cover image Fellstones


Ramsey Campbell. Flame Tree, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-78758-757-1

World Horror Convention Grandmaster Campbell (The Way of the Worm) takes a stab at folk horror with this slow-building tale of village creepiness. Paul Dunstan, a former musical prodigy now working in a bookstore, is summoned home to visit his adoptive family, the Staveleys, who raised him as “Michael” and fanatically trained him as a singer. Returning to the small town of Fellstones, Paul finds forgotten memories of his early life among the mysterious standing stones that give the town its name. Delving into the history of these stones, he learns that, according to legend, they were raised by a local wizard and that they grant the lives of certain villagers supernatural longevity. This information does little to increase his enthusiasm for participating in the traditional village festival that the Staveleys hope to recreate—but as the eerie atmosphere amps up, it may be too late to back out. Campbell, noted for his work with Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, here sticks closer to earthbound magic while still opening a dark portal to realms better left unvisited. This is another unsettling outing from a master of his craft. Agent: John Jarrold, John Jarrold Literary. (Sept.)