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The House of Lost Souls

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  1,092 ratings  ·  161 reviews
The Fischer House was the scene of a vicious crime in the 1920s - a crime which still resonates as the century turns. At its heart was a beautiful, enigmatic woman called Pandora Gibson-Hoare, a photographer of genius whose only legacy is a handful of photographs and the clues to a mystery.
Paperback, 343 pages
Published March 6th 2008 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published November 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
first off, although there is an Evil House at its center, this is not a haunted house story, not really. it is rather the tale of two men pitted against ghosts of the distant past and the evils those ghosts have conjured up. and a rather starry set of ghosts they are, as they feature such celebrities as Aleister Crowley and Dennis Wheatley. the narrative moves all over place, through various locales and backwards in time as well. but outside of the climax, very little time is actually spent with...more

I truly savored the last few pages of this book ... I could have finished it MUCH SOONER, but I just couldn't bear to say goodbye to it. it kind of reminds me of how I felt reading December, a book I
was very sad to see end. I CANNOT wait to read this author's new books!!! I think Dark Echo & Magdalena's Curse are the other titles.

Such intricate orchestration of multiple timelines leading to a present-day conclusion. I love that theme, in films as well as books. Such poetry of prose. The Eng...more
When I was a kid reading a good book meant immersing myself in the story so deeply that often coming back to the "real world" was like waking up from a dream. That rarely happens now that I'm an adult, there's a part of my brain that always remains distant from the story and never really stops thinking about things like groceries and whether the dog needs a bath. I miss that feeling of really losing myself in a book and am always on the lookout for a book that can help me recreate it. I am happy...more
an absolutely wonderful novella wrapped in a rather mediocre slog of a book.

If the tale were just about Paul Seaton and his experience with the house and perhaps the diary of the photographer, this would be a five stars must read low key tale of obsession and consequence of one man's brush with evil, but that it starts with a special forces guy hiding in the trees to watch his sister attend a funeral and ends with a string of conceits and coincidences rather than natural plotting and strength of...more
Geraldine O'Hagan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A good supernatural thriller is a rare thing, and one doesn’t expect it of a writer in their first novel. But Cottam manages a story on his first time out that combines suspenseful horror with actual good writing.

Paul Seaton had a run in with horror at the deserted Fischer House several years before the story begins, but thinks he has put it behind him. Then four students enter the house. One commits suicide and the other three are edging into madness. Seaton must face Fischer House again to sa...more
An ethics class inquiring into the nature of evil visits the Fischer House, an ancient mansion on the Isle of Wight. Now one of the girls is dead and the others are deteriorating. The enigmatic Malcolm Covey asks Paul Seaton to help them. Paul visited the Fischer House twelve years ago and, while it destroyed his world, he still survived it. Will the Fischer House let him survive a second time?

The set-up of House of Lost Souls describes a haunted house story, but the bulk of the narrative concer...more
Tim Niland
Paul Seaton is a broken man. He lost his girlfriend, his job and for a while his sanity after his obsession with a beautiful and enigmatic 1920's flapper photographer leads him to investigate the notoriously haunted Fischer House on the Isle of Wight. Years later, after four students enter the house on a lark, one is dead by suicide and the three others hover near insanity. Joining forces with the brother of one of the stricken students, Paul returns to Fisher House to end the horror once and fo...more
In my opinion, this is a nearly perfect spooky book. It certainly gives a lot of authors a run for their money. The Fischer House is haunted by a beast summoned from beyond and a cast of ghosts. It wreaks havoc on the lives of a group of female students of philosophy who are interested in the "problem" of evil incarnate. Nick Mason's sister is one of the girls and he is willing to sacrifice his own life to help her recover from her experience. This leads Nick to consult Paul Seaton, a survivor o...more
I should have liked this book. After all, it's about the paranormal, the occult, 1920s flappers, and has a pretty cover to show for it. And yet, it wasn't as good as I expected at all.

Some of the detailed descriptions in this book were amazing, and there were some interesting moments as well.

However, for the most part I found it to be extremeley confusing, for one thing. After having read it, I'm not quite sure I'd understood everything. The first two chapters of the book were quite difficult t...more
The House of Lost Souls is a creepy story with some truly spine tingling moments.

I was nervous when the story starts to unfold and learned that a group of students entered a long abandoned haunted mansion to study evil. I’ve seen a movie or two with a similar premise, a group entering a creepy mansion to do some sort of study (The Haunting and it’s spoof Scary Movie 2 come to mind right away).

Luckily, The House of Lost Souls doesn’t follow the same worn path as the films. In fact there is very...more
Sod it. I'm not giving it another 40 pages, I think 110 pages to give a book a chance is absolutely plenty! I am extremely disappointed, I picked this book up from the library excited, I thought what a great premise it has, maybe I've found another Peter James type of author to follow (pre crime fiction days-his horror was much better). Alas, it wasn't to be....because quite honestly I didn't like this at all. I really should have given it one stars but given the thought behind it having a good...more
Angela Wade
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mallory Heart Reviews
Feb 27, 2012 Mallory Heart Reviews rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Literary Fiction, Historical, Horror, Supernatural, Mystery
What a superb book-and an author I am going to watch for! I was reminded throughout of the joy which reading John Harwood’s “The Ghost Writer“ brought to me. “House of Lost Souls” has that same slowed-down, gentle, “Between the Wars” pace, that same sense of barely-concealed secretiveness, the sense of mysteries piled in on themselves like matruska dolls. So many layers atop layers in this book, and every one a marvel. This is a book worth reading, buying, and keeping for reread.

“House of Lost S...more
Sep 22, 2009 Brett rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Horror fans of all kinds and anyone with an interest in mysticism.
Shelves: have-read
I just finished The House of Lost Souls and have not been able to stop thinking about it. This is one of the best books I have read this year, maybe even in the past few years.
This is horror of a different kind. The kind where your skin crawls, you jump at shadows and feel eyes watching always.

I can't say much without giving it away except to saay that if you are any kind of horror fan, you MUST read this book. You will not regret it. Except you might end up a little more jumpy.
Oct 30, 2009 Nancy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nancy by: Laura
Shelves: fiction, supernatural
This is a perfect Halloween or any-other-time scare yourself story. The book is well written and hard to leave once you get started.
Cottam centers his book on a group of college students who become hysterical after spending some time in the haunted Fischer house, and there are some real historical characters in this book -- Dennis Wheatley and Aleister Crowley. The students, one who commits suicide and others who are sedated after their harrowing experiences in the house, are of this time. The...more
Vitor Frazão
“A casa das almas perdidas” é tipo de livro que me faz lembrar porque adoro géneros como o horror, o policial e o romance histórico, sendo composto por uma mistura de empatia pelas personagens e assombro silencioso perante o terror dissimulado existente no quotidiano.

Se moralismos ou banal bidimensionalidade Cottam apresenta-nos uma demanda do Bem contra o Mal, no qual o último parece uma presença constante, capaz de reduzir o primeiro à insignificância.

As personagens e a história estão bem con...more
Apr 06, 2010 Lucy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes creepy reads
The House of Lost Souls
This is a great haunted house story. It contains sorcery, ghosts and all the twists and turns you can imagine. It is one of the creepiest and chilling stories I've read in a while. Four college students visit the Fischer House (located in a secluded wood on the Isle of Wight, very atmospheric) to research the nature of evil. Afterward, one commits suicide and the other three are insane. The imagery is the best! Young Mr. Breene's description of his first encounter with Al...more
Atmospheric chiller, this story unfolds with a mounting sense of uneasiness as its hero tries to confront the evil that has wrecked his life. It's a spooky story that relies on character and fine storytelling rather than guts and gross-out moments to draw the reader on. At its heart is a young reporter, Paul Seaton, who is enjoying an idyllic relationship in the flush of Eighties London. This central section of the book is evoked wonderfully with its clubs, pubs art-school fashionistas and music...more
I love how reading and life collide. My obsession with "Twilight" then Edward- Rob Pattinson lead me to Dennis Wheatley, who is one of the supremely creepy haunts in this book. Through Paul's retelling of his harrowing experience and the diaries of Pandora Gibson-Hoare, we learn the details of an experiment in 1937 at Fischer House that has nearly destroyed Paul and threatens the remaining students. It is hard sometimes to separate the present from the past, Seaton's endeavors sprinkled with shi...more
F.G.COTTAM: “The novel deals with the modern repercussions of events set in the 1920s and 1930s that involved black magic as practised by the elite of English and continental European society. I'd call it a historical mystery with a strong element of the occult. It does involve haunting and it involves a haunted house. It is located mostly in London, but the house of the title is on the Isle of Wight.”

This was a wonderful, haunting book to read…original and so totally believable that I found my...more
Very scary -- the genuinely spooky atmosphere and portents of evil kept my attention from beginning to end.

However, this book could have used a stern edit. Some of the prose and even scenes were incomprehensible, even on multiple readings. And the narrative was glossed over in places, where the MC had an epiphany -- "This must be the way it happened!" -- and the reader was expected to take that speculation as fact, with very little evidence presented. The characterization of Pandora Gibson-Hoar...more
Fantastic! An original, inventive and brilliantly involving read, this is both a compelling mystery and a genuinely unnerving ghost story. I felt truly drawn in by the secrets of the Fischer house and the unorthodox nature of the 'hauntings', and found myself constantly eager to know more. However, there's just too many simple errors and annoying instances of repetition - which, I feel, could easily have been ironed out before the novel was published - and they were noticeable enough to taint my...more
Aug 19, 2014 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: horror
A more effective story than Dark Echo, the first book of this author's that I read. Excellent characters, good atmosphere, fine writing, an intriguing storyline and a perfect length.

Others have described the story in more than sufficient depth so I'll just focus on the atmosphere or, more correctly, the atmosphere's impact on me. I actually felt myself living through the main protagonist's journey, downbeat when he was suffering, scared when he was scared. When he first stepped into the house, I...more
This was an interesting book. It's kind of all over the place, stylistically - the story is told through letters, flashbacks, etc. While this usually makes things better (and it probably does help here, too) the voices between the characters aren't different enough to make this technique work as well as it could.

I wasn't wild about the use of real people as ghosts here. While it lends some credence to the story, it didn't help enough. I don't mind 'name dropping', but making them actual charact...more
I really savored every page of this haunting novel. I especially enjoyed Cottam's multilayered story, his descriptions, characters, and his use of the English language to tell the story. The novel starts out at a funeral of a young girl who had committed suicide after visiting a house on the Isle of Wight with a group of other young women. The house was formerly owned and used by Klaus Fischer who was the head of a coven of spiritualists or witches. The funeral is attended by the brother of anot...more
The cover is mysterious, creepy, and gorgeous all at the same time. However, after reading the entire story, I'm still not sure who the person is supposed to be on the front cover of the hardcover edition? I had high hopes for this book but it wasn't as great a horror story as I thought it would be. It was more a tale about evil and how it can inhabit a home because of the evil people who dwell inside it.

The beginning started out creepy but then the story started to become chaotic as it reverted...more
This was a good ghost story, and a good take on the whole thelemic, demonic ritual type story that Nevill tries to do but doesn't do half so well. I enjoyed Cottam's forays into the past and his use of real historical figures like Crowley to flesh out his tale without bogging it down with too much detail. Well written with a satisfied ending, which the haunted house genre doesn't usually do so well.
M.D. Meyer
There were a number of things I liked about this story. The plot was intriguing and kept me reading despite the excessively wordy writing style. The flashbacks and journal for telling the story worked well. There was some suspense but nothing was scary. In fact during the middle of the book when the main character's first visit to the Fischer house was happening, I was surprise that the suspense build up ended so abruptly. Given the very lengthy descriptions elsewhere in the story, if there had...more
Lois Mae
I feel a bit odd about this book, which I think is a good thing. It has left me pondering about how I feel. On the one hand it has aspects that I am massively interested in 1920s occultism and society. It also starts in Hull...yay! However there are so many narrative jumps that I was left eager to return to the world that Seaton was exploring but was not so find of the investigation itself. I did get the chills once whilst reading which is fab! But there was not enough of that for me to give thi...more
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Reading is a cheap and totally effective way of being transported to another world. The same is true of writing. Mundane concerns only afflict your characters if you decide you want them to.
University was where I first thought seriously about fiction; hearing about Hemingway's iceberg theory and Eliot's objective correlative and having the luxury of time to ponder on the mechanics of the novel.
More about F.G. Cottam...
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