An enmeshed forest

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Darkhenge by Catherine Fisher.
Definitions, 2006 (2005).

‘No one,’ she said firmly, ‘treats me like a little girl. Not any more.’

O. On: Gorse.

Chloe, a deeply troubled teenager living in the shadow of her brother, a talented artist, is in hospital in a coma after a horse-riding accident on the Marlborough Downs. For a few months now her family are distraught, resorting to displacement activities – the father and mother being largely absent at work, and her brother Robert losing himself in his art – all observed by Mac, a concerned Catholic priest.

But then things come to a head when Rob becomes a paid volunteer on a nearby hush-hush archaeological dig and, almost simultaneously, is drawn willy-nilly into a New Age ritual at the Avebury stone circle, destined to help what seems to be a shape-shifting druid escape from a pursuer.

As we watch things play out in the mundane world of the chalk downs of southern Britain we start to become aware of a voice breaking into the narrative, the voice of somebody who ostensibly is lying in a coma, a state where archetypes and monsters freely roam; the voice in fact of a sleeping beauty surrounded by dark woods.

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