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Nathaniel (1984)

by John Saul

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5401034,807 (3.53)3
From the blood of the past, evil rises to seek undying vengeance... Prairie Bend. Brilliant summers amid golden fields. Killing winters of razorlike cold. A peaceful, neighborly village, darkened by legends of death? Who is Nathaniel? For a hundred years, the people of Prairie Bend have whispered the name in wonder and fear. Some say he is simply a folk tale - a legend created to frighten children on cold winter nights. Some swear he is a terrifying spirit returned to avenge the past. And soon...very soon...some will come to believe that Nathaniel lives still - darkly, horrifyingly real. Nathaniel. For young Michael Hall, newly arrived in isolated Prairie Bend after having lost his father to a sudden tragic accident, Nathaniel is the voice that calls him across the prairie night...the voice that draws him into the shadowy depths of the old, crumbling barn where he has been forbidden to go...the voice - chanting, compelling - he will follow faithfully beyond the edge of terror...Nathaniel.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
A regular reader of Saul...….I have to say this. The ending was fluid and ambiguous and left you wondering. For the most part it is pretty decent. John Saul= Evil children. Just like Dean Koontz=On the run with golden retrievers. ( )
  Joe73 | Mar 17, 2021 |
Janet Hall's husband Mark dies in an accident while visiting his old hometown, Prairie Bend, (where his parents live). So Janet leaves their home in New York and goes to Prairie Bend with her son Michael for the funeral. (Janet can't understand why Mark visited Prairie Bend, he didn't tell her he was going there, and he hasn't seen or spoken to his parents for years.) Janet meets Mark's parents (Anna and Amos) who tell her Mark owned a farm. (This is a surprise to Janet since Mark never told her anything about this.) Janet eventually decides to stay in Prairie Bend and live on the farm Mark owned. She is very happy when the townsfolk all pitch in and help her fix up the farmhouse. She likes the friendliness of the people and finally feels like she belongs. (Janet always wanted to live on a farm.)

Janet has an eleven-year-old son, Michael. He has made some new friends but he doesn't seem to be getting on well with his grandfather Amos, who is a very strict man. Amos tells Michael to stay away from old Ben Findley's farm (an anti-social hermit who doesn't want to be disturbed.) But Michael keeps feeling a subconscious pull to go to Findley's farm, especially his barn. Michael keeps hearing a voice calling to him from the barn... the voice says its name is Nathaniel. But according to the townsfolk Nathaniel is dead...

This book had great atmosphere and settings. The barn and farm were eerie. I liked some of the characters, Janet and Mark's sister Laura. And some I didn't. I thought old Amos was horrible and mean, especially to Michael's dog Shadow. I liked when Shadow got back at Amos later on in the book. I wished some things (that confused me) in the plot were explained a little better though... ( )
  SandraLynne | Feb 4, 2018 |
Typical Saul fiction about evil children--atmospheric but with an incoherent ending ( )
  mritchie56 | Oct 21, 2017 |
john saul's plot lines are sometimes unsettling. in short, when it was all over, you are left wondering: "huh?" Happy endings? fagaddaboutit. that's why Hollywood leaves his books alone. In this story, he doesn't kill off the protagonist (Mark?), but does something just as weird, and where did that big black dog come from. he painted it as being a familiar with nathaniel, but at the end the dog attacks Nathaniel. I think. That's what I mean about being unsettling. If someone asks what the story is about, I would be hard put to give the essence. ( )
  andyray | Jul 1, 2011 |
Nathaniel is a name spoken in whispers by the people of a small, rural town in the Midwest. It harbors old stories and pains of days that they pretend never happen, but will one day come out and kill those who wronged the young man named Nathaniel. When a widow and her son arrive in this town, they find themselves caught in the story of Nathaniel's past, and bring about change, both good and bad.

This was much better than the last Saul book I read--The Homing--and a lot of fun to read. I finished this book relatively quick, and it was pretty good. I look forward to reading more of Saul's works. ( )
  NKSCF | Jun 16, 2010 |
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From the blood of the past, evil rises to seek undying vengeance... Prairie Bend. Brilliant summers amid golden fields. Killing winters of razorlike cold. A peaceful, neighborly village, darkened by legends of death? Who is Nathaniel? For a hundred years, the people of Prairie Bend have whispered the name in wonder and fear. Some say he is simply a folk tale - a legend created to frighten children on cold winter nights. Some swear he is a terrifying spirit returned to avenge the past. And soon...very soon...some will come to believe that Nathaniel lives still - darkly, horrifyingly real. Nathaniel. For young Michael Hall, newly arrived in isolated Prairie Bend after having lost his father to a sudden tragic accident, Nathaniel is the voice that calls him across the prairie night...the voice that draws him into the shadowy depths of the old, crumbling barn where he has been forbidden to go...the voice - chanting, compelling - he will follow faithfully beyond the edge of terror...Nathaniel.

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