This tightly constructed novel is set in the fictitious village of Slatefield, where dinosaur bones were first found in England. The arrival of a writer of popular books at the house of his brother, an Oxford archaeologist, stirs up an old rivalry. A strange stone has been unearthed from a local quarry bearing what looks like an ancient script and the two brothers have very different interpretations of its contents. For the archaeologist it is clearly a fake, but for his brother and his artist wife it opens a window to a prehistoric civilization, going back even to the age of the giant dragonflies. There is also a land dispute over the site of a Roman villa, and disagreement among the villagers over the possible reopening of the slate mines. A humorous element is introduced by the bumbling new vicar who tries to smooth over all these disputes with words of unorthodox Whiteheadian wisdom. Science and imagination are at loggerheads, and their resolution (of sorts) provides a surprising ending.