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Hekla's Children

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  1,175 ratings  ·  202 reviews
A decade ago, teacher Nathan Brookes saw four of his students walk up a hill and vanish. Only one returned: Olivia, starved, terrified, and with no memory of where she'd been. Questioned by the police but released for lack of evidence, Nathan spent the years trying to forget.

When a body is found in the same ancient woodland where they disappeared, it is first believed to
Paperback, 400 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Titan Books (UK)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,175 ratings  ·  202 reviews

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This was entirely not what I was expecting, and I kinda don't know how to feel about it.

The blurb sounded more like a sinister crime novel but this is way out of the box. Less crime, more ... sinister evil weird time travel monster. There's a thing, and it is evil, and it steals children from it's place in 'Un' - the 'other side'. I mean I kinda got it but also goodbye any sense of reality.

This story travels a long distance. First you get Nathan and the mystery of the disappearing kids, then
K.J. Charles
I'm really enjoying this author's weird historical/rural fantasy/horror mash up thing. This is a terrific twisty story based on palaeolithic rituals, a kind of toxic masculinity you don't often see presented as toxic, and a powerful theme of how people use and consume others. (I don't know if the title is meant to resonate with Thatcher's Children but by God that works.)

Well written, with the drive of a thriller and some proper nasty bits.
Jan Edwards
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nathan Brookes is in love with Sue, who is engaged to another man. Their doomed relationship finally implodes during the supervising of students on a Duke of Edinburgh training walk and as a consequence. Nathan takes his eye off the duty-of-care ball. The four students under his care are seen walking up a hill and vanish without trace. Liv, the fragile loner, reappears the following day; she is distraught, severely dehydrated, and with a rambling tale of monsters and vanishing worlds. Wracked by ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Picked this up when a library patron returned it. Very odd book - almost feels like two books in one. The first part is well-written, feels like a thriller with horror elements, then it takes a very weird turn into what can best be described as fantasy of the alternate-reality type. In the last chapter or two, though, we're back from that fantasy world, for the final showdown as it were.

Overall, I really don't know much else to say about this. Still trying to figure it out myself.
 (shan) Littlebookcove
I enjoyed this a lot! An awesome plot steeped in British myth and legend's it made for a really good read. In places it got a bit confusing, but I loved how it all mended together. I haven't actually read a plot quite like this Ever. It was modern and well thought out, it's not like your typical horror that's been done time and time again. This is original and new in some aspect's Highly recommended.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Woah this is can brilliant! A real page turner.
Ginger Nuts
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Great Britain is blessed with a rich and varied folklore, from the Celtic legends of Scotland, Wales and Ireland to the pagan folklores of rural England, and they all share a common thread. A thread of darkness and malevolence. These are not your Disney Elves or Faeries, even the so-called heroes of our legends are cursed with a dark streak.

This dark thread of our collective consciousness as been utilised by numer
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
This is a really impressive novel.

It intertwines elements of history, fantasy and horror wonderfully and manages to be gripping and fast paced but also very in depth.

The fact that it is partly set around Birmingham was nice for me as a reader, recognising certain places allowed me to build up such a clear picture in my head of where events took place. And that managed to also make it more creepy.

The horror element of the book is truly scary, skin crawling and very grim. But incredibly interestin
Matthew Galloway
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, horror, british
I didn't find this one particularly scary. Really, its more a fantasy novel than a horror novel. It started off alright, but as the novel tried to cover more and more it just got too diluted and slow. I was bored much of the time and massively irritated the rest -- but I can't get into the irritations without delving into spoilers.
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it

In Icelandic lore, a mountain where witches held their meetings. “

There’s a fine tradition here in the UK (and I’m sure some other places as well!) for horror based on ancient myths and folklore. From King Arthur to The Wicker Man, the idea of something unknowable and ancient wanting to do evil and unspeakable things has waxed and waned as the market has fluctuated. Whilst I’ve always enjoyed such stories (for example, see also Alan Garner’s Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Robert Holdstock’s h
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well that was interesting. I was expecting a horror story but it was more reality meets mythology. If you are a fan of stranger things you would probably enjoy this. If you can accept the jump about a from different peoples points of view it is a really interesting tale. I’ll be honest though the thing that really drew me in to this book is the location As it is where I grew up and could picture the park easily. Interesting one day read. I needed a book like this.
Honestly this was just okay for me. I liked it. It wasn't overly excited about it. It felt disjointed and a bit confusing at times. It held my attention well enough, enjoyed the blending of two worlds and such but overall it was just meh.
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this mystery/thriller/horror. Quite happily tootling along thinking, this is an interesting thriller when BAM the horror kicks in. That was a surprise! A real page turner with interesting characters and a pacy plot.
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
I read through this book on a long haul flight. It was exciting and engaging and has many elements of British mythology in the story. Not being all too familiar with British mythology I have no idea how accurate it is, but it's a fun read.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
DAMN YALL.....this book started with the tragedy of a broken man and ended with the fury of women, three. AMAZING. tho confusing at times the journey of it all unfolds itself and helps make sense of the mythology and story the author has set out for us and god, this book may be dealing us a true eldritch like horror but to there was no true villain shaped like a man aside from the shapeless maniacal evil called the afaugh, sad to put this book down but glad to have seen where it went
Andy Weston
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Four teenagers set off on a remotely supervised hike around a country park in the Midlands, and three of them do not return. Ten years later the teacher in charge is now working with young people in the outdoors in the Snowdonia National Park, and eventually back in the Midlands, a body is found. But it isn't quite the body that was expected. It sounds like a great premise.

Though Brogden's setting of North Wales and the outdoors is of great interest to me, as I am in a similar line of work, his
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this tale which skillfully blended myth, folklore. legend, archaeology and horror. I love tales where the real world collides with a hidden one, where something lurks, tantalisingly just beyond everyday humdrum existence.
The characters felt real and relatable, there was plenty of tension and suspense to keep my attention wandering. The 'afaugh' was a suitably nasty, primeval villain, and Brogden definitely invoked a decidedly grim and befouled picture of it in my mind and it
Martin Belcher
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
Wow, I really enjoyed Hekla’s Children, a really fascinating and original thriller/ horror, centred on time travel, archeology, the future, the past and evil.....
Set ten years after what should have been an uneventful school trip to an urban wilderness park in the English Midlands turns into the strange disappearance of four schoolchildren. One girl miraculously appears but is so traumatised by the event that she can’t say what happened.
Fast forward 10 years and Nathan, the teacher who was in c
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a wild ride this book was! This story feels like getting lost in the house of mirrors at a creepy carnival; your head is spinning, you frequently exclaim “What the shit?”, but carry on anyway because it’s sort of fun and you are kind of curious what else they can throw at you in an attempt to scare the hell out of you.

Hekla’s Children is not your average horror novel. I mean, sure, you have a healthy dose of blood and guts flying around, it’s spooky, has a great amount of mystery surroundin
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this book is one of those that will stick with me. It really takes you on an adventure! Other reviewers have expressed dislike that its like two completely different books...I wonder if they were actually following what they read? Of course it ends in a much different vibe than it started off, but in between that the story definitely progresses from more thriller to more fantasy in a natural way. There's no jarring jump from one to the other that I was expecting after reading such reviews. ...more
Chloe Beniston
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a really interesting take on a cyclic horror story, I don't think I've ever seen a 'bog horror' before. This book had a few pacing issues but overall it was very engaging and I read it in one go. I found the feminist aspects very interesting, the three women in the novel bring power and value to typically 'weak' characteristics such as motherhood and sexuality. I also didn't see the start of the cycle coming so that's always a plus as quite often you can see these things racing at you f ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. At some points it got a little confusing and wasn't quite sure where it was going, but it came together in the end and was quite brilliant. I particularly loved the mythology steeped within it, and how it was used to evoke horror was particularly pleasing.
A story of missing children that blossomed into so much more, steeped in folklore and mythology, and one that will stick in my mind for a while. Will definitely try to read more from this author.
Becky Oberhauser
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror-thriller
So you know how in the evil dead trilogy the first two movies and just weird horror flicks and then in the third movie it gets crazy and suddenly the story is in the Middle Ages and you’re like wait what? This book is like that. The description of the book sets up the story but about halfway through it takes a very surprising twist and there are so many more layers to this than you would expect. It was a ride.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This was an interesting read: started a bit slow until a little bit past 100 pages, which is my usual cut-off for finishing a book, but it had enough elements to keep me going.

I am glad did. It did not go anywhere I expected, which I enjoyed. While I felt like the last third was almost an entirely different book it was really very interesting the way it turns out.

I will be thinking about this one for a long time :)
Mar 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
This is a really impressive novel.
It intertwines elements of history, fantasy and horror wonderfully and manages to be gripping and fast paced but also very in depth.
The fact that it is partly set around Birmingham was nice for me as a reader, recognising certain places allowed me to build up such a clear picture in my head of where events took place.

The horror element of the book is truly scary, skin crawling and very grim. But incredibly interesting.

There were a few moments where my attention
Ian Bibby
I'm not normally into crime horror, and probably would have thought that's what this is from the blurb, until there was a bog body mentioned.
My wife's just finished a degree course in archaeology, so that caught my eye, but within pages I was captured in what I can best describe as crime, horror, fantasy.
A couple of neat twists, one of which I never saw coming at all, and I got through it in just two days.
I'll be keeping my eyes open for more by this author.
Ruth P
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
The two stars are for some witty and entertaining reading in the first bit of the book...before it goes completely bonkers and ,I found,unreadable.It felt like I was having some weird hallucinatory a filthy,stinking bog..and for me that is NOT entertainment so I gave up.Too mad for words!
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
********Goodreads Giveaway Win********

What a fun book. I took me by surprised. At first I thought I would be reading a supernatural missing children book but it turned into much more. Further into the book I thought I was reading a sort of time travel story but, again it was more than that. It was a supernatural mix of different time dimensions, missing children, archaeology, horror and even a very unexpected gay love story. It's possible readers may say James Brogden packed too much into this b
Lynda Baylem
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
The unbelievable world of Un, the transition into this unworldly place through the time barriers in ‘Sutton Park’. The despair of the afaugh and how this three thousand year old ‘body’ of many others’ body parts looks to continue to consume those in its way...
Hilary Mortz
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
People have been disappearing since the dawn of time; sometimes they are gone forever, sometimes they are living another life in the land of lost things.

Every so often you happen across a book that you know is different and special, and so it was with Hekla's Children for me.

Mysterious, trippy, and effortlessly readable, the whole book is a joy to dive into from start to finish.

Mr Brogden's prose is spot-on and never ever boring. He takes a classic tale about the forces of good battling again
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James Brogden is a writer of horror and dark fantasy. A part-time Australian who grew up in Tasmania and the Cumbrian Borders, he has since escaped to suburbia and now lives with his wife and two daughters in the Midlands, where he teaches English. When not writing or teaching he can usually be found up a hill, poking around stone circles and burial mounds. He also owns more lego than is strictly ...more

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