cover image The Hungry Moon

The Hungry Moon

Ramsey Campbell. MacMillan Publishing Company, $18.22 (293pp) ISBN 978-0-02-521140-7

Campbell's seventh novel is set in Northern England, in the small bleak town of Moonwell, edged by moors pitted with treacherous mineshafts. To Moonwell comes the preacher Godwin Mann, whose particularly intolerant brand of fundamentalism appeals to the inhabitants. They rally almost as one behind him and ostracize and persecute the few independent souls who do not. Mann descends into the pit in which the ancient malignant being worshipped by the Druids millenia past is said to dwell. Intending to exorcise the demon and claim the land for God, he is instead overwhelmed. What emerges from the pit is the monstrous creature, clothed now in the flesh of Mann, and it is only the town's pariahs who can see that something is radically wrong, that an evil has been unleashed on the community. Slowly Moonwell is isolated from the world, as telephone lines break down, a cloud cover brings continuous darkness, watches and clocks stop, roads mysteriously lead nowhere. And within this isolation, the monster's power grows umimpeded. This horror story is beautifully written, populated with well-realized characters and pervaded by an increasingly chilling atmosphere of dread and anxiety. Preferred Choice Book Club Selection; Troll Book Club alternate. (July 16)