by Adam Nevill
Pan Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780230754928
Date: 06 May 2011 List Price £12.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK /
Uncorrected Proof Copy: It's hard to believe that it's seven years since I reviewed Neville's super-creepy M.R. Jamesean spook story Banquet For The Damned - it's a book that has certainly stayed with me in the intervening time. It was duly trumped tenfold when Neville's brilliant Apartment 16 (follow the link for my review) was released by Pan Macmillanlast May, the first title in a auction deal in which Macmillan triumphed. Now the second book in that deal, The Ritual is due for release this coming May - which is clearly becoming the fashionable month for Neville fans to be scared out of their wits!
"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. 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 with one another. 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.
With limited fitness and experience between them, 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, Luke figures 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 dry floors. The residue of old rites and pagan sacrifice 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..."