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Midnight Sun Hardcover – Sep 13 1990


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (Sept. 13 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0356186504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0356186504
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.2 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,617,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
In Midnight Sun, Ramsey Campbell attempted to write a novel in the traditional, atmospheric horror style; in my opinion, he had only limited success in doing so. I have seen a couple of people place this novel alongside the best of Algernon Blackwood and Arthur Machen, but in my opinion it falls far short of such a lofty mark. I don't think it is in any way Lovecraftian either, I should add. I've read a good many of Campbell's novels, and this is by far the most problematic of the bunch for me. The story is built around some type of preternaturally remarkable presence lurking within the forest outside Ben Sterling's childhood home, a presence that has called Ben home to unwittingly pursue its agenda of remaking the world in its own ice-cold image. The first section of the novels introduces us to Ben as a child. As an eight-year-old, he runs away from his aunt's home and makes his way to the gravesite of his family, all of whom had recently died in an automobile accident. Just before he can figure something mysterious out, he is returned to the home of his aunt, where we find him perusing the stories written by a singular ancestor of his, tales and legends brought home from the northern lands of the midnight sun. His aunt seems quite wary of the book and gets rid of it, but the stories have already planted themselves in Ben's mind. We then jump to the present, which finds Ben moving back to the Sterling home of his childhood with his wife Ellen, daughter Margaret, and son Ben. From that point on, it's one incredibly drawn-out process of watching Ben change as the mysterious forces at work in the dark forest prepare the way for the mysterious reawakening of a force older than man.Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ellen is worried about her husband, successful children's book author Ben Sterling. Ever since inheriting the family house in isolated Stargrave, his old childhood demons have been reemerging. Ben's father was crazy - he traveled to the ends of the earth researching legends of the midnight sun, and committed suicide by stripping naked in a snowy clearing - and Ellen is beginning to be afraid Ben might just be a chip off the old block.
But soon something starts scaring her worse - Ben's insistence that an eldritch god is awakening in Stargrave to reshape the planet in its image seems less a fantasy than when he and his crazy father first started spouting the idea. Stargrave is changing. It's getting colder. More isolated. The trees, the snow, the very frost itself, increasingly appears to be rearranging itself into that god's own image. Which means, perhaps, that Ben isn't a madman at all, but a genuine prophet - and if that is the case, then the end of the world is at hand...
This is one of Campbell's best, and that's saying a lot. The novel is uneven, and could have been structured better, but overall it's a steadily mounting masterpiece of menace. It's most reminiscent of Algernon Blackwood and H. P. Lovecraft, in that its horror is genuinely cosmic and never truly seen except for the effects of its presence. Dramatically, it's highly reminiscent of Stephen King's The Shining, in that a snowbound woman protects her children from her increasingly unstable (and quite possibly dangerous) husband, with an unseen supernatural being influencing events from the frozen shadows.
Sadly - like most of Campbell's best work - this book is out of print, but it's well worth trying to find anyway if you're a fan of well-crafted, creep-up-behind-you horror.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Something Frigid This Way Comes... Aug. 21 2002
By Bruce Rux - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ellen is worried about her husband, successful children's book author Ben Sterling. Ever since inheriting the family house in isolated Stargrave, his old childhood demons have been reemerging. Ben's father was crazy - he traveled to the ends of the earth researching legends of the midnight sun, and committed suicide by stripping naked in a snowy clearing - and Ellen is beginning to be afraid Ben might just be a chip off the old block.
But soon something starts scaring her worse - Ben's insistence that an eldritch god is awakening in Stargrave to reshape the planet in its image seems less a fantasy than when he and his crazy father first started spouting the idea. Stargrave is changing. It's getting colder. More isolated. The trees, the snow, the very frost itself, increasingly appears to be rearranging itself into that god's own image. Which means, perhaps, that Ben isn't a madman at all, but a genuine prophet - and if that is the case, then the end of the world is at hand...
This is one of Campbell's best, and that's saying a lot. The novel is uneven, and could have been structured better, but overall it's a steadily mounting masterpiece of menace. It's most reminiscent of Algernon Blackwood and H. P. Lovecraft, in that its horror is genuinely cosmic and never truly seen except for the effects of its presence. Dramatically, it's highly reminiscent of Stephen King's The Shining, in that a snowbound woman protects her children from her increasingly unstable (and quite possibly dangerous) husband, with an unseen supernatural being influencing events from the frozen shadows.
Sadly - like most of Campbell's best work - this book is out of print, but it's well worth trying to find anyway if you're a fan of well-crafted, creep-up-behind-you horror.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Feel the chill of the Midnight Sun March 28 2006
By Deejaytee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A creepy chilling tale of supernatural horror. Perhaps not one of Campbells best but still very good. This tale will have you bolting your doors and locking your windows- as well as turning the furnace up to ward off that evil chill in the air that this book is sure to deliver.I found that this book is a great read but does have some slow parts. Definitely worth reading.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
very good horror June 5 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Outstanding horror novel. Campbell has a gift, and, when he's on, he can write some of the most subtle, exquistely unsettling horror around. This novel is an excellent showcase for his skill. Things don't make sense in Campbell's world. Even when the beasties come out of the closet, you won't get a sense that you understand the forces at work, or that you can somehow predict what they're going to do next. This has a way of keeping you on your toes, and keeping you scared.
Vintage, Lyrical Campbell May 16 2014
By Brandon Berntson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I admit, I love Ramsey Campbell. I have read most of his work for the last twenty years, and I just recently read Midnight Sun again for the second time. Campbell's tales all have a sense of dread and sadness woven throughout. There is something ominous hovering at the edges, and he makes you care about the characters to such an extent, you almost wish nothing bad would happen to them. But it is horror, and it is dark. Only Campbell can write about the darkness in such a beautiful way, and Midnight Sun is no exception. I was loving many of the passages near the end of the book when it was all coming to a climax. It has always been one of my favorites. You will shiver with the cold, because Campbell makes you feel it when the winter comes in Midnight Sun. If you are a fan of dark fiction, Ramsey Campbell is a must for your shelf. I have never read an author who delivers so consistently with each novel he writes and have yet to read anything by him I haven't liked.
Horror Novel Reviews: Honesty in the Terror Aug. 2 2013
By Horror Novel Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ramsey Campbell, "Britain's most respected living horror writer" (according to the Oxford Companion to English Literature), has become my new favorite horror author. His ability to tap into the undercurrents of horror that flow through the human subconscious brings the reader along with ever growing glimpses into the dark. Campbell doesn't depend on the shock value of gore, but slyly ushers us to the final depths of darkness and suddenly drops us off into the deep end.

In Midnight Sun, we start the journey with the event that changes young Ben Sterling's life. "A small boy runs away from his aunt's house, back to the village of Stargrave, where strangeness awaits him in the churchyard." The story picks up twenty years later when Ben, a writer of children's fairy tales, and his wife, who illustrates his books, inherits the family home in Stargrave, England. With their two children they make the decision to move to Sterling House, grand and austere, surrounded by Sterling Forest and overlooking the small English village.

From the first glimpse of a white face in a window on the third floor of the unoccupied house to the Ben's ultimate discovery of the meaning of his grandfather's mysterious life and death, Campbell's early influence from Algernon Blackwood and Lovecraft's Cthulhu Myths is evident in the way that the old myths and fairy tales reflect a deeper meaning of the monsters that inhabit our memories, and that sometimes those monsters are real.

If you're looking for blood and guts, I'd give this one a pass. But if you enjoy your horror served cold and creepy, Midnight Sun by Ramsey Campbell is sure to leave you worrying about the shadow that you just saw out of the corner of your eye.

Written by Selena Wolff from Horror Novel Reviews. Horror Novel Reviews does not receive payment for reviews. All books are promotional copies.

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