Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Dead of Winter - Chris Priestley

This tale opens with a funeral. Michael Vyner's mother has died leaving him  an orphan. Michael's father died in Afghanistan when Michael was a baby saving the life of another,Sir Stephen Clarendon who has been Michael's benefactor and is now his Guardian. Michael is invited to Hawton Mere, Sir Stephen's ancestral home in the middle of bleak Cambridgeshire fenland, to spend Christmas with Sir Stephen and his sister Charlotte. But all is not well at Hawton Mere and Michael begins experience strange and sinister noises and apparitions. Who is the woman in the white shift? What or who is the image in the mirror?

This is a great spooky and frightening Gothic tale for children that has all the required elements for those who enjoy the more subtle horrors of vast and empty landscapes, castles, madness, death, secrets and ghosts. This is no blood and guts tale but an atmospheric and well crafted page turner that gathers its horrors around it like a cloak of thickening fog until the reader has sunk into the bed with a single lamp burning into the night, afraid not to finish the book and afraid to finish the book - and then afraid to turn the light off afterwards!

Read this in one giant bite and tell your friends, I doubt they will be as thrilled by anything so fearsome this year.

My thanks to Bloomsbury for my copy of Chris Priestley's book.

The Dead of Winter is available now.

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