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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,421 ratings  ·  114 reviews
On the border between England and Wales lies the tiny town of Crybbe, not picturesque enough for the tourist trade, quietly sliding into decay. Max Goff means to change all that. Goff has made millions in the record business, but his heart is in New Age philosophy. He has learned that Crybbe was once a spiritual center of sorts, surrounded by ancient standing stones that w ...more
Paperback, 625 pages
Published August 1st 1994 by Berkley (first published January 1st 1993)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,421 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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Jonathan Janz
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Not much time to write a review, but here are a few thoughts:

1. Rickman is an old-school craftsman who really takes care with his word choice and his sentence structure. He's also an impressive plotter who was able to tie together a staggering number of characters and subplots into a whole that wasn't simply coherent, but was consistently engaging as well.

2. There are moments of genuine terror in this book. It takes a great deal to scare me, but this novel accomplished that feat several times.
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like the book. Its size has put me off of reading it for years, but once I got to it I really wanted to like it. Normally I really enjoy british horror. But this one just didn't really work for me. This is a tough book to review, it really is. It didn't have any obvious faults, it had a decent and failry original plot, the writing was pretty solid and the atmosphere was appropriately dark. It was long. So very very mind numbingly long that it left the reader nearly i ...more
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Too long!

Don't get me wrong, I usually like long books, but good characters make that time go by, and I just didn't like these characters. (Well I liked one character, but that one got killed early...)

Also, there's a lot about Ley Lines, which I find interesting, but I don't know if the author did research or just made up a bunch of shit. In any case, the story was interesting. It just took too long too unfold. *shrug*
Feb 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recentlyread
Phil Rickman's first novel takes on the clash of romanticized olde Englande, New Age hocus-pocus, the Village Green versus the terminally conservative countryside. A billionaire record company owner chooses the forgotten border town of Crybbe as a center of New Age earth magic, obviously a future tourist mecca, recruiting and bankrolling an assortment of believers, pagans, and cranks. The plan is to restore the ancient standing stones destroyed by the locals, which were supposedly erected along ...more
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to read a book which will give you nightmares – or at the very least keep you awake then try this one. It is a very long book – over seven hundred pages – and the complex storyline will keep you reading and raise the hair on the back of your neck. The main element of the story is the small border town of Crybbe situated between England and Wales. The inhabitants seem very dour and keep themselves to themselves but things are about to take a turn for the worse.

Max Goff – multi-million
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense-horror
A slow burn but eventually it became a page turner, or rather compulsive listening to the audiobook. Some excellent insights here, and also writing good enough to give frissons of horror.
Pam Baddeley
I found this book a mixture of good and not so good, perhaps because it is the author's first novel, as I have since learned. In a nutshell, it is set in a small town in the borders between England and Wales: a place where the population are exceptionally dour and inward looking. Though as the story progresses it transpires that there is a good reason for this.

I won't summarise the plot which is long and rambling: the book is over 600 pages long and could probably have benefitted from being edit
Oct 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Crybbe is an ancient village, not quite English and not quite Welsh, in which night seems to fall extra early. And each evening, after dark, one of the men of the Preece family must ring the curfew bell at the church, exactly 100 times. The villagers are the introverted, heads down type, and when a millionaire record producer barges in with plans to renovate the mysterious and decrepit old manor house and make a New Age center of Crybbe, they are not well pleased. Author Rickman, best known in A ...more
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I brought this book expecting masses of horror throughout the book, only to be let down somewhat. The book takes a while to get into the real spooks and those moments are rather short-lived. The book itself focuses more upon working out about the unnatural nature of the town instead of letting us see what the real horror is.

That being said, I did enjoy parts the book. When there were those moments involving the supernatural aspects they were rather enjoyable. Moreover, whenever the book was focu
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Phil Rickman is an author who continues to write the kind of horror novels I like best. This novel managed to keep me from guessing the outcome ahead of time.

Bless you, Phil Rickman, for your sensitive handling of Arnold's storyline and not going for the cheap emotional manipulation so frequently used by the tired hacks of the horror genre. This book earns a Pet Lovers Seal of Approval!


I do love a story where sweet ladies of a certain age wearing tartan skirts and errant heavy equipm
Heli Rantamaula
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paranormal
To me, this book didn't have the feel of a horror story even though it is officially classified as horror. Perhaps this was due to the way the story was told, or to the fact that I'm not especially afraid of ghosts. I would classify it as a paranormal thriller.

I give this book five stars because it managed to keep me captivated right from the start to the very end. Seán Barrett's narration is very pleasant to listen to, and I think he is the perfect choice for a darkly entertaining, spellbinding
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Love This Author!

"In the centre of the town, patches of night gathered like damp about the roots of timber-framed buildings. They'd been turned into shops now, and offices and flats, but they still shambled around the square like sad old drunks.

Puddles of night stained the boots of Jack Preece..."

How can you pick up a book that starts out with prose like that and not be immediately hooked by the writing?! Phil Rickman writes with a lyrical descriptive voice, and at the same time captures the ver
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
I'm only 1/3 of the way through this book, but I just don't see where all these rave reviews are coming from. Rickman is a good author, but most of the characters seem very two-dimensional, and the story moves at the pace of a constipated snail.
To be honest, so far it just seems like a neverending preamble. I'm quite bored, really. The ominous foreshadowing about the Tump and the evil that lurks beneath Crybbe just goes on, and on, and on. It's repetitive and droning and it shouldn't take 190 p
Nov 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Halfway through this, I was going to call it quits. But after reading enough positive reviews at Amazon, I decided to bite the bullet and stick it through to the end.
This novel is over 600 pages, and it really felt like it.

I should say that once I decided to plow through the 300s, I was quite glad I did. Things started to get very interesting, and the creep factor was getting there.

All in all, I guess I'm glad I saw it through to the end. It was a terrific setting, a quaint Welsh village with Ne
Apr 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Curfew (or Crybbe in the UK) is one of Phil Rickman's earlier works. Because it is closer to Horror than the Merrily Watkins series, Curfew has a nasty quality that the Merrilys lack. I really wanted to be reading another Merrily, and I was rather cross until I get into the book. Once Joe Powys appears (Part II, I think) the book begins running on all cylinders, and is ultimately rewarding and satisfying. Add genuinely creepy AND the introduction of Gomer Parry, and we have a winner. ...more
Nicole Loop
Pretty fun read. Some loose ends but its not suppose to be a perfect ending or anything. Liked all the stuff on folklore and fay/fairy. Pretty creepy at parts liked all the stuff about the lay lines. maybe i shouldve kept the book but I gotta make room for others. Its a slow burner I think, but worth it.
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Stephen King recommended. His blurb says: "Remarkable!"

This is somewhat of a prequel for the Merrily Watkins series as Gomer Parry plays a significant role in this book and in most of the Merrily Watkins books. This one is a LOT more supernatural than the Merrily Watkins books, however. I enjoyed being in a small village bordering England and Wales again, although the folks in this village are not very friendly. Read it and you'll find out why.
Kevin Lucia
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. One of those books that takes a while to read, is a slow burn, but is very much worth it. Kind of book I love to read, and would love to write someday, except I'm afraid if I did, it wouldn't be nearly as engaging. I have two other Rickman novels, so I'll definitely be reading those.
Rebecca McNutt
Feb 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting story filled with many unexpected happenings and turns of events, although it was still not a very original novel.
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I picked Curfew up from the library after coming it across it on a thread on Facebook where people had posted on their scariest reads. It's a long time since I've read a book that really petrified me and love watching films through my fingers. I admit to binging on Shaun Hutson in my teenage years. Then got into a bit of a silly snobby phase of reading "literature." So left the horror genre behind and never really got back to it.

Now I've read that Rickman doesn't like his early books - of which
Barbara ★
I'm wondering if all these rave reviewers actually read something other than what I read. As a horror novel, this book is terrible. There is no suspense at all and not even anything creepy. Oh sure there's the Tump but nothing happens with it for over 450 pages and even that revelation wasn't enough to save this book. I don't think 625 pages was required to tell this story. It just rambled on and on detailing the lives (or lack of lives really) of a bunch of miserable people living "alone" in th ...more
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book and did not want it to end! Sean Barret does a wonderful job with all the voices in this novel.The Curfew bell has rung 100 times a night in the village of Crybbe for 400 years.It is tradition that one family is tasked with and passes down the ringers job to the next generation.No one seems to know what will happen if the bell is not rung.Enter a money hungry real estate guy who decides to alter the village by knocking down a wall that was erected hundreds of years ago and sett ...more
Sas astro
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
A couple or so years ago when bemoaning a lack of something to read a friend suggested I try Phil Rickman books. I will be forever grateful for that recommendation because I am now an avid Rickman fan. Curfew, which I think is Rickman's first novel, was originally published as Crybbe. I've no idea why the title was changed but either way it's a big gripping read. The story take place in the Welsh village of Crybbe, a village where the natives keep their heads down and obey the curfew bell that m ...more
Aug 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
I got 28% (aren't kobo's great) of the way through. I didn't dislike it, as much as I was totally bored with it and couldn't go any further. Lots of people with lots of little things happening. No terror as yet. I couldn't go on
Nov 07, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t finish this book…I just could not get into it…don’t know if it is the book or the mood I am in but it just didn’t work for me…
Mar 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
OMG GOOD!!! So creepy and beautiful. Love love loved it.
Daniel Rudge
Curfew is one of those books that is madly creative while being extremely maddening to read. Welcome to Crybbe, England and the unveiling of a cast of thousands. Of which you get to learn about all of them in some detail. is not until well over 100 pages in that the main protagonist gets introduced! While I enjoyed Rickman's gift with his prose, and the creative plot, the multitude of limited characters and constant jumping around from one plot thread to another dragged down the entire effort. B ...more
Leanne Hunt
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Another brilliant novel from the remarkable Phil Rickman. With an extraordinary knowledge of the folk lore, superstitions and legends of the border region between Wales and England, Rickman weaves a contemporary story about small town life and the influx of 21st-century ideas. We have the daughter of an Anglican priest who hates the town's backwardness, an author who is famous for a book he wrote about ley lines but has since moved on in his thinking, a mega-entrepreneur who seeks to revitalise ...more
Cynthia  Glissadevil
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
4.4 stars!
Superb supernatural Welsh horror.
The Good- Not many horror writers flesh out characters like Rickman. Not just the main characters either. Minor players come alive and remind you of family, friends, and enemies from your past. Rickman animates Wales borderlands for all 5 senses. You can feel the earthy, dreary, stale smells of ancient Wales history on every page of Curfew. The dialog is so good that I read aloud page after page until my voice grew horse.

The Bad- Folks who demand instan
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have read all Phil Rickman's books but his first few Celtic type Supernatural books are my favourite. Curfew is one of the best. I have it on audio book read by Sean Barrett as well as kindle, it is absolutely brilliant I listen to it again and again as I do with the the rest of these stand alone stories.
They are stories you can't put down or have to listen to way onto the wee small hours. They are thrilling and fast paced with some funny bits that make you laugh. I really recommend these book
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aka Will Kingdom, Thom Madley.

Phil Rickman, born in Lancashire, has won awards for his TV and radio journalism. After five acclaimed novels, he introduced the fascinating Merrily Watkins series with The Wine of Angels. He is married and lives on the Welsh Border.

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