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The Old Religion

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  40 reviews
WELCOME TO THE DARK HEART OF CORNWALL . . . 'Waites brings all his storytelling talent and experience to this chilling tale' Lee Child 'One of the very best crime writers we have' Mark Billingham He was running from his past. She was running from her future. Sometimes helping a stranger is the last thing you should do . . . The Cornish village of St Petroc is the sort of p ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 14th 2018 by Bonnier Zaffre
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Miriam Smith
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: twitter
I have definitely been introduced to a new author in Martyn Waites and this excellent book "The Old Religion" will certainly not be my last by him. Having discovered that he is also the writer Tania Carver (which I have read and loved) and hailing from my neighbouring city of Newcastle, I will without doubt be reading many more books penned by this very talented and creative author. I thoroughly enjoyed this captivating story, thought it atmospheric, tense and had such a depth of characterisatio ...more
Martyn Waites aka Tania Carver, writes a atmospherically dark tale of horror set in St Petroc, Cornwall. It's a place that is facing economic ruin, a victim of Brexit, with nothing to save it, but for the fact that the local community en masse is clutching at straws in their desperate desire to secure funding for a Marina, and willing to embrace anything and anyone promising to deliver this. Even if it means murder. Tom Killgannon, a recent arrival to the area, is the barman at the local inn and ...more
Nat K

”I've turned sceptics to believers. I've shown you that the old ways may have fallen out of fashion, but they retain their power. And you believe that. All of you. Or you wouldn't be here tonight, listening to me.”

Tom Killgannon is a man with a past he'd rather forget. Ex-army and ex-police, he's had to change his identity**, and ends up in St.Petroc, Cornwall. Circumstances have led him here, after an undercover operation went belly up.

St.Petroc is steeped in history, a rural area that identifi
Liz Barnsley
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was sheer brilliance. Tense, atmospheric, beautifully drawn characters, showing the dark heart and the beauty of Cornwall, with an addictive, cleverly twisted story that is hugely engaging and often quite creepy.

Loved it.

Full review nearer publication.

Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, netgalley
A very decent read. Good characters and atmosphere even if I'm not totally convinced maybe.

In full

Tom Killgannon is something of a mystery at the start of this book. What we do know is that he is a barman in a small north coast Cornish town and it is out of season. It is clear that he is not just that from quite early on however what will that mean for some of the residents of St Petroc? A young student goes missing from a surfer community there and then Lila, also in that community, goes missi
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, crime, thriller
Strange marketing...

Tom Kilgannon has come to the run-down Cornish town of St Petroc to hide. That’s not his real name – he has taken on a new identity and it’s quickly clear that he’s in some kind of witness protection scheme or similar. Lila is a young girl living in a surfer commune on the edge of town – a surfer commune that is run more like a cult, with the rather nasty Noah at its head. As the book begins, Lila has been instrumental in abducting a young man on Noah’s instructions, and now
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: worst-ones-2018
When Martyn Waites was writing as Tania Carver, he was easily one of my favourite authors. I dived into The Old Religion with high expectations and trust in the author.

The story introduces a newcomer to St Petroc in the West Country. It is a place that is slowly dying, with shops closing and zero investment. Typical rural England on its last legs. Tom Killgannon is now based there, under witness protection. Poor bloke. He has a job in the local pub. He is the typical outsider, in a community of
Dear goodness Mr Martyn Waites I've a nervous wreck after reading this! Who's in that van? Did I just see a figure standing in a doorway? Is that a dead crow I see?

Thank goodness St Petroc in Cornwall where the book is set is fictional. I had to double check just incase. My nerves had calmed a little. Just a little mind.

Then I read the end. And my head exploded.
Rachel Hall
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Martyn Waites new series, of which this is the first novel, is apparently “Brexit noir crossed with ‘The Wicker Man’ movie” and offers a glimpse into the landscape in the wake of the country’s decision to leave the European Union. The Old Religion explores some of ramifications in the fictional West Country village of St Petroc, formerly so reliant on the EU subsides to keep farming viable and enable their livelihoods and now resorting to more drastic measures to halt the decline of the village ...more
Elaine Tomasso
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Netgalley and Bonnier Zaffre for an advance copy of The Old Religion, a thriller set in the fictional Cornish village of St Petroc.

Tom Kilgannon, not his real name, is hiding out in the Cornish village of St Petroc, whiling away his time as a barman. Lila is a teenage runaway, living in a surfing commune on the outskirts of the village but when she falls foul of the commune leader she runs again, breaking into Tom's house. When things get awkward at Tom's she runs but this
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I was really looking forward to reading this as it has had some good reviews. I've also read Martyn Waites before the Joe Donovan novels which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately The Old Religion didn't work as well for me. Tom Kilgallon is a loner working as a barman in the small Cornish village of St. Petroc, he is running from his past. A young woman on the run appears in his cottage and Tom finds himself dragged into the dark side of the village.
Linda Hepworth
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tom Killigan is an ex-undercover policeman who is now living in a small fishing village in Cornwall; he is in the Witness Protection Scheme, in hiding from violent people who are intent on revenge. He wants only to keep his head down and to live a quiet life. However, when he returns to his house one evening, after his shift as a barman at the local pub, he discovers Lila, a seventeen-year-old runaway; she has broken into his house and is clearly very scared. He manages to calm her down and disc ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a setting! As someone who lives in a dry, often drought stricken country I loved reading about a cold, seaside setting. Lot's of rain and misery really makes me happy.

I really enjoyed the book. Unlikable characters? Check. Small town mystery? Check. Is this a Stephen King? No? Ok.

It was a subtle mystery too, no ridiculous exploits by everyday citizens and it wrapped up neatly.

High five Mr Waites!
Sue K
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
St Petroc is a Cornish fishing village on the decline. The tourists don’t seem to visit – apart from a hippie community - and a lot of the shops and pubs are boarded up –a view of how the Cornish fishing industry will decline under Brexit.

But this suits Tom Killgannon who lives alone and anonymously. There is a reason for this as he is in witness protection and the only people who know his past is his therapist and a local policewoman. He works at the village’s only pub with Pearl who he likes
Angela L
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An atmospheric book set in a backwater Cornish village where there seems to be an over-enthusiastic belief in Paganism. Sounds good doesn't it? Somehow though this never quite took off for me.
As I was reading it I kept thinking of cheesy Hammer horror films from the 1970's (and having read the Author Q & A at the back it's not surprising!). It was all a bit clunky and cliched somehow. The story certainly wasn't bad but it did all feel a bit dated somehow.
The village is in thrall to Morrigan
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story is delivered well, with believable people saying believable dialogue in increasingly uncomfortable and bizarre situations. I really warmed to Tom, Lila and Pirate John and felt like booing the nasty baddies. I was gripped by the plot and made some correct predictions but other parts I was completely blind-sided by. Which is exactly what you want from a thriller delivering action, mystery and danger.

Once I'd started I found this book difficult to set down. Now I've finished I'd like to
Martha Brindley
More of a dark thriller than a crime novel. I really struggled with the plot and some of the characters. It is very cleverly written and well researched. Tom has a past which he is trying to hide, I can't say more for fear of spoiler. He meets Lila, a girl running away from a strange commune. There is plenty of intrigue in the story and tales of occult and religion but it just did not please me. Thanks to Net Galley for my copy.
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really enjoyable and different read, I hope to read more in this new series and look forward to the next. A solid 4 stars and well recommended
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reasonable story, but far too much clunky exposition of the characters’ backstories. I didn’t believe in the characters at all and the dialogue was occasionally trite. So, I read it all but won’t be hunting out the author’s other works. Shame, as this one was full of possibilities left drowning in derivative soup. I know this is not what many others on here thought, but my two stars were almost one, and the opinion is all mine. Two stars for Lila, the fact I finished it and the doom of Brexit...
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy from Readers First in exchange for an honest review.

A man with a past no one knows about, Tom Kilgannon, hiding out in a sleepy Cornish village working in the local pub just taking one day at a time.

A girl who has gotten in over her head with a group of travelers (why do travelers always seem to be so static) who camp out in a bay on the outskirts of the village. She helped them do something she regretted - kidnapping a student, and tried to escape them. She ends up hiding
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first thoughts on starting to read this book that it was all a bit The Wicker Man, I was pleased to read that this was vindicated by the author in his blurb as being the type of feel he was going for.

It is quite a claustrophobic book, despite the sweeping seascapes conjured up in your minds eye of the Cornish coast everything feels dark and oppressive which, considering the subject matter, is to the benefit of the story. St Petroc itself is dieing, the young are moving away to find work and
Andy Wormald
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I must admit to being a fan of Martyn Waites previous novels, so was eager to read this.

The Old Religion does not disappoint has all the elements and ticks all the boxes for a compelling, thrilling read

Beginning with the disappearance of a boy, what follows is sinister and chilling horroresque crime novel of the highest order.

Tom Killgannon is in the witness protection scheme and has moved to the seemingly quiet sleepy Cornish village of St Petroc, everything about his life is kept in his wallet
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is well written and the atmosphere of St Petroc is well set up at the start, with excellent descriptions.
The characters all have believable motivations, and the main characters are distinct in personality. The townspeople sometimes come across as a homogenized mass, but that works with the story that is being told. The scene where Kai and Kyle interact can be confusing with telling who is who if you read too quickly, the names are a little too similar, but it is only one short scene. T
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I flew through this book SO FAST. Waites creates an atmospheric, chilling tale set in St Petroc, Cornwall.

The mix of characters that appear in this book and their connections to each other are such a high point for me. From school teachers, to police the residents of St Petroc and connected to one another in ways I couldn't guess. You follow Tom Killgannon's perspective of the goings on in this sleepy town, Tom is an outsider and so is not 'in the know' about certain things. The reader is simil
Heather Copping
Wow loved this book. Martyn Waites is a new author to me and I have never read any books that are written under his other name of Tania Carver either but shall definitely be on the look out for more of his books. This book is definitely a very atmospheric story set in Cornwall but not the Cornwall that we all know and love. It's set in a fictional village of St Petroc and it's a place where no tourists go, there's no fancy restaurants and bars, very few holiday cottages, no second homes and no t ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engaging folk horror story set in post-Brexit Cornwall

This book surprised me as it was more folk horror than traditional crime fiction. Set in post-Brexit Cornwall, it felt very current despite the references to the Old Religion. The story was atmospheric and chilling, offering just enough detail and complexity to feel satisfying, mysterious and compelling. The plot felt well structured and unfolded at a good pace. I particularly enjoyed the depth of the characters and the unlikely friendship
Thomas Tracey
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So this has been on my TBR shelf for a while, and the other day I picked it up now I think there is something wrong with me to have left it there so long.
It had me gripped from the very first page and I continued to read it without stopping.
I have been going to Cornwall for years every year we drive down to idyllic Cornwall full of sunshine and lovely scenery but who was I know of secret dirty underbelly of crime and murder that exists there, well it does in this book. (But it will not put me
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is undoubtably one of my favourite reads of 2018 so far, if not already my favourite for fiction. I read this book from cover to cover the day that it arrived. I could not put it down, gripped right from the beginning, I had to find the answers to the mysteries of St Petroc and those living there; believe me I was not disappointed. The characters were well developed, some I loved whilst others I loathed. The plot unfolded naturally and the way that all the different parts of the s
Breakaway Reviewers
A supernatural mystery tale of intrigue.

The sleepy Cornish village of St Petroc is a quiet hideaway for ex-undercover cop Tom
Kilgannon. However, it hides a sinister secret with a definite quirky twist to the ending.
Kidnapped teenagers, mysterious deaths and strange happenings blend together for a thrilling book that is hard to put down once started.

I could relate to all the characters and feel their pain. The mysterious druid gathering adds additional suspense to the storyline and the lengths th
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tom was looking for a quiet life. Working as a barman in the run-down Cornish village of St Petroc. He likes to keep himself to himself. He is shaken out of it when his coat goes missing containing all his identification documents. In trying to get them back he discovers that this sleepy village is far from what it seems.

This story had definite overtones of 'The Wicker man' in the atmosphere it creates. The story is fast paced and keeps the reader engaged. There were twists & surprises. All
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Martyn Waites (b. 1963) is an English actor and author of hard-boiled fiction. Raised in Newcastle upon Tyne, he spent his post-university years selling leather coats, working in pubs and doing stand-up comedy. After a stint in drama school, Waites pursued life on the stage, performing regionally in theaters across England. TV and commercial work followed, and he continued to act full-time until t ...more