The Kind Folkby Ramsey Campbell
Cover art by Erika Steiskal.
It involved a mountain so high that the clouds would nest there while they whispered to one another. At those times nobodyfrom the village in the foothills would venture near the mountain, until one day an orphan boy found a hidden path. As he made the final ascent the clouds came down to gather about him. He thought they were about to blind him so that he would lose his way or fall, but they ushered him up to their eyrie and told him secrets they’d learned in their voyages across the sky. After that he climbed the mountain whenever they were there, but failed to realise how they were changing him. If he dreamed even while he was awake he would begin to lose his shape in the manner of a cloud, and soon the villagers noticed how they couldn’t see him properly. When they drove him out he fled up the mountain, starving until the clouds returned just in time to raise him up. Once his body dissolved it was free to rove the spaces above the world. Sometimes the villagers would see him striding the mountains on legs composed of cloud and as long as the sky was tall...
That’s just one of the tales Luke Arnold’s uncle Terence used to tell him when Luke was a child. Now Luke is a successful stage comedian whose partner Sophie Drew is about to have their baby. Their life seems ideal until Luke begins to learn how much that he has taken for granted about his upbringing is wrong. How serious was Terence about the magic in his tales? Why did he travel so widely by himself after Luke was born, and what was he looking for? Soon Luke will have to follow that route too, and confront forces that may be older than the world...
Ramsey Campbell has written many kinds of horror fiction – psychological, ghostly, satirical, not to mention comedy of paranoia. Midnight Sun and The Darkest Part of the Woods reached for awe beyond the horror, and now The Kind Folk does the same.
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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."