The best ominously atmospheric books for a winter's night

Tupenny Longfeather Author Of Bowels of Darkness
By Tupenny Longfeather

Who am I?

I love forests. There's a particular atmosphere, a sense of being close to nature. Yet there's a mystery, you can never see too far ahead. What's around the corner? A truly atmospheric book has the quality of a forest, leading us on but never revealing too much at once. Perhaps beyond the next tree, or page, is something that may not be of our universe.


I wrote...

Bowels of Darkness

By Tupenny Longfeather,

Book cover of Bowels of Darkness

What is my book about?

When a deadly plague descends on 17th-century England, Easter Friswell, white witch, sets out to destroy the monsters that have invaded her reality.

In a quiet village, John Stearne sees his father killed by zombies. After hearing a sermon on witchcraft he decides that witches are to blame for bringing about the demon invasion. Setting out to kill all witches, he recruits a young man, one Matthew Hopkins, and the pair declare vengeance on evildoers.

The books I picked & why

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The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig'

By William Hope Hodgson,

Book cover of The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig'

Why this book?

Hodgson's sea-based stories, drawing on his experience as a sailor, have a plausibility that draws me in. The vast emptiness of the ocean is depicted vividly, creating a sense of isolation that adds to the terror of his work. Add to this some of the most bizarre creatures in literature and we have a bleak, enchanting atmosphere. I find the sense of brooding horror really puts me in the scene.

The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig'

By William Hope Hodgson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig' as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.


Black Magic

By Marjorie Bowen,

Book cover of Black Magic

Why this book?

The thirst for knowledge of the black arts sets the tone for this book. The smallest events are loaded with ominous foreboding, from the understated beginning to the immensely world-shattering ending. Dirk Renswoude is a dark figure, yet never seemingly repulsive enough to prevent the reader from allying with him, being complicit in his deeds.

Black Magic

By Marjorie Bowen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dirk Renswoude is a craftsman and loner of noble birth who has been mistreated by his family. He meets Thierry, a young scholar on his way to study at the university at Basle and they soon discover that they share a fascination with the black arts. Thierry is initially cautious and afraid of blasphemy, whilst Dirk is ambitious and thirsts for power. Dirk leads them on to experiments with mystic circles drawn on the floor in chalk, the chanting of arcane incantations and the evocation of grotesque, demonic visions writhing in the speculum.


The Haunter of the Ring & Other Tales

By Robert E. Howard,

Book cover of The Haunter of the Ring & Other Tales

Why this book?

Howard's style is compelling, dragging you through the story with an inescapable inevitability. His characters possess stark, almost brutal qualities, sure of their place in the world they inhabit, even when facing the unknown. With mighty warriors such as Conan, we know they cannot lose but when it comes to Howard's horror stories, success is not so certain.

The Haunter of the Ring & Other Tales

By Robert E. Howard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Haunter of the Ring & Other Tales as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the unsurpassed imagination of the creator of Conan, Robert E. Howard, here are twenty-one tales of suspense, high adventure and Lovecraftian horror.

Foul sacrifices are made to a reptilian God in Hungary, a werewolf prowls the corridors of a castle in strife-torn Africa, criminal masterminds on both sides of the Atlantic vie for world domination, an enchanted ring exerts a terrible influence upon its wearer...

...And, as written in the pages of the accursed Necronomicon and Unaussprechlichen Kulten, the Great Old Ones watch our world from beyond the void - and wait...


Doctor Syn

By Russell Thorndike,

Book cover of Doctor Syn

Why this book?

If Dr. Syn is a mysterious, cunning character, perhaps the Romney marsh is more mysterious. It's a haunting, eerie place, more a character in its own right than a location. The misty bog stays in the memory long after reading this intriguing book. The Dr. himself, and Mr. Mipps his associate, are as fever-inducing as the marsh itself.

Doctor Syn

By Russell Thorndike,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Doctor Syn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Christopher Syn, the kindly vicar of the little town of Dymchurch. Syn seems pleasant, but we soon learn that he has a sinister past.


Far Off Things

By Arthur Machen,

Book cover of Far Off Things

Why this book?

In Machen's stories, occult experiences are related to place, the environment creating conditions in the mind that open it to receive the ethereal. The connection to nature, billions of years of the natural world, provides countless possibilities for unknown forces to intrude on our reality. Far Off Things is an exploration of psychogeography, informed by Machen's early life in Wales.

Far Off Things

By Arthur Machen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Far Off Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Arthur Machen's 1922 collection of essays covers the first part of his life. (It was followed by 1923's "Things Near and Far" and 1924's "The London Adventure.") To the original book has been added a lengthy essay on Machen and his work, as well as a Recommended Works list, covering the essential fiction and non-fiction by this important author. (Of his novella "The Great God Pan," Stephen King said, "Maybe the best [horror story] in the English language.")


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