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Long Lankin [Hardcover]

Lindsey Barraclough
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

7 April 2011

A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge.

Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss . . .

When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida's life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces' arrival has reawoken an evil that has lain waiting for years.

A haunting voice in an empty room ... A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard ... A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church . . . Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it is too late for Mimi.

Intensely atmospheric and truly compelling, this is a stunning debut.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bodley Head (7 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0370331966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0370331966
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 380,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Barraclough controls her narrative with authority, shifting voices and tenses to provide both perspective and the occasional welcome respite from tension . . . A good, old-fashioned literary horror tale for sophisticated readers" (Kirkus Reviews)

"The terror is as relentless as the ballad the story springs from . . . Chilling" (Geraldine Brennan Observer)

"Such an impressive debut. Every element is spot on - from the elegant prose, through the realistic portrayal of various aspects of family life, the three-dimensional characters and the occasional comic set-piece, to the supernatural horror underpinning it, which is absolutely chilling. Highly recommended" (Jill Murphy The Bookbag)

"A fabulous revisiting of the hoariest of old chestnuts" (The Telegraph)

"A real stunner of a debut: Long Lankin is a wonderful, imaginative slow burner of a thriller . . . Lindsey Barraclough's first novel is written with a style and intelligence that would put many an adult thriller to shame" (John Millen Young Post)

Book Description

A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This amazing debut novel opens with the ballad of Long Lankin - a tale of murder, witchcraft and supernatural menace that immediately sets the tone of the story to come. Cora and her little sister Mimi aren't exactly thrilled when they're sent to live with their great-Auntie Ida at the creepy old Guerdon Hall, but with their mother falling apart and their father unable to cope they have little choice in the matter. Things get even worse when they arrive on her doorstep and are met with a barrage of threats, warnings, rules and the bitter knowledge that she wants them gone as soon as humanly possible.

But what Cora doesn't know is that there is a dark evil lurking in Bryers Guerdon - an evil that has been haunting the village for hundreds of years and has ripped her family apart down the generations. Why are the children forbidden from visiting the old church, and who is the man in black in the graveyard? Why do all the doors and windows have to be kept permanently locked, and what are the long scratches marking more than one local door? Together with her new friends Roger and Pete, Cora must uncover the mystery of Bryers Guerdon before it's too late for her little sister - maybe even for them all...

Although this is a young adult book, for me it bordered on Stephen King-esque in the way it preyed on my mind and used psychological thrills to build tension. In some ways it reminded me of the film 'Signs'. You know, the one with Mel Gibson and the alien threat and the crop circles? You weren't sure what was happening, but you knew it was evil, you knew it was out there - and you knew that sooner or later it was coming for you.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very creepy 7 April 2011
Long Lankin was a uniquely creepy read and one of the most original YA novels I have ever read. It is a stunning debut novel.

Long Lankin is a story about two sisters who are sent to their Great Aunt's to live. At first it seems like a story which is quite sad and a bit of a comment on the social situation the children have found themselves to be in, in the 1950s but as the story develops it becomes so much more. It is told in first person and the person narrating chops and changes through the story between the the main characters. I found it a little confusing at first but soon grasped all the differing characters in my head enough to keep up. It wouldn't be one of my reviews if I didn't say how much I loved the glimpse into the time period of the 1950s and how much everyday life contrasts with ours today.

I loved the voice of the main character Cora. I loved how she interacted with her younger sister and how she dealt with the new life she had been thrown into and loved following her as she began to unravel the mystery surrounding Long Lankin.

As the story progresses you start to get the idea that all is not well in the household and especially when Cora's great Aunt starts to behave and react to situations in peculiar ways. There are some really weird scenes where you are not sure if the main characters are seeing things or if they are actually there.

I was warned this book was creepy but really didn't think it would be that creepy from the first half. I was really enjoying it but not creeped out. However in the last 100 pages or so everything kicked off and it changed the whole tone of the book. It was definitely the creepiest YA I think I've ever read and totally unputdownable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Chilling Epic... 3 Jan 2012
Long Lankin was hands down my favourite book of 2011, and I say that having read a fair few that year! It's hugely atmospheric, drawing on bleak imagery and a creepy and mysterious history to create an almost tangible sense of dread and in-trepidation. The plot is fantastically slow and fast in just the right paces, and the end is so dramatic and extravagant that I kept reading until the small hours of the morning just to finish it!

Read more at: [...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Idea! 9 Jan 2012
By Jan
This was not one of my favourite reads last year, as I am not particularly a fan of of ghost stories, (I always feel like shouting 'It's behind you!') BUT I did think this book was beautifully written and I loved the idea of taking a traditional poem/song and making it into something new.

I also really like the characters - tough little Cora, transplanted from Limehouse to the depths of the countryside, the large and lively Jotman family, and Auntie Ida, who had married the brother of the man she really loved after her one true love had been killed in the war. The minor characters are also beautifully drawn, like the old gentleman who had lost all his sons in the war and now was caring for the wife, for whom he had given up his own career in the army (alas, she would never had been accepted by his fellow officers) and Old Gussie who had, years before, left her younger brother to be taken by Long Lankin.

I thought the highly entertaining description of the East End wedding, complete with a street party and an argument between the brides's mother and a neighbour, contrasted wonderfully with the country village cricket match, but as I have said I am not a fan of ghost stories and for me the ghosts and the monstrous creature that Long Lankin had evolved into, were not convincing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
Eep. Oh goodness this book was so good. I haven't been this hung up on a book in long time. I loved reading this and encourage others to give it whirl. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Becky Godber
4.0 out of 5 stars couldn't put it down
Well written, moves along at a nice pace, finished the second half of the book in one sitting.
Doesn't feel like an authors first book at all and would make a great tv... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Gt_squirrel
4.0 out of 5 stars spooky book
Could not put it down Some parts were pretty jumpy a good story in all wouldn't recommend this book for under fifteen
Published 6 months ago by Tinkerbell
5.0 out of 5 stars wow!
One of the best horror novels I have read in a long time, this debut novel by Lindsey Barraclough is just superb. Read more
Published 11 months ago by J. Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not read this at night!
I found this book in the children's section of my local library. Well, I don't know about kids, but it honestly creeped the crap out of me, and that has not happened in a long,... Read more
Published 11 months ago by chico
4.0 out of 5 stars The Secret Garden, as rewritten by M R James
A very good children's novel by a talented author. The constantly switching narration can be a little tiresome at times, but there is no doubting the author's power with words,... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Tony Medawar
4.0 out of 5 stars "Atmospheric"
"Atmospheric" is the perfect word to sum up Lindsay Barraclough's writing. I know I'm not the only one to touch on this in reviews but I can't think of a better description. Read more
Published 23 months ago by lunaslittlelibrary
5.0 out of 5 stars lasting impression
I purchased this book almost as soon as it came out (unintentionally) and read it in just about 2 days even though it is a pretty thick book. Read more
Published on 16 May 2012 by 1124star
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting
Creepy, atmospheric and rich in detail, Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough is the perfect book to read if you want to be scared. Read more
Published on 11 May 2012 by Kulsuma at sunshine and stardust
5.0 out of 5 stars Eerie and thrilling
This book came out of nowhere and took me completely by surprise. Rich, eerie and thrilling, the story overtakes your senses... Read more
Published on 1 April 2012 by Caroline
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