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The Lair of the White Worm (Penguin Classics)

2.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,188 Ratings  ·  224 Reviews

An ancient evil walks among them.

When Adam Salton arrives at his grand-uncle's Derbyshire estate he quickly senses that a macabre and malevolent force is at work. In his attempts to uncover the grisly mystery he encounters the chilling Lady Arabella and the obsessive Edgar Caswall, each harbouring their own dark and dreadful desires.

To his horror, Adam discovers that

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published (first published 1911)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 20, 2013 Robert rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Misogynist racists with no literary discernment.
You might like this book if you believe in the intrinsic superiority of the white peoples over other races, particularly black folks. Since I really don't feel that way I found myself getting more and more irate until the "savage", intrinsically "primitive" "nigger" got killed off whilst attempting murder. One might of course, think that this was the view of the other characters only and it should not be infered that Stoker believed it. Unfortunately, Oolanga is a "nigger" to the narrator, too a ...more
Nov 07, 2015 Yamini rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-print, classics, sff
This is the 3rd Penguin Red classic book that I’ve read this month and the 2nd which is filled with racist and sexist messages. What a horrible way to end October!

To get my rage over with, let me take a moment and bitch a little about the racism. The “n” word is a trigger in society today but I am fully aware that at one point, it was nothing but a word (though obviously demeaning), so I would’ve happily let this book be what it is despite the fact that it uses the word “n” as commonly as we use
Jan 21, 2012 Lavinia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic, classics, horror
Written one year before Stoker's death and soon after one of his strokes, this one is a weird novel. With a strange set of characters that get involved in hair-rising adventures and afterwords talk about them like nothing out of the ordinary happened. Edgar Caswall develops a maddening obsession for a kite meant to scare the pigeons in their annual migration from Africa, Adam Salton has a passion for snake-killing mongooses, Mimi Watford and her cousin Lilla, delicate young ladies are endowed wi ...more
Jun 28, 2012 Sandy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is indeed one strange little book, but I agree with no less a critic than H.P.Lovecraft when he says that the central idea--that of an ancient serpent who survives into the "modern" 19th century and exerts a malign influence on the living--is a good one. But the execution IS rather poorly done. This is not the masterpiece that is "Dracula," nor even the well-put-together read of "Jewel of Seven Stars." Stoker could have used a good copy editor on this book. For example, in one scene, Mimi, ...more
Adam Salton, un joven australiano, acepta la invitación de su tío abuelo para viajar a Inglaterra, concretamente a su finca de Lesser Hill. Además de para conocerse mejor, el señor Salton desea que Adam conozca de primera mano las leyendas y ruinas locales, entre las que destaca la historia de una profundidad abisal en la que reside una criatura primigenia, el Gusano Blanco.

Dentro de la trama principal se encuentran algunas subtramas interesantes, que protagonizan Edgar Caswall, un vecino propie
Dec 08, 2010 JackieB rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ghost
When I started to read this I thought it was a parody of gothic books but I soon realised it's just badly conceived. After I read it I found out that Bram Stoker was really ill when he wrote it and I think that explains a lot. The mystery of the white worm was solved because characters accepted crazy theories as true based on no evidence at all and just about all of the characters did some bizarre things for no apparent reason. There were also some places where I don't think the plot really made ...more
Jun 04, 2012 Nickolas rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
*Warning may contain spoilers but really you shouldn't care...

I hated this book. With a quarter left I cracked it and gave into the ridiculousness of the writing, the characters, and the dialogue. I think Bram Stoker was drunk writing this one and I certainly wanted to be to get me through the end. Being the last book that Bram ever wrote, which was published a year before he died (of possible syphilis related causes), I thought that it would be one of his better ones. It wasn’t.

The story is dra
So kann es einem ergehen, wenn man Bücher aufgrund des Covers kauft:
THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM ist ein Zugunglück von Roman, den ich nach 80 Seiten entnervt beiseite gelegt habe.
Dabei war ich an der pulpig-schönen Vintage Ausgabe von Arrow Books nicht vorbei gekommen und dann doppelt begeistert, als ich feststellte, dass Stokers Roman die Vorlage für Ken Russells mega schrillen Film BISS DER SCHLANGENFRAU ist, den ich großartig finde.

THE LAIR beginnt recht stimmungsvoll, wenn auch nicht gerade
Christmas gift from my boyfriend

The Lair Of The White Worm was a confusing and flawed book that begins in dull conversation, features an entire town going insane because of birds and a kite, and ends in a giant explosion.

It was the written form of an Ed Wood movie -- trite dialogue, scenes randomly abutting each other in what I view to be the written form of stock footage usage, and a giant explosion at the end. Because really, how else were they going to end it?
Jul 23, 2016 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4:
It's 1870 in Derbyshire's High Peak district. While on a visit to his elderly uncle in the tiny village of Penda's Dale, Adam Salton - already shocked by the oppressive melancholic atmosphere in the village - quickly realises that the disappearance of several local men is not accidental.

His investigations lead him to the discovery of a terrifying and ancient secret: a malevolent force is at work in Penda's Dale.

Bram Stoker's gothic tale of horror adapted by Brian Wright.

Nov 20, 2012 Dorothea rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
(This review was originally published in 2008 as "the assiest book I have ever read" on the short-lived livejournal community "thisbookisass." Follow the link for an illustration and nicer formatting!)

After reporting to you on Dracula I decided that it might be fun to dig a little deeper into the respectable Victorian male id by reading Stoker's last novel, The Lair of the White Worm, in which an evil sexy woman who is really an enormous ancient snake lives in a moist, smelly, dark hole and MUST
Mar 01, 2009 Ardee rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Terrible. Confused and baffling. Truly racist, with absolutely no justification for the usual argument that is trotted out that things where different when Stoker was writing.

The only reason to read this book would be as an example of:- racism, convoluted plot, melodramatic nonsense passed off as drama.

Christian Laforet
Jul 11, 2016 Christian Laforet rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! That may have been, no exaggeration, the worst book I’ve ever read. I’m not kidding here, there is almost no part of The Lair of the White Worm that I enjoyed.

So why was this sucker so awful? Well, let me tell you!

The Lair of the White Worm is surprisingly poorly written. I only say ‘surprisingly’ because I’ve never read Stoker before (never got around to Dracula), but as far as I know, the man is highly regarded. So imagine my surprise when I dove into this book only to find the writing so
Dara Salley
Aug 25, 2015 Dara Salley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
“The Lair of the White Worm” is undoubtedly one of the most repulsive books I’ve ever read. I should have read the other Goodreads patrons reviews of this novel before I picked it up. They mostly agree with my assessment.

The very worst part of the book is the prominent role of Oolonga, an African slave brought to England in the service of the villain of the novel, Casewell. I’ve read other books where unfortunate, outdated prejudices leak into the narrative, but Bram Stoker harps on the evil, sa
Mar 28, 2015 Sheri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
So, I think I'm the only one here who thought this book was laugh-out-loud hysterically funny. I'm feeling like the odd duck on goodreads this morning. Let me make clear, this is a 1 star novel. Except it made me laugh--A LOT--and I really like to laugh, so I bumped it a star. It made me laugh (in fact) the way that Lady Arabella laughed: "Lady Arabella was not usually a humorous person, but no man or woman of the white race could have checked the laughter which rose spontaneously to her lips. T ...more
Dave Morris
Here is what I wrote about this book in my school exercise book in 1968:

"On Saturday I went into Woking and bought three paperbacks. One was called The Lair of the White Worm. It was written by Bram Stoker, writer of Dracula. It was about a snake, a white one, that is intelligent. It can change into human form and is evil."

To this my teacher, Mrs Graham, responded: "Why do you always read the same type of book David [sic]? Try some of Arthur Ransom [sic], Sir Walter Scott, D.K. Broster etc."

I had associated this book with the Ken Russel movie. I haven't seen the movie, but knowing it's Ken Russel I assumed it would be crazy. But probably not, in some ways, as crazy as the book! A young man comes to England from Australia and helps his great uncle uncover a monster living in the neighborhood.

I was unprepared for how racist the book was. One of two villains has a black companion usually referred to by slurs. Also his terrible qualities are always described as being typical of his rac
Feb 22, 2008 Jack rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Poor written and hopelessly racist, Stoker's Lair of the White Worm is still worth reading if you have an interest in end-of-the-century fears over the degeneration of the British nation.
May 06, 2015 Neil rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

My first one star rating . Pretty much agree with all the other reviews.
Michael Fierce
Eventually I'll pick this book up once I find a cover edition I like.

For now, I think this one's a hoot but I can't figure what the cover has to do with the story!


...and I love this one! :)

Sep 01, 2012 Capsguy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-irish
Sorely disappointed.
Aug 29, 2015 Jerry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
“I never thought this fighting an antediluvian monster would be such a complicated job.”

It starts out as a fairly standard, albeit more racist than usual, adventure story, probably involving an old manor and an evil villain. Then, they go from wondering why a pet mongoose attacked Lady Arabella to thinking she is the reincarnation of an ancient white worm, in the span of a couple of pages and less evidence.

They then similarly, later on, go from random musings about the nature of self-evolution i
Bram Stoker will always be remembered for Dracula, a horror classic which continues to enjoy enduring popularity. The Lair of the White Worm, arguably his second most famous novel, was published the year before Stoker's death, and written at a time when the author's health was failing. His waning abilities are sadly apparent in the latter, which despite an intriguing premise, is a rather silly and preposterous book. The writing itself is not bad, or at least no worse than the typical middle-brow ...more
Apr 12, 2011 Mazel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Présentation de l'éditeur :

Arthur Severn, jeune Anglais qui vient d hériter de la fortune de sa tante, découvre le Connemara, s éprend de Norah Joyce, dont le père est honteusement spolié par Murtagh Murdock, l odieux « Gombeen Man », usurier rural détesté par toute la communauté paysanne. Il aide son ami Dick Sutherland, géologue, à sonder la « tourbière mouvante » qui, à en croire des récits divers, serait à la fois le repaire ultime du Roi des Serpents (St Patrick n ayant pas réussi à le chas
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 25, 2012 ѦѺ™ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
But the worm got fat an' grewed an' grewed, An' grewed an aaful size; He'd greet big teeth, a greet big gob, An greet big goggly eyes. - C M Leumane, The Lambton Worm (1867)

Bram Stoker, Irish author of the immortal classic Dracula, wrote The Lair of the White Worm a year before his death in 1912. also known as The Garden of Evil, it was published in 1911 by Rider and Son in the United Kingdom.
this novel is certainly one of the strangest and weirdest books i have ever read. most of the characters
Greg Heaney
Jan 06, 2010 Greg Heaney rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Lovers of Dracula beware! If you were attracted to Stoker's famous novel of vampire hunting, and loved his eloquent speech, wonderful interweaving of plot lines and his revolutionary approach to horror, you should probably avoid this book. It reads like a novel written more for practice than anything. There is a lot of sneaking around, stealing of mongooses and generally wondering what the hell is going on. While the general plot is easy to follow, the specific actions that characters are taking ...more
Id Davidovich
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book started quite well. An interesting folk story about a giant worm inhabiting the countryside for a 1000 years. But very shortly after that it just stopped making sense! I'm not sure what was worse in this book the sexism or the racism! Probably the racism, I've never read any book that had the word "nigger" used SO many times! I'm not sure why flying a giant kite turned someone mad. I don't understand why a powerful supernatural creature who'd existed for millenia would want to get marr ...more
Nov 02, 2013 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a terrible, terrible book. I don't normally enjoy bad books, not like I do movies, but I had a hard time putting this down.
The prose read like a fever dream. I understand that the publishers removed close to a 1/3 of the original MS. That *might* explain some of the clumsy, choppy quality of the narrative, but the story is dizzy with silliness: numerous staring matches wherein the villains attempt to take psychic control of the female protagonists, characters simply walking into one an
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Classics for Begi...: Lair fo the White Worm - Bram Stoker 9 42 Jun 01, 2014 11:11AM  
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He was born Abraham Stoker in 1847 at 15 Marino Crescent – then as now called "The Crescent" – in Fairview, a coastal suburb of Dublin, Ireland. His parents were Abraham Stoker and the feminist Charlotte Mathilda Blake Thornely. Stoker was the third of seven children. Abraham and Charlotte were members of the Clontarf Church of Ireland parish and attended the parish church (St. John the Baptist lo ...more
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“She had been to a tea-party with an antediluvian monster, and that they had been waited on by up-to-date men-servants.” 3 likes
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