The Ritual - Adam Nevill “And on the third day things did not get better. The rain fell hard and cold, the white sun never broke through the low grey cloud, and they were lost. But it was the dead thing they found hanging from a tree that changed the trip beyond recognition.”

I have always been a fan of Adam Neville since the Banquet of the Dammed and believe he is firmly as the forefront of the British horror revival of recent years which this gripping and disturbing novel confirms.

Four old university friends go on a walking holiday in the wildness of sub-Arctic Sweden. However they are not the men they were once, mentally and physically, people change over time and soon tensions rise between the characters. When it is clear that, due to their lack of fitness, two of the party cannot continue, a shortcut rather than the intended route, invariably , proves a disaster.

Hungry, thirsty and injured they struggle through one of the last great, ancient forests in Europe. Things couldn’t get any worse…but they do… much worse.
As they make their way, hopelessly lost, through the forest it becomes clear that they are being hunted by some primordial beast/being that begins to pick them off one by one……

If ever there was a book of two halves this is it… the first half is breathless, panicky and shot though incredulity. The second section…is drawn out and painful with the one surviving character almost resigned to his fate.

This is superb storytelling. It is atmospheric and imaginative with a compulsive writing style that keeps the reader turning those pages although feeling exhausted by the horror and despair experienced by the four friends. The Ritual reminded me of one of my favourite author’s stories ‘The Wendigo’ by Algernon Blackwood…animistic spirits or primal creature that defies explanation

There seems to be a rise of primordial themed horror recently, [b:The Leaping|7897941|The Leaping|Tom Fletcher||11143037] and [b:The Darkening|6935586|The Darkening|Stephen M. Irwin||7162491] and now this….I like it!