British Fantasy Society: Best Novel winner (1991).
Midsummer – and a small boy runs away from his aunt's house, back to the village of Stargrave, where strangeness awaits him in the churchyard.
Winter, twenty years later - and Ben Sterling, that yooung boy grown up, is autographing his new storybook. His wife, Ellen, who illustrated the book, is at home with seven-year-old Johnny and ten-year-old Margaret when the news comes that Ben's aunt has died. An she has left him the old house in Stargrave.
The bequest is a door to dreams. Ben and Ellen have long wanted to write and paint full time. They come to Stargrave, to the stong old house in the shadow of Sterling Forest, planted half a century ago as a memorial to Ben's great-grandfather, noted folklorist Edward Sterling.
The children like their new school and Bend and Ellen like the townspeople. But as winter approaches Ben finds the Forest more and more appealing. His work room calls him, not for work, but for the windows overlooking the pines – where something seems to be gathering, glittering in the icy air. Memories of his childhood, buried deep, begin to crystallize. Soon Ben will enter the Forest. Very soon...
John Ramsey Campbell (born 1946) is a British horror writer.
Since Ramsey Campbell first came to prominence in the mid-1960s, critics have cited Campbell as one of the leading writers in his field: T. E. D. Klein has written that "Campbell reigns supreme in the field today", while S. T. Joshi stated, "future generations will regard him as the leading horror writer of our generation, every bit the equal of Lovecraft or Blackwood."