Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley

The Dead of Winter (edition 2012)

by Chris Priestley

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9914122,024 (3.59)6
Title:The Dead of Winter
Authors:Chris Priestley
Info:Bloomsbury USA Childrens (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 224 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Christmas, Ghosts, MaineCat, Requested, Read, Returned

Work details

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley


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

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 6 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I went into the story full of intrigue, with wondering what would happen in this creepy setting..! Hawton Mere is full of secrets at every corner, and bumps in the night. (The characters didn’t disappoint, they were well developed, and made this story for me..!) It was definitely a fantastic read, and gave me chills in certain parts! ( )
  Zarien | Nov 26, 2015 |
When I was younger, I used to read lots of horror novels. The first time I raided my parents' bookshelves, I took Stephen King's Firestarter (which I enjoyed) and a German copy of Pet Sematary (that didn't work out so well – my German vocab just wasn't up to the task). I'm much more of a wimp now and rarely read horror, but I couldn't resist the bit on the back of this book that said fans of Neil Gaiman would enjoy it.

This is one of those books that I enjoyed more as I was reading it and in the grip of its creepy atmosphere than when I wasn't reading it. When I wasn't reading it and had more of a chance to think about it, I found that certain aspects of it irked me more.

My biggest problem with the book was probably Michael, who I didn't entirely like. Part of the reason for that, I think, was that there was hardly any time to see Michael at his best. The story began right after Michael's mother's funeral, which would have been bad enough, but then he was essentially forced to live with a man he resented. I tried to cut Michael some slack, at first, but his sullenness got a bit old after a while. He wasn't as bad towards the servants as he was towards Sir Stephen, but I don't think he was likable enough to deserve the affection some of the servants demonstrated later on in the book.

Initially, I didn't mind Michael's reaction to Sir Stephen so much. I could understand why Michael might blame Sir Stephen for his father's early death, and Sir Stephen did act a bit unhinged at times. However, I couldn't understand why it didn't occur to Michael that he and Sir Stephen had a few things in common, especially after he learned that both of them had seen and heard similar creepy things at Hawton Mere. It wasn't that I thought Michael should start to like and trust the man – I was just surprised that he never made the connection between his own reaction to the scary things happening at Hawton Mere and Sir Stephen's declining mental health. I figure, if I had grown up at a place like Hawton Mere the way Sir Stephen had, I probably would have eventually gone crazy too. Instead of seeing Sir Stephen as a potential ally or even just as another source of information, Michael seemed more focused on blaming him for everything.

Despite slightly disliking Michael, I plowed through this book really quickly. I read it in three sittings and could probably have finished it in one or two if I hadn't been so tired. Its atmosphere had such a grip on me that I found myself wishing I had more than just my cat for company while I read it.

Although I did think the book was very creepy, after a while I found myself wishing for a greater variety of scares. Mostly, the scares consisted of darkness/shadows and strange noises, along with different combinations of “I think there's something behind/nearby me,” breathing sounds, a ghost, a mysterious child, and a priest hole. Even though I sighed a bit when I got to yet another “it's dark and there's something in here with me” scene (not that those scenes didn't work on me each and every time - I'm that much of a wimp), the book never felt like a slog. It helped that I was very intrigued by the mystery of whatever had happened at Hawton Mere. I really wanted to find out who the woman and child Michael kept seeing were and why they were there.

Overall, I enjoyed this and would recommend it to someone looking for horror that doesn't rely on gory, gruesome moments for its scares. It'd probably work well for its intended audience (“Ages 12 and up,” according to Amazon).

(Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Sep 24, 2013 |
If you like paranormal stories this is a good read. It is quick read. ( )
  WickedWoWestwood | Feb 12, 2013 |
Book review by Smith, posted by CA Library:

"The Dead Of Winter by Chris Priestley. SPOILER ALERT! My book was about Michael Vyner the protagonist, who parents died in a car crash life changed forever. He is forced to live with this guy who his parents know but who he does not.

The second week or so, Michael and his new “parent” get in a verbal fight for him not finishing his supper. When it’s all over Michael left on his way walking to his old house a brutal storm came in causing Michael to not see anything but a person behind him.

Michael kept walking on even though he knew someone was following him. At this point Michael had no clue where he was at the time, when he turned around he saw this figure right behind him. He screamed no one was there to answer back. He tripped and was knocked out from the hit to his head. Michael woke and was warm, he thought how weird is that just a second ago in his only memory he was freezing cold on the verge of hypothermia.

The same figure he saw in the blizzard was right before him, turns out it’s his “new parent” Sir Stephen the antagonist. Sir Stephen welcomed Michael as if nothing just happened even though Michael thought it did. Michael demanded to be put in his uncle’s house but Sir Stephen said ”NO!” and smacked Michael in then faced and knocked him off his bed.

The maid screamed and picked Michael up and walked him out of his room. Michael not knowing what just happened asked “Why, what, what did I do?” The maid knowing of all the people Sir Stephen has abused over the years answered “Honey you fell you just landed on your head its ok.”. This book has the craziest ending you would never see coming.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars." ( )
  calibrary1 | Dec 2, 2012 |
This ghost story is the first person account of a young man, who as a child spent the Christmas holidays with his legal guardian at Hawton Mere, an ancient, brooding and foreboding manor house in the empty fenlands of Cambridgeshire, and of the events that still haunt him to this day.

This is one of the creepiest ghost stories I have read to date. The prose is very clear and precise, and the events are seen through the innocent eyes of a young boy. The imagery is vivid and atmospheric, a sense of dread and unease pervading the house, turning it into a character in its own right. The subsequent events unfold with a chilling predictability, with the setting in the snow-covered fens masterfully adding to the sense of desolation. Unfortunately a few plot inconsistencies mar the overall enjoyment of this tale, but Chris Priestley's name is definitely one to look out for. I will certainly never look at priest-holes again in the same way. ( )
  passion4reading | Jul 16, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
“Written in the first person, The Dead of Winter introduces us to Michael by explaining his need to pen the eerie happenings around him. Like a horror version of The Secret Garden, The Dead of Winter is a supernatural page-turner, guaranteed to send goosebumps crawling across your skin, making this young adult novel a truly riveting read.”

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Michael Vyner recalls a terrible story, one that happened to him. One that would be unbelievable if it weren't true! Michael's parents are dead and he imagines that he will stay with the kindly lawyer, executor of his parents' will ...Until he is invited to spend Christmas with his guardian in a large and desolate country house. His arrival on the first night suggests something is not quite right when he sees a woman out in the frozen mists, standing alone in the marshes. But little can prepare him for the solitude of the house itself as he is kept from his guardian and finds himself spending the Christmas holiday wandering the silent corridors of the house seeking distraction. But lonely doesn't mean alone, as Michael soon realises that the house and its grounds harbour many secrets, dead and alive, and Michael is set the task of unravelling some of the darkest secrets of all. This is a nail-biting story of hauntings and terror by the master of the genre, Chris Priestley.
Haiku summary
Michael Vyner spends
Christmas with his guardian -
Ghostly goings-on!

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

A boy, a mysterious guardian and a haunted house with a terrible secret - this is a chilling ghost story that will thrill and terrify and be read again and again and again.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
9 wanted2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.59)
2 1
2.5 2
3 7
3.5 5
4 15
4.5 1
5 1

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 | 100,945,950 books! | Top bar: Always visible