The Ritual

The Ritual

by Adam Nevill


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When four old University friends set off into the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle, they aim to briefly escape the problems of their lives and reconnect with one another. But when Luke, the only man still single and living a precarious existence, finds he has little left in common with his well-heeled friends, tensions rise. With limited experience between them, a shortcut meant to ease their hike turns into a nightmare scenario that could cost them their lives. Lost, hungry, and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, Luke figures things couldn't possibly get any worse. But then they stumble across an old habitation. Ancient artefacts decorate the walls and there are bones scattered upon the dry floors. The residue of old rites and pagan sacrifice for something that still exists in the forest. Something responsible for the bestial presence that follows their every step. As the four friends stagger in the direction of salvation, they learn that death doesn't come easy among these ancient trees . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312641849
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 02/14/2012
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 96,804
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Adam L. G. Nevill was born in Birmingham, England, in 1969 and grew up in England and New Zealand. The Ritual is his first novel to be published in the U.S. His book Last Days won the British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel of the Year.

Read an Excerpt

The Ritual

By Adam Nevill

St. Martin's Griffin

Copyright © 2012 Adam Nevill
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312641849

Ritual, The
IBENEATH THE REMAINSPROLOGUEAnd on the second day things did not get better. The rain fell hard and cold, the white sun never broke through the low grey cloud, and they were lost. But it was the dead thing they found hanging from a tree that changed the trip beyond recognition. All four of them saw it at the same time.Right after they clambered over another fallen tree to stumble into more of the scratching bracken, they came across it. Breathing hard, damp with sweat and rain, speechless with fatigue, they came to a halt. Bent from the weight of the rucksacks, bedding and wet tents, they stood under it. Looked up.Above them, beyond the reach of a man standing upright, the dead thing sagged. Between the limbs of a spruce tree it was displayed, but in such a tattered state they could not tell what it had once been.From the large rib cage drooped the gut, wet and blue in the light seeping through the canopy of leaves. The pelt was spread out across surrounding branches, holed but stretched taut in places. A ragged hem about a crumpled centre suggested the skin had been torn from the back in one quick ripping motion. And at first no head could be seen in the mess of blood and flesh. Until, in the violent red and yellow suddenness of hung meat, the bony grin of a jaw bone waspicked out by them all. Just above it was an eye, big as a snooker ball but glazed and dull. Around it a long skull in profile.Hutch turned to face the others. He always led the group as it staggered through the forest looking for the new trail. It was his idea to come through here. His face was pale and he did not speak. Somehow the shock of this sight made him look younger. Vulnerable, because this mutilated statement up above their heads was the only thing on the camping holiday he did not have an answer for. Didn't have a clue about.Phil couldn't keep the tremor from his voice. 'What is it?'No one answered him.'Why?' Dom said. 'Why would you put it up there?'The sound of these voices reassured three of them enough to start talking over each other. Sometimes answering questions. Sometimes just voicing new ideas. Only Luke said nothing. But as the others talked they moved away from the thing in the tree more quickly than they had approached it. And soon they were all silent again, but their feet made more noise than at any other time during the hike of the last two days. Because there was no smell coming from the corpse. It was a fresh kill.THE RITUAL. Copyright © 2011 by Adam Nevill.


Excerpted from The Ritual by Adam Nevill Copyright © 2012 by Adam Nevill. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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The Ritual 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
tretman More than 1 year ago
This book was incredible. It was my first with this author. Great characters, superbly written. If you love wilderness survival tied with the creepy and supernatural, definitely check this out. One of the best books I've read in some time. Nice job Adam. I'm on to Apartment 16!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first half was really good and totally a page turner!! But once I got to the second half, it became kind of boring and predictable. When i first started reading this book I thought for sure I would rate it 5 stars. But once I actually got to the end, I was left unimpressed and uninspired. Good read, but definitely not the best. 
seldombites More than 1 year ago
This book is a mysterious and terrifying glimpse of what it might be like if ancient myths were real and ancient rituals still practiced somewhere in the untouched wilderness of the world. Definitely do not read this at night.
BCBowers More than 1 year ago
Excellent! A must read for those that love suspense, outdoors and horror/thriller reading!
jan.fleming on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿And on the third day things did not get better. The rain fell hard and cold, the white sun never broke through the low grey cloud, and they were lost. But it was the dead thing they found hanging from a tree that changed the trip beyond recognition.¿Four old university friends go on a walking holiday in the wildness of sub-Arctic Sweden. However they are not the men they were once, mentally and physically, people change over time and soon tensions rise between the characters. When it is clear that, due to their lack of fitness, two of the party cannot continue, a shortcut rather than intended trail, inevitable, proves a disaster.Lost, hungry, thirsty and injured they struggle through one of the last great, ancient forests in Europe. Things couldn¿t get any worse¿..but they do¿much worse.As they make their way, hopelessly lost, through the forest it becomes clear that they are being hunted by some primordial beast that begins to pick them off one by one¿¿If ever there was a book of two halves this is it¿ the first half is breathless, panicky and shot though incredulity. The second section¿is drawn out, painful with as the one surviving character suffers an almost resigned madness to his fate. Superb storytelling ¿atmospheric and imaginative with a compulsive writing style that keeps the reader turning those pages although feeling exhausted by the horror and despair experienced by the four friends.I seem to be reading a lot of primordial themed horror recently, The Leaping and The Darkening and now this. The Ritual reminded me of `The Wendigo¿ and `The¿ Willows by Algernon Blackwood and the Blair WitchI have always been a fan of Adam Neville since the Banquet of the Dammed and believe he is firmly as the forefront of the British horror revival of recent years
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Original story with a unique villain/monster. The end dragged out a bit too long and the ending was unsatisfying. I would have appreciated some further mythology behind the creature’s existence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
U highly recommend this book, it was very well written full of suspense and surprises.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
So you know when you’re watching a horror movie and there’s an unseen being involved and you only catch little glimpses here and there throughout the film, and when you do actually see it you think (or more likely, scream out) WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? Yeah that’s basically what you get throughout the book. It could be similar horror elements like Blair Witch Project, only you do find out what it is towards the latter part of the story. (And it’s still pretty creepy to figure out and picture). I really do enjoy the horror aspects in this book and the feelings it invokes. You can really feel the desperation, frustration, and anguish felt within the characters. Tempers flare and understandably fights happen from within the group. You feel Luke’s anger and his highs and lows as you follow him throughout this horror journey. There’s not many twists or blindside moments in this book it’s pretty much standard that you would see in horror books but the setting is very well done. A remote forest in Scandinavia while there’s something big and bad out there provides great atmosphere for the dark and scary. It does drag out through the last third of the novel where you just have to feel for Luke and you wonder how much the human spirit can take. The ending really should have ended about 50 pages ago and there is repetition through the novel that some may find a trial to go through when reading. It’s manageable most of the time but I was close to losing my interest towards the end of the novel but powered through. It was still an enjoyable read, and recommended for those that want a good solid horror. I’ll be reading more of his books for sure. I enjoyed the thrill and can only imagine what his other books will be like.
Cat_Cavendish More than 1 year ago
Now I am well and truly hooked on Adam Nevill’s work I am playing catch up. The breadth and scope of this author’s imagination means I am constantly surprised at the twists and turns his stories take. The Ritual is Nevill at his most visually terrifying. Small wonder this was snapped up by a film maker (the movie is released in the UK on Friday 13th October and on Netflix in the US some time after that). The premise is recognizable enough. Four old college friends decide to keep their vacation costs down (largely as a result of the financial woes of one of them) by taking a hiking holiday in the wilds of northern Sweden. Far from civilization and with at least two of them not in the best of physical condition, they soon realise that not only are they not up for such a lengthy and strenuous amount of hiking, they are also not dressed for it. So when they discover a possible short cut, it makes sense to take it, right? Wrong. The shortcut takes them through thick forest and they soon become lost and disorientated. Things go from bad to worse and the injuries begin to pile up. They take wrong turns and that’s when the nightmares really begin. Deep in this forest, the ways of the Old Ones are still followed and before long, Luke and his friends are in the worst trouble of their lives. The cheap holiday becomes a vacation in hell itself. They really should have gone to Ibiza. The Ritual is frightening, atmospheric, chilling and satisfying. All in one great package.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This should have been a short story. The middle to the end of the novel feels like nothing more than filler. I was often tempted to just put it down and start reading something else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love love love this book i know its because of the character luke i have read it twice now and fell in love with luke all over again i wish more books had such xharacters will read again
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Shelly65 More than 1 year ago
I really, really liked the first part of this book, and wish it would have ended there. The second part just got too weird for me - anarchistic juvenile delinquents, creepy old women and ancient forest gods were just a bit overdone. Perhaps the old woman and the wonderfully eerie attic would have been enough. Having said that, I will be looking forward to reading more by the author. The characters were well fleshed out (no pun intended) and I quite enjoyed his writing style.