Something is horribly wrong in the remote English village of Cainsmarsh. An elderly woman stiffens in dread at her own shadow; a terrified farmer murders a scarecrow; food prepared by others is eyed with suspicion; family pets are bludgeoned to death; loving couples are devoured by rage and violence. A spirit-corrupting evil pervades the land, infesting the minds of those who call Cainsmarsh home. Is this vision real, or a paranoid fantasy generated by an even darker, worldwide threat? And is the call to resist the danger itself a danger? These are questions that disturb the calm of an indolent croquet player who happens to hear the tale of the unlucky village.
H. G. Wells's ambiguous story of horror is a modern classic, a prophetic, disturbing glimpse of the primitive distrust and violence that gnaw at the heart of the modern world.