I loved this on first publication, so it's great to see it reissued, and not before time. "Spirit of the place" does indeed define this novel, so powerfully-drawn is the setting, and Dennis Hamley cleverly sets the eighteenth-century aesthetic of controlling and shaping the landscape against current strivings to understand and control the genetic make-up of humans. Fowler's poetry is so convincingly eighteenth-century that I'm not surprised the previous reviewer went in search of more detail - it takes an accomplished writer to pull that off. This intriguing, unusual, engrossing novel deserves to find new readers. I recommend it in particular to anyone who enjoys well-crafted and thought-provoking young adult fiction by writers such as Mal Peet, Aidan Chambers, Jill Paton Walsh and Meg Rosoff.