The Hunger

The Hunger

by Alma Katsu


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As featured in The New York Times Book Review Summer Reading Issue

"Supernatural suspense at its finest...The best thing about The Hunger is that it will scare the pants off you."--The New York Times Book Review

"Deeply, deeply disturbing, hard to put down, not recommended reading after dark."--Stephen King

A tense and gripping reimagining of one of America's most fascinating historical moments: the Donner Party with a supernatural twist.

Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere.

That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos. They cannot seem to escape tragedy...or the feelings that someone--or something--is stalking them. Whether it's a curse from the beautiful Tamsen Donner (who some think might be a witch), their ill-advised choice of route through uncharted terrain, or just plain bad luck, the ninety men, women, and children of the Donner Party are heading into one of one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history.

As members of the group begin to disappear, the survivors start to wonder if there really is something disturbing, and hungry, waiting for them in the mountains...and whether the evil that has unfolded around them may have in fact been growing within them all along.

Effortlessly combining the supernatural and the historical, The Hunger is an eerie, thrilling look at the volatility of human nature, pushed to its breaking point.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780735212510
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/06/2018
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 217,755
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Alma Katsu is the author of The Taker, The Reckoning, and The Descent. She has been a signature reviewer for Publishers Weekly and a contributor to The Huffington Post. She is a graduate of the Master's writing program at the Johns Hopkins University and received her bachelor's degree from Brandeis University. Prior to the publication of her first novel, Katsu had a long career as a senior intelligence analyst for several US agencies and is currently a senior analyst for a think tank. She lives outside of Washington, DC, with her husband.

Read an Excerpt

To Charles Stanton, there was nothing like a good, close shave.

Excerpted from "The Hunger"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Alma Katsu.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Hunger 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wanted 100 more chapters of this! Katsu is amazing at fully transporting the reader to this historical era and you feel the true struggle of wagon train on their doomed trail. Great development of characters and their relationships. I gasped, I laughed, and I made sure my door was locked before going to sleep. Recommended for any lover of horror, psychological thrillers or historical fiction!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Historical horror fiction.
jkholmes More than 1 year ago
I heard whisperings of a new horror story blending fact with fiction based on the tragic events surrounding the ill-fated Donner Party. If you're unfamiliar with the history surrounding the Donner Party (sometimes referred to as the Donner-Reed Party), then I offer a little background: The Donner Party was a wagon train led by George Donner and James F. Reed seeking their way across the plains to California in 1846. Due to a series of unfortunate events, weather, and the questionable decision to take an alternate route from the majority of wagon trains, the group found itself stranded in the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the winter with diminished supplies. By the time a rescue was mounted and found the survivors the following spring, only forty-eight of the roughly ninety original settlers made it to California. The most gruesome and lasting detail of their story is that some of the survivors resorted to cannibalism in order to make it through the harsh winter. That is historical fact, and it's a fact Alma Katsu doesn't shy away from in her compelling yet insidiously gothic novel, The Hunger. The cover alone tells of the desperation and isolation faced by settlers making the crossing from East to West in the 1800s. A lone wagon trudges across the barren, dry plains with darkening skies over ominous mountains in the distance. Being the keen observer that I am, I noticed the blood spattered along the side of the wagon's canvas covering after having read the entire book. (Yep, just call me Eagle-Eye. ) I admit I was a little concerned that maybe I'd fallen for hype when I first started reading. The first chapter didn't really grab my attention by the throat like I'd hoped a novel about the Donner Party might, but I kept reading, and reading, and reading, and reading reading reading reading. Just like the wagon trail pushing through pages of ever increasingly dire situations, I found I had no choice but to keep turning page after page. Katsu's writing is tight and vivid. The characters slowly emerged from the darkness of my mind to become fully formed people. The landscapes--having lived in Colorado and traveled across the Plains States several times--were brilliantly captured. The Katsu brought the creepy, and oh, man...chills. More than once I found myself setting the book aside and saying, "That ain't right!" But I always came back to it because I needed to know who survived and how. Even though I'm familiar with the historical circumstances surrounding the Donner Party, I needed to keep reading to learn their fate. The Hunger is a masterful blend of myth and reality written by a stellar talent, and I look forward to reading more of Alma Katsu's work...but only in a well-lit room because, wow.
readers_retreat More than 1 year ago
This is another one of those books that walks the tightrope between crime thriller and horror - of late, I have really enjoyed these type of stories. It is based on the Donner party tragedy where a party of pioneers travelling across the American West searching for a better life experience a nightmare. Most Americans have heard this tale, but being British, I had not come across it before. I looked it up and was instantly fascinated by it. This is, at its heart, a thriller but one that draws on American history and features a supernatural element. This amalgamation of genres makes for a thoroughly intriguing read. I found myself thinking about it in the time between reading and long after finishing it. THE HUNGER gets into your head. It's a truly chilling and disturbing read, something I very much appreciated. It is a slow-burn which works well with the setting and the story. The mixture of fact and fiction is done seamlessly, Katsu manages to create an unnerving atmosphere throughout, a feeling of dread, and as everything unfolds, it becomes more and more sinister. A strong and complex portrayal of the times, I can't say how well the true story was adapted into fiction as I was not familiar with it before this book. One slight gripe I had was that there were a LOT of characters, so at times it was a little confusing as the POV changes between several different people. I would like to thank Alma Katsu, Random House UK - Transworld, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC in exchange for an honest and impartial review.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I really loved the cover of this novel and I’ve heard different things about this novel but I wanted to give it a go. After reading this novel, I have mixed thoughts on this novel. I liked the idea behind the novel and there were certain parts about the novel that I really enjoyed but I thought the novel was slow at times and I wanted to novel to be more creepy and mysterious. The author had all these great elements to work with but it was as if the author toned the novel down which is fine for some readers but for me, it just didn’t have the intensity I wanted it to have. The year is 1846 and there were individuals and families going west, their sight was on California. Other groups had already set off on the rugged trail and this looked to be the last caravan for the season. They knew that the trip would be rough but as the days passed, the conditions deteriorated and the account of this passage became more of a reality. The going is slow with the wagons, the livestock, the horses and all the individuals. There were a lot of individuals to keep track of and it wasn’t long before one of them is missing. Why would someone just wander off? This was just the beginning of the questions that tormented this group as they tried to make their way to their new home. Strange noises were heard alongside of them on their journey. They questioned whether these were animal noises or something else? The land was cruel to these travelers: water was sparse and game was almost nonexistent. How could they survive when the land was not providing for their needs? I can feel their frustration as the dry, barren land laid out before them. They had only brought enough supplies to keep them alive until they reached their destination, their thoughts were to rely on the land to help sustain them until they reached their new home. I listened carefully as something from outside their group observed them. I wondered what they were up against, how they would be able to protect themselves and if anyone of them had a chance of survival. Someone had the upper hand in this contest of survival and I was afraid it was the “something(s)” that were out in the wild. I really wanted this novel to be more intense. There were a few moments where the author had me in her grips and I felt for the settlers. They knew they would have a rough journey but they never expected what they received. There were some romantic scenes as the settlers made their way but there were not enough to overwhelm the novel. For that, I was thankful, as this journey was not a time for romance. I thought the author did a great job describing the scenes as the settlers made their way through the pass. The dusty desert provided a great backdrop for these hopeful individuals with their overfilled carriages, who were losing their faith as their journey progressed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once I started reading I couldn't stop!
AngelaJM More than 1 year ago
I read this book not knowing previously about the events it is based on, nor knowing much about wagon trails or this era of American history. I thought this might be a drawback, but the book's characters and situations are vibrant and the world at that time comes alive. Tension builds from the start and although you have an inkling of what lays ahead, there are frequent surprises, uncertainty and twists. Unflinchingly dark events are paired with happier scenes in a book that will stay with you. I received my copy from NetGalley.
SAC112750 More than 1 year ago
Did not enjoy it. I only got into about half way. Not interested in the supernatural. I didn't realize that until I had it bought.