The novel takes place entirely in the environs of Egdon Heath, and, with the exception of the epilogue, covers exactly a year and a day. The narrative begins on the evening of Guy Fawkes Night as Diggory Venn drives slowly across the heath, carrying a hidden passenger in the back of his van. When darkness falls, the country folk light bonfires on the surrounding hills, emphasizing-not for the last time-the pagan spirit of the heath and its denizens.
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