The Hungry Moon

by

Author: Ramsey Campbell

Title: The Hungry Moon

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 1986

Number of Pages: 293

Geographical Setting: Moonwell, a fictional town in England’s Peaks District

Time Period: Present day (1986)

Series: No

Plot Summary: Located in England’s Peaks District, the town of Moonwell is a popular tourist stop named after a large cave that dominates the surrounding moorlands.  Each year on Midsummer Eve, the people of Moonwell hold a ceremony inspired by ancient Druid customs in which they decorate the cave with flowers.  However, this year is different.  When a charismatic Christian evangelist named Godwin Mann comes to stop the pagan tradition, Moonwell residents are quickly spellbound by his extreme religious teachings and the ceremony is abandoned.  As religious fanaticism grips the town, Mann descends into the cave to unroot its pagan forces, but instead encounters a tremendous evil for which he is no match.  Using the preacher as its host, the long-dormant evil reemerges from the cave in the body of Mann to lead the unsuspecting and faithful Moonwell residents to their doom.  As an ominous darkness turns day into permanent night and Moonwell is completely cut-off from the world, teacher Diana Kramer must interpret her terrible visions to learn how to save the town.  Why, Diana must learn, can no one leave Moonwell?  What are the pale, eyeless creatures lurking on the moor?  Why does the moon and its light seem so threatening?  Unless Diana can answer these questions, the unsuspecting people of Moonwell are doomed along with their souls.

Subject Headings: Evangelists, English;  Druids and druidism;  Small town life — England;  Americans in England;  Teachers — England;  Demons;  Good and evil;  Supernatural;  England;  Occult fiction, English;  Horror stories, English.

Appeal: measured, engrossing, menacing atmosphere, chilling, dark, ominous, supernatural, nightmarish, rural, small town, contemporary, plot-centered, some strong violence, strong female characters, dramatic language, some strong language

Three terms that best describe the book: Small town, Nightmarish, Supernatural

Relevant Fictin Works and Authors:

Bloodstone by Nate Kenyon — White Falls is just another sleepy New England town until young Jeb Taylor falls under the spell of an amulet with a sinister history centuries old.  As madness spreads from neighbor to neighbor, ex-con Billy Smith must decipher the dark dreams that have led him to this showdown with an ancient evil.  (measured, ominous, small town, nightmarish, supernatural, dark, contemporary, good vs. evil)

The Messenger of Magnolia Street: A Novel by River Jordan — When the sleepy Southern town of Shibboleth is threatened by an unnamed evil, three childhood friends return to save their hometown.  Trice, Billy, and Nehemiah must descend into the underground springs to battle the evil and correct decades-old wrongs in the little time that remains.  (small town, ominous, supernatural, measured, menacing atmosphere, good vs. evil.)

Curfew by Phil Rickman — When an ancient Druid monument is disturbed beneath the quiet English village of Crybbe, a long-buried evil is unleashed on the town and it’s residents.  A terrifying “being of light” called the Dragon rises to feast on the town, and it’s up to reporter Fay Morrison to prevent disaster.  (small town, ominous, supernatural, strong female characters, Druids, rural England, good vs. evil.)

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Druid Source Book: From Earliest Times to the Present Day by John Matthews — Using historical stories and essays, this book offers an in-depth look at the mysterious Druids.  Included are fascinating classical accounts of Druid culture from Julius Caesar, examinations of druidic ceremonies, and a look at the druidic revival of the 18th and 19th centuries.  This book gives a greater understanding of the ancient peoples who summoned the lunar evil threatening to destroy Moonwell.

The Moon: Myth and Image by Jules Cashford — Using 175 illustrations, this book offers a comprehensive look at the moon and its influence on mythology, religion, and consciousness.  Beginning with early Paleolithic bone markings and moving to contemporary poetry, this book traces our centuries-old fascination with the moon as well as the customs and secular events it inspires.  In Moonwell, the annual “cave dressing” is thought to be a harmless custom mimicking ancient moon worship, but the lunar “being” within the cave proves to be more than a myth and hungry for human souls.

Peak District: Landscapes Through Time by John Barnatt — Written by the Senior Survey Archaeologist for the Peak District, this book examines the archaeological landscapes of Britian’s first national park.  Using maps and the latest research, it tells the story of the famous landscape’s evolution including details about prehistoric barrows, stone circles, Romano-British settlements, and nineteenth-century lead mines.  As a beautiful national park, the Peak District attracts many tourists to Moonwell, but the landscape also serves as the Earthly home of the unspeakable evil threatening the town and the world.

Name: Russ

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