed by Max Goff is nothing like the soothing music and herbal remedies he associates with the New Age. This is the power of the old age, pent up for centuries and about to be released with deadly fury!
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New Age mystics, led by a record producer moonlighting as a necromancer, rouse a sleepy town's evil spirits in this stylish novel of the occult, the first U.S. publication for British author Rickman. Nestled between England and Wales, the decrepit village of Crybbe and its aging, truculent residents are off the beaten track and prefer to stay that way. But the writings of J. M. Powys, theoretician of the paranormal, inspire Max Goff, the millionaire founder of Epidemic Records, to buy up Crybbe and restore it to what he imagines to be its former glory as a conduit to the spirit realm known as ``The Golden Land.'' As Goff and his cohorts--some of them sinister, some merely silly--make their improvements, psychic turbulence ensues that will shake even the most stolid reader. It's up to radio reporter Faye Morrison, stranded in Crybbe with her aging father, and Powys himself, who comes to see the naivete of his former ideas, to ward off disaster. Rickman convinces with his intricate account of the town's hex: ancient ``ley-lines'' mapped out by druidic-style stones conduct a psychic power that the traditional curfew of the novel's title--100 rings of the church bell every night at 10 o'clock--can only contain for so long. The spell is so complete, in fact, that closure becomes difficult: Rickman himself can't--or won't--quite shut the door on the horrors that he introduces here. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates. (July)

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