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The Ritual [Paperback]

Adam Nevill
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Oct 2011

It was the dead thing they found hanging from a tree that changed the trip beyond recognition.

When four old University friends set off into the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle, they aim to briefly escape the problems of their lives and reconnect. But when Luke, the only man still single and living a precarious existence, finds he has little left in common with his well-heeled friends, tensions rise.

A shortcut meant to ease their hike turns into a nightmare scenario that could cost them their lives. Lost, hungry, and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, things couldn’t possibly get any worse.

But then they stumble across an old habitation. Ancient artefacts decorate the walls and there are bones scattered upon the floors. The residue of old rites for something that still exists in the forest. Something responsible for the bestial presence that follows their every step. And as the four friends stagger in the direction of salvation, they learn that death doesn’t come easy among these ancient trees . . .

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (7 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330514970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330514972
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 12.8 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


“This novel grabs from the very first page, refuses to be laid aside, and carries the hapless reader, exhausted and wrung out, to the very last sentence.” THE GUARDIAN

“Often horror loses its power when the evil is given a face; in this case it only gets more disturbing” THE SUNDAY TIMES

“with THE RITUAL Nevill has crafted some of the tensest scariest horror this reviewer has read for years” SFX

"The Ritual by Adam Nevill is a mind-twisting journey into the dark backwoods of terror. Deeply disturbing and absolutely riveting." --Jonathan Maberry, NY Times Bestselling author of DEAD OF NIGHT and THE KING OF PLAGUES

“Nevill makes the natural world deeply menacing, using the power of suggestion rather than explicit images to create a growing claustrophobic feeling as the difficult journey to return to some semblance of civilization embeds the quartet only further in the grasp of primal evil.” PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“If you want something to make you scared of going into the deep, dark woods then I would highly recommend you pick up The Ritual. The Gruffalo it ain’t!” GEEK SYNDICATE

“It has been over a week now since I finished this book and it has really stayed with me and I find myself thinking about it on numerous occasions, and this is another very good sign.” Fantasy Book Review

‘The Ritual’ didn’t just stop at sending a shiver down my spine, carrying on past that to leave me feeling all unsettled and resolved to stay away from large unexplored woods. A horror novel that leaves you feeling melancholy and thoughtful (as well as just plain scared); Neville is rapidly cementing his position as an author worth watching.’ GRAEME’S FANTASY BOOK REVIEW

“The Ritual, is now one of my all time favourite books, for me personally this is a powerful book that ticks every box in horror writing.” GINGERNUTS OF HORROR

From the Back Cover

In the forests of Scandinavia, an ancient presence starts its nightmare hunt once again . . .

Four old university friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. No longer young men, they have little left in common and tensions rise as they struggle to connect. Frustrated and tired, they take a shortcut that turns their hike into a nightmare that could cost them their lives.

Lost, hungry and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, they stumble across an isolated old house. Inside, they find the macabre remains of old rites and pagan sacrifices; ancient artefacts and unidentifiable bones. This place of dark ritual is home to a bestial predator that is still alive in the ancient forest. And now they're the prey.

The four friends struggle toward salvation, but death doesn't come easily among these ancient trees . . .

Praise for The Ritual

'This novel grabs from the very first page, refuses to be laid aside, and carries the hapless reader, exhausted and wrung out, to the very last sentence' Guardian

'Horrifyingly scary . . . Nevill sinuously ramps up the tension' Sunday Times

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sense of menace.. 30 Oct 2011
I bought this on the strength of Adam Nevill's previous novel `Apartment 16', which I found extremely disturbing, and a great horror read. I wasn't disappointed with `The Ritual'.

The book is in two parts. In the first part 4 friends hiking in the Swedish wilderness get hopelessly lost. The sense of menace as they trudge through the damp, densely forested landscape is almost palpable. With a rising sense of panic amongst the four men it seems the harder they try to get out of the forest, the more it wants to keep them there. It made me want to keep looking over my shoulder so I ended up only reading the book in the daytime! What they find along the way and the events that follow set the scene for the second part of the book, which is equally menacing and edge of the seat reading.

Adam Nevill has a way of drawing the reader into the story and assaulting their senses with such vivid and disturbing imagery - what's not to like?!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars First Half Fantastic! Second half, Not So Much 18 Sep 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There's no denying Nevill knows how to create an atmosphere of genuine fear. The first half of this book ramps up the tension and terror as the mysterious beast picks of the group one by one, but once the plot is explained at the midway point and the action shifts from the primal horror of this lost forest, it hits a speed bump and slows down to an uninteresting grind that I didn't really want to finish.

I will keep reading his work, because he's a decent horror writer, but the overall plots and story points need to be worked on, because both The Ritual and Apartment 16 generate some real hide behind the covers fear for the reader, but both seems to bottom out long before the end.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great horror adventure 24 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've read the book and also read some negative reviews.
As someone who ventures frequently in the mountains I could totally identify with the characters and how they must felt. Nevill does a good job giving the feeling of the dense forest, the isolation of the place and the helplessness of been so far away from civilization and help.
The book is a journey, and as such it must be seen. It is not an action book, and if someone anticipates something like that, then this is not the book for him. Someone mentioned a long ending, but it's all part of the story, part of the journey. Cutting short would spoil the adventure and all the previous chapters spent describing the hell the four guys went through.
Were they unprepared? Yes, they were, but you know, this happens in real life. Many times I had with me people in the mountains that would be unfit, but took them with me just because they were so excited about it. This is life. You cannot exclude a friend from an activity - right or wrong, this is a reality.
For me, Nevill's book was a great reading, and kept me company for many nights. I didn't want it to end.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible! 6 Nov 2011
Having picked up this book in my usual hurry to work, I didn't realise just what I was about to discover. The first Adam Nevill book I have read and it immediately found a place at number 1 on my beloved book list.

I've always loved a good horror story and mostly the ones that play unashamedly on your physce and senses but this is just something that goes beyond that. Every part of your mind is opened to the deep seated fears and horrors within you by taking you further and further into the darkness and by making you realise that it's only the beginning.

This isn't just a horror story though, it goes further than that, yes it scares the hell out of you at times as you can totally find yourself there, the point where he wakes and is being watched by them is just breathtaking stuff of nightmares! But it hows it feeds into your mind, all of the things that you keep locked away and never share with anyone, are all unlocked and brought to the forefront of your mind and it makes you see humankind stripped down to it's very bare bones, physically, mentally and emotionally. It hurts, it scares, it awakens and it fills you with the thought of life and death and all thats in between. At times I cried at the sheer raw emotion of it all. It's beautiful.

If you're an avid book reader but not necessarily of horror, please please take time to read this book, it's an outstanding piece of work from an outstanding talent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a worthy rival to Mo Hayder! 19 Oct 2011
By Chloe
Format:Kindle Edition
So pleased I stumbled across The Ritual! I struggle to find horror writers that are as chilling as Mo Hayder but I've finally found one in Adam Nevill. I recommend reading late at night for maximum effect - I'm not easily scared but The Ritual had me listening out for a creak or bump in the middle of the night. Or was it a hoof?.... Am looking forward to getting my hands on his first two books.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nevill Just Gets Better 17 Jun 2011
If you go down to the woods today, whatever you do, heed this one warning: don't take The Ritual with. It'll scare the sense of adventure right out of you.

Hot on the heels of last year's smash hit horror Apartment 16, rising star Adam Nevill returns to wreak havoc on your dreams once more - and on career-best form, for The Ritual is superb. It is from start to finish a far more ambitious book than its predecessor, for the larger part a substantially more effective one, and wreathed throughout with such wonderfully evocative exposition as to engender an atmosphere equal parts awful and exquisite.

But let's meet the gang.

Our main man, Luke, is in truth a bit of a layabout. Having bounced from job to job back home, and woman to woman - but of course - he looks back on his years at Uni, when he shared a Birmingham bedsit with Hutch and Dom and Phil, as "the best days of his life. Of all their lives, he liked to think." (p.45) But that was lifetime ago, and though he and Hutch have kept in touch, hiking together all their adult lives, Luke fears he's grown apart from Phil and Dom... or else them from him. He's right to be afraid.

One drunken night at a wedding reception, the former flatmates plot to renew their acquaintance. Six months later, they meet together in Sweden, to tramp and camp in the pristine wilderness of the North. All too soon, however, tensions begin to flare, and it becomes apparent that neither Phil nor Dom are fit enough to blaze the trail our dab hands had planned. A short-cut is negotiated, through a forest a ways away from the beaten track. The boys go "off piste," where "there are no trails." (p.9)

Bad move.

Because something is waiting for them in the woods.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read.
Published 6 days ago by Rach294
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing but started so well
Like other reviews I've read about this book, I really enjoyed the first half but was sadly disappointed by the second half. It was like it was written by someone else. Read more
Published 11 days ago by GreenKing
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother - Read microwave manual instead
I must have been reading the wrong book according to all the other reviews.

It started off well but it became rather tedious and to be honest really boring. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Andy Scott
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor
Started off well. But half way it started to becoming tedious. Last 100 pages just painful. It's not often I wish I hadn't read a book but this is top of that list. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alison
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
This book is fantastic, riveting, harrowing, frightening, mixing tragedy so closely on the heels of terror you can barely get your breath.. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. B
4.0 out of 5 stars very good read
A book that made me feel uncomfortable ,in a good horror story way.
My first book by Adam nevill ,I will be reading another.
Published 2 months ago by Mr A Driver
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written tension
This is the best intense read for years....
Brilliantly written to the point i felt i was there with the 4 friends.
Atmosphere so thick you could cut it with a knife
Published 2 months ago by M. Gribby
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
This was a brilliant read that I picked up cheaply after reading Stephen King's sequel to The Shining. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Elainedeastolat
3.0 out of 5 stars Frustratingly inconsistent
As other reviewers have said, this is a book of two halves, although I don't necessarily feel the second half spoils the rest because he couldn't have continued the "lost in a... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read
I haven't read a horror book for years but saw a positive review for this book and was not at all disappointed. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Brucey72
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