MIDNIGHT SUN by Ramsey Campbell
Kirkus Star


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A cold and relentless primordial presence awakens in Campbell's newest and finest: a masterpiece of quiet, visionary horror. By opening with a quote from critic David Aylward ("Writers [of supernatural fiction], who used to strive for awe and achieve fear, now strive for fear and achieve only disgust"), Campbell makes it clear that he means this majestic story of a British family's encounter with metaphysical terror as a response to horror's reigning splatterpunk movement (see Splatterpunks, p. 1491). And so no blood, no shocks, stain these compelling pages; the horror accretes slowly, beginning with the opening that finds young Ben Sterling taking refuge from the death of his parents in the books of his great-grandfather, a student of mystic polar lore, and in contemplating "the endless dark" of the night sky. Decades later, Ben, now father of two and an author of children's books illustrated by his loving wife, Ellen, returns with his family to his ancient home in Stargrave, an isolated hamlet shadowed by the forbidding expanse of Sterling Forest--where Ben's ancestor froze to death. There, against a backdrop of subtly nuanced normalcy--as the couple sets up house, deals with their publisher, and begins new books--a great strangeness arises: uncanny cold plagues the town; neighbors freeze to death; Ben is drawn into the forest, where he sees weird symmetrical patterns among the trees and snow. To Ellen's alarm, Ben grows cold, distant; and as blizzards strike the town, in the forest an icy presence--the Being that has dreamed the world into existence and whose awakening will destroy it--rises from its slumber, freezing all in its path into fearful symmetry and calling on Ben, now walking in his ancestor's footsteps, to sacrifice his family in honor of the world's coming demise. Truly glacial horror--slow, icy, monumental, inexorable--that's directly in the tradition of Algernon Blackwood and Arthur Machen and equal to their very best.

ISBN: 312-85051-4
Publisher: Tor
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