'[H]is stories . . . build up a unique sense of unease.' - Brian Stableford
'[T]ense, cryptic . . . brooding supernaturalism . . . unjustly forgotten.' - E. F. Bleiler
Something is wrong with Colonel Habgood's young son Denis. Some mysterious force seems to be sapping his physical health, and his behaviour has become oddly evasive and deceptive. Habgood suspects the pernicious influence of Raoul, a sinister handyman with whom Denis has become infatuated, believing that the man may be corrupting and defiling his son. But even after Raoul's departure, the troubles continue, and Denis's strength continues to wane. In an old book of medieval legends, his father finds a possible, if implausible, answer in stories of a nameless horror from beyond the grave that feasts on the young in order to return to life. Or could what's happening to Denis have any connection to an unexplained death in the attic turret nearly eighty years ago? And isn't there something strange about the scarecrow out in the fields, which seems, barely perceptibly, to have moved . . . ?
Originally published in a limited hardcover edition by the legendary Arkham House, John Metcalfe's The Feasting Dead (1954) is worthy of being ranked alongside The Turn of the Screw and the tales of M.R. James, L.P. Hartley, and Robert Aickman. This new edition of this classic novella, previously available only in expensive secondhand copies, will allow modern readers to rediscover the unjustly neglected Metcalfe (1891-1965).