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The Hungry Moon

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  1,347 ratings  ·  72 reviews
A town trapped in the grip of spreading evil.

Isolated on the moors of northern England, the town of Moonwell has remained faithful to their Druid traditions and kept their old rituals alive. Right-wing evangelist Godwin Mann isn’t about to let that continue, and his intolerant brand of fundamentalism has struck a chord with the residents. But Mann goes too far when he desc
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 15th 1987 by Tor Books (first published 1986)
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Alun Harris Yes, it's one of his most accessible books. It's also very much in the vein of his strongest work: Lovecraftian horrors with an element of MR James.

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3.60  · 
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 ·  1,347 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
This is one of the scariest books I ever came across. A small English town named Moonwell is falling under a mysterious darkness caused by an evangelist who tries to christianise an ancient druid cave. Campbell really rises tension to the utmost level with his long winded style, his slow start and his shift of scenes and his shift of characters. It's no superficial reading. When you get involved with his writing and progress through the book you are highly rewarded. In Hungry Moon book you get s ...more
Edward Lorn
Jul 30, 2016 rated it liked it
2.5 stars rounded up to 3 because Goodreads can't seem to manage half stars.

This was my first experience with Ramsey Campbell and a buddy read with the ever-patient Thomas Strömquist. I came to the 80's and 90's English horror game late in life, somewhere in the ass-end of my twenties. While everyone was reading the Ramsey Campbells and the Brian Lumleys and the Clive Barkers, I was over here reading Richard Laymon, Bentley Little, and Dean Koontz, back when Koontz was considered a horror autho
Thomas Strömquist
The somewhat secluded town of Moonwell in Derbyshire has some traditions tracing back to the ancient druids, peacefully co-existing with modern day christians and secular inhabitants both, as is just the case for many places and communities. This is the fundamentalist preacher Godwin Mann determined to put and end to and he manages to win over a large portion of the residents to "his side". Rather than "dressing the cave" according to local tradition, Mann undertakes to enter it and confront wha ...more
Chris Berko
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Religious zealotry scares the crap out of me. Whenever I hear or read about some group of religious nuts that believe this or are doing that and I tell myself that people can't really believe in shit like that I have to remind myself that Jim Jones got people to willingly drink cyanide and even give it to their children and of people like David Koresh who get other people to do the craziest shit in the name of some religion or another. I have also studied a little about mob mentality and how log ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
I admire Campbell's retrained, richly nuanced and character-driven style. I find it works best in the short format, while at novel lengths a certain reticence in following through consequences blunts the edge of his horrific conceptions.

The story gets off to a good start as we see a small British town fall under the spell of a charismatic preacher - and then under the more ancient spell of the creature that takes him over. Campbell weaves together cosmic horror, paganism and our fear of deep da
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Whenever I hear people bemoaning a novel or movie of suspense and/or terror as being "too slow," I usually perk up, because as long as the pace is right, a slow-burn, slow-build effect is generally my favorite way of receiving such a story. I'm happy to say that The Hungry Moon did an exquisite job at this.

There are some truly disturbing images on display in a number of scenes, juxtaposed (and often brilliantly *paired with*) a diabolical sense of humor. I enjoyed a good laugh while in the laund
Ken McKinley
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror, own-paperback
Somewhere in the 360 pages of The Hungry Moon is a good story. I just know there is. Actually finding it is the problem. At his best, Campbell is an English version of Charles L. Grant with a smattering of King and Lovecraft thrown in, for good measure. Other times, he feels like a rambling Alzheimer's patient trying to find his way around in the dark. The atmosphere is creepy and captivating. The character development? Yeesh. Not so much. I like to pride myself with being able to keep a firm gr ...more
Feb 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People who wonder why Anne Rice has to rush through everything
Recommended to Nathan by: Stephen King
Shelves: 2018-02-february
My first DNF of 2018 at 26%. I read 210-260 books per year with a DNF rate of 1-2%.

I don't mind slow plot. I don't mind no plot, but that only works with great characters. The characters in this story suck.
Kevin Lucia
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Continuing Samhain Horror's line of reprinted Ramsey Campbell's novels is "The Hungry Moon", an eerie tale about a small England village besieged first by rabid Christian Evangelicals and then the dark, pagan, moon-worshiping force they accidentally awaken.

For the most part a smart story offering acute observations on the dangers of religious fanaticism, Campbell's usually suspenseful "quiet horror" does drag a little towards the end. Taken as a whole, however, Campbell delivers the goods, as a
Keith Deininger
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Just re-read this one. Very solid, almost classic, horror. A legendary horror writer's take on the terror of blind and ignorant faith and belief in things humanity can never hope to understand.
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
(read 8/16/2003)

If you like a good creepy story, then you'll really like this one!

The book begins with a newspaper reporter, trying to get in touch with a woman in the town of Moonwell (in England somewhere), but no one seems to have heard of the town. It is not listed in any atlas, the telephone operator has no clue of what the reporter (Nick) is talking about, and yet, Nick knew he had been there! What is going on?

On the sidelines, an American evangelist has come into Moonwell, ready to "exorc
Pam Baddeley
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, suspense
It's obvious from the start that something is wrong with the small town of Moonwell, on the edge of the Peak District. Journalist Nick suddenly remembers he has been there and knows an American schoolteacher Diane who teaches there - but he had mysteriously forgotten and no one else he asks, including telephone enquiries, have heard of it. He sets out to see Diane, who had passed on misgivings about things happening in the community, and enroute finds himself driving into - total darkness.

Cut to
Mar 05, 2013 rated it liked it
After reading "The Brothers Karamazov," "War and Peace" and then "Middlemarch" back-to-back this was a welcome lighter read. I've read a good many of Campbell's short stories, but this was my first novel. I enjoyed as modern horror novels go with loads of creepy little touches throughout that build up as it goes along. Much of the first half feels rather padded, but it mostly makes up for that later. I think the atmospherics of the novel are the most memorable part, along with it's "unputdownabl ...more
Danger Kallisti
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of horror and Ramsey Campbell
Recommended to Danger by: Liz & James
Shelves: halloween
Nobody makes a Halloween-time book like this writer. After last year's The Darkest Part of the Woods, I was really excited for similarly eerie experience. Unfortunately, I can't say that I liked it quite as well. On the one hand, the atmosphere of panic and claustrophobia he built was about as perfect as any horror writer could hope for. He's also not afraid of killing the “cute” characters, a technique of which I heartily approve. On the other hand, the ending kind of bothered me, and there wer ...more
Thomas Strömquist
In the small town of Moonwell, Midsummer is still celebrated with pagan rites, but a fundamentalist Christian preacher is determined to stop this. He enters the cave that's the focus of the old superstitions to change the old ways. But he finds something he couldn't imagine and is changed himself instead...

Lots and lots of classic and effective horror elements and Campbell has a feel for slowly building a scary atmosphere. Negatives: The book is a bit slow paced and the ending doesn't really li
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
I was really torn about this book; on the one hand, it had a great premise (a gigantic fucking Lovecraftian beast that lived on and took up most of the entire dark side of the moon is summoned by Druids 2000 years ago to kick the snot out of the Romans, it's coming back out of it's cave in the 80s to kill people), and cool details (like the headless priest romaing around blindly in the old church looking for people to kill), but it suffered from the typical Ramsey Campbell dorkiness, cliche depi ...more
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Plot Summary: Located in England’s Peaks District, the town of Moonwell is a popular tourist stop named after a large cave that dominates the surrounding moorlands. Each year on Midsummer Eve, the people of Moonwell hold a ceremony inspired by ancient Druid customs in which they decorate the cave with flowers. However, this year is different. When a charismatic Christian evangelist named Godwin Mann comes to stop the pagan tradition, Moonwell residents are quickly spellbound by his extreme relig ...more
.??? 2000s: proof that occasionally, rarely, even if not stephen king, i do read (somewhat contemporary) popular genre fiction. i have actually read this twice, some time ago, trying to figure out how this horror works, now having read hp lovecraft, i can see more of the heritage worked or deployed. not too surprising, i found the first read more effective, more involving, as once knowing how it works out it becomes less suspenseful- as i became aware of sort of structural errors, eg. long digre ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Oct 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: horror, abandoned
I was over half way through this book when I started skimming. Once I realized that I had still 100 pages to go, I abandoned it.

What's the deal with Ramsey Campbell, one of the most honored of all horror writers? Maybe if you grew up reading these as a child in England they continue to have some hold over you. But the characters are all types, mostly small-minded village types with a few liberal-thinking city dwellers thrown in. There's a religious fanatic that seizes control of a town known for
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
As Ramsey Campbell is know for his Lovecraftian passion, it is not surprising that I've read a few of his novels. The Hungry moon is one of my fav's and quite well written. It has a few slow moments but there is enough tension between the characters that I found it difficult to put down. An easy read that will probably appeal to the younger adult horror audience.

Plot ***Spoilers***
Campbell's seventh novel is set in Northern England, in the small bleak town of Moonwell, edged by moors pitted with
Feb 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I feel torn in trying to think how to review this book. On the one hand, it was effective in creating a sense of horror and feel of a nightmare. On the other hand, many of the characters behaved in annoying and infuriating ways which seriously marred my enjoyment of the book.

The reader is thrown into the horror of the situation quite quickly, contrasting noticably with some of his other novels like Midnight Sun in which it was built up most gradually over the length of the novel. Although in thi
Jun 28, 2011 rated it liked it
"The Hungry Moon" is the second book I've read by Ramsey Campbell, "Midnight Sun" being the first. I thought the latter moved at a slow and tedious pace without much happening, making the book itself quite a bore to read. "The Hungry Moon" moves at a much faster pace with more events, but it is literally seething with Campbell's deep seated aversion and city dweller-like hostility toward small rural towns. Campbell's book resonates with single-dimensional characters and stereotypical caricatures ...more
Jan 17, 2017 rated it liked it
2.5 stars out of 5. At first the scariest part of this book was the way the townsfolk turned on each other with religious zealotry. The holy rollers were very aggravating, but they were supposed to be- that aspect was well done. The evil presence and its manifestations were really cool when they made an appearance. I wanted to see more of those creepy creatures, but much of the text felt like filler that had a flow of consciousness feel that grew stale. There are a lot of repetitive descriptions ...more
Jan 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads, horror
Moonwell is a quaint town located in the Peak District of Northern England. In keeping with the pagan traditions of the Druids, it still celebrates Midsummer Eve by decorating a local cave with flowers. But this year things will be different. A fanatical evangelist, Godwin Mann, has come to save the people of Moonwell and show them the error of the old ways and introduce them to salvation. Mann convinces most of the town that the cave ritual needs to be forgone for another type of ritual - he wi ...more
May 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I should like this book more - yes its a British horror author who has massive acclaim and who has very strong times to H P Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos - but I did struggle with the book. there were times when it became bogged down and slowed down, it felt very British - which is both a good and bad thing. To my mind horror a good story of terror can be set almost anywhere (almost as in limited to the authors imagination) and England can have its fair share - so this is a good story b ...more
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
A solid, relatively early (1986) novel by Campbell. There are many fine incidental horrors, usually glimpsed rather than seen, in the manner of M.R.James; these come and go episodically, not always with very clear connection to the central horror of the book. These, combined with the powerfully-presented atmosphere of oppressive, universal darkness, broken only by the even more sinister light of the moon, give much of the novel a nightmarish feel––meaning, I suppose, that the horrors may be effe ...more
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first novel by Ramsey Campbell and i must say that I'm very impressed. Awesome story...awesome characters...creepy would be a better word to describe this than scary. I don't like giving out plot details in my reviews, but I will say that it's clear that the author is not a fan of those who like to judge and push their Christian views onto others. I've known many people like this and found that aspect of the book pretty realistic and interesting. My only complaint which prevents me f ...more
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Much like Midnight Sun, I felt this book was stretched to fit some genre requirement of page length. Whereas in Sun the padding is in too many and too long trances, in Moon it is, iirk, getting lost on foggy moors. Cut the fat, and I could probably recommend these two, otherwise they are for the fan only.
Michael Sellars
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, horror
A re-read for me. I enjoyed it even more this time around. Campbell's greatest strength is his ability to remind us, insidiously and almost constantly, that not only is something horrible going to happen, it's happening right now in creeping increments, and his stories' protagonists are blind to the fact.
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Ramsey Campbell is a British writer considered by a number of critics to be one of the great masters of horror fiction. T. E. D. Klein has written that "Campbell reigns supreme in the field today," while S. T. Joshi has said that "future generations will regard him as the leading horror writer of our generation, every bit the equal of Lovecraft or Blackwood."