Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Shadowland by Peter Straub

Shadowland (original 1980; edition 2003)

by Peter Straub

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,072167,795 (3.71)46
Authors:Peter Straub
Info:Berkley (2003), Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:audible.com, Your library, audiobook, Read
Tags:boys, prep school, magic

Work details

Shadowland by Peter Straub (1980)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 46 mentions

English (15)  Dutch (1)  All languages (16)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Occasionally interesting, but fails to sustain the energy and horror of "Ghost Story". Way too long. ( )
  datrappert | Nov 30, 2013 |
Shadowland was one of the first horror books I read growing up (I think I may have been twelve at the time that I read it). Along with some of the early works of Stephen King, it was one of the big reasons I became addicted to the genre and later became a writer. Shadowland is a richly written, complex books that I quickly became engrossed in. Shadowland follows two friends Del and Tom in boarding school. Both boys are into magic and dabble at it while they are in school. After the school year is over, they spend the summer at Del's uncle's house. Uncle Collins is a crazed, retired magician who gives the boy's a tutorial in real magic. As the book evolves, it starts to become clear that Uncle Collins isn't all in the up and up, something that Tom begins to pick up on. He comes to the conclusion that if he and Del are to survive the summer at Shadowland, they are going to have to escape. The only problem is that Uncle Collins has taken a keen interest in Tom and isn't about to let him go.

Shadowland is one of those books that perfectly fits the description of "hard to put down". Straub does a brilliant job of making the characters come alive. I've read many of Peter Straub's novels and this is my favorite. He did an excellent job of weaving in sub-plots and creating a story world that was both highly entertaining and very rewarding to read through. A definite horror classic, I would strongly advise to pick up a copy if you haven't already read this one.
Carl Alves - author of Two For Eternity ( )
  Carl_Alves | Jun 4, 2012 |
Read as a teen, this book was horrifying and had many layers to the story. I was glad to see that when reading it as an adult, the story held up.

The story begins at a fancy prep school. Del and Tom become friends quickly because they are both fascinated with magic. There are all kinds of things going on at the school - the students are having nightmares and other odd things are happening. Once school is over for the year, Tom accepts an invitation from Del to spend the summer holiday at Del's Uncle Collins' estate.

It turns out that Uncle Collins is a retired magician and plans on teaching them a lot over the holiday. Some of it is fun and some of it is terrifying. The problem is deciding which is real and which is not. Uncle Collins is also an alcoholic and half-crazy.

Some of the scenes are still disturbing to me, but nothing that shouldn't be read. There is a crucifixion scene that is very realistic and disturbing, but without it the book wouldn't be the same.

This is a great book as an introduction to what Peter Straub does. He is right up there with Stephen King - just as scary, using everyday objects and people, for the most part. Excellent Spring Break or Summer Break reading!! ( )
  SevsOnlyGirl | Apr 26, 2011 |
2011, Jan.: #2
Another book and another leftover from last year's reading. This time from a month of horror planned and just about ignored completely in October (I hardly got past King and Straub and mostly King's entirely mediocre and disappointing Talisman). As a big fan of Straub's Ghost Story, as well as his much more 'literary' (and some could say: sexy) aspirations and style of writing (that completely trump Stephen King's slapdash shenanigans; I'll just needlessly toss that in there, o yah!), this bastard was a big bore. A literal bore. Must mean something coming from a person whose use of 'boring' as an insult is so rare as to be nonexistent, partic. if we're dealing with beach reads that are meant to sweep me off my feet and keep me up all night like this here Shadowland. Ungh.

We don't need a drag-ass setup of 150 pages that leads to a zip-zip-zoom along a badly-paced, potential-oozing, completely nonsensical good v. evil plot, one of the most obvious and overblown I've read in a damn long time, which is a bummer, because I understand what Straub was half-heartedly going for here, a sort of riff off of John Barth's riff of of Joseph Campbell's riff off of Carl Jung, ancient mythology and human nature--just...you know, as mainstream 'horror'--and I like that dream; just a shame he couldn't reach it.

[740] ( )
  rickyrickyricky | Feb 6, 2011 |
It is surprising how hard it can be to review a book whn you have been asked to do it. The problem is that someone is going to read it. so my appologies in advance if you don't like what I have written.
The books is based arround a central "library" arround which a numer of other lands are acessable. The main caracters are drawn from earth and one other world, The majority of these are young people though there are a couple of "adults", all charachers are humans.
this book is third in a series and it does show. the first couple of chapters are hard going as you have to catch up with the backstory, after this however i was able to get into the flow of the story. While I was aware that there was part of the past that I was missing it did not interfear with the enjoyment of the tale. The book cover does say that the books are best read in order but I was impressed by the ability of this book to manage to be a stand alone, much of this is due to the ability of the author to merge some of the back story into the current episode while managing not to retell the backstory. I still have a number of questions left as to what happened before but they did not interfear with the story line of this book, I will just have to get the previous books and read them to find out. However this episode although it started apparently from a good central point did not seem to have a satisfying ending. there was a feeling that the book had got too long so they had shunted chapters into the next book.
The style of writing was easy to read and the text was of a good size. This did not feel like a book written for children, more a book for a very easy read.
One of the sceen that will stay in my head from this book is where they are traveling through the library and seeing different areas and how they are treating the library. In my head I am trying to fit those that i know into the various cults. Am i a book worshiper or a woodcarver, perhaps someone else can tell me. The comment of the character can to taken at face value if you like.
I would reccomed this book for good reads in p3 to very poor readers in secondaries.
  jessicariddoch | Dec 13, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Little Red Riding Hood was my first love. I felt that if I could have married Little Red Riding Hood, I should have known perfect bliss. - Charles Dickens
The key to the treasure is the treasure. - John Barth
For Benjamin Bitker Straub
First words
More than twenty years ago, an underrated Arizona schoolboy named Tom Flanagan was asked by another boy to spend the Christmas vacation with him at the house of his uncle.
In eternity they were married.
"The secret is hate," Collins said mildly. "Rather, the secret lies in hating well."
They seized his arms and pulled them out, stretching them until his elbows threatened to turn inside out. Tom howled, "You can't! You can't!"
"That is your opinion," Collins said, and approached, one shining nail between thumb and forefinger, the mallet already lifted in his right hand.
"NOOO!" Tom bellowed. Pease flattened his fingers back, exposing the palm.
"The pain won't be as bad as you anticipate," Collins said, and pressed the point of the nail into Tom's left palm.
As in the classroom, he spoke with little preparation; ... But in the course of his ramble, something reminded him of dreams, and he said, "Gee, dreams can take you to funny places. Why, I remember dreaming last week that I had committed a terrible crime, and the police were looking for me and eventually I holed up in a kind of big warehouse or something, and suddenly I realized that I didn't have anywhere else to go, that was it, they were going to get me and I was going to spend the rest of my life in jail...Boys, that was a terrible feeling. Really terrible."
That afternoon a sheet of paper appeared on the notice board outside the library which read: Last week I dreamed that a fat bore from New Hampshire was beating me to death with a pillowcase. That was terrible. Really terrible.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0425188221, Mass Market Paperback)

First setting: an all-male prep school in Arizona, where two sensitive freshmen form a bond based on their interest in magic tricks. Second setting: the labyrinthine house of a weird magician uncle in New England, where the two boys spend a memorable summer being trained in the art of illusion. Or is it real magic? Third setting: an alternate world where dark forces are at play--forces that first show up at the school, but intensify their power the summer. Shadowland is a superb, under-recognized, early novel from a master of literary terror. Get it while it's back in print!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:26 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Twenty years ago two friends spent a vacation in a remote compound in northern Vermont. One had come to work with a master magician. One had come to protect the other.

(summary from another edition)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
136 avail.
8 wanted
1 pay2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.71)
1 5
1.5 4
2 12
2.5 5
3 53
3.5 15
4 67
4.5 2
5 54

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,866,633 books! | Top bar: Always visible