I wonder if this tale may be too
disturbing for you..."
Edgar's Uncle Montague is a most curious
fellow who lives in a creepy
old house beyond the woods. He's
a man who hordes strange curios and
artefacts, as if he were a magpie. And
for each oddity, he has a story
to tell. Bad bedtime stories in which
curious boys and mischievious girls
encounter all sorts of cruelty and
horror. Oh yes, Uncle Montague likes
telling his scarey tales. But
are they really just stories..?
Over the course of an eventful visit,
young Edgar hears nine grisly tales,
and as each reaches its fearful conclusion,
so he left feeling more and
more perplexed - not just about the stories,
but about the very house
and lifestyle his uncle has adopted.
How did he come across all these
distasteful items, is Uncle Montague
hiding something, and if he is,
does Edgar really want to know
Now here's a chilly, chilling read.
Uncle Montague's stories are best
read in bed as the wind whips
and whistles outside, or by a fireside
whose flickering flames can stave
off the darkness as it creeps up
on the reader...
A drawing, a photograph, a gilt
frame - each has dark story behind it,
which Uncle Montague will share
with us, if we dare to listen. In
essence, we are Edgar, poised
by his uncle's fire as the author
steeps his fingers and evolves
into his sinister storyteller.
The nine tales are splendidly
unsettling - probably too spooky for a
few younger readers. The author's
not afraid of his subject matter,
and there are some ghoulish
images to help spurr on the creeping
sense of dread that pervades every
page. Bad things happen to the
boys and girls in these stories.
Uncle Montague/Chris Priestley
does a fabulous job of getting
into our heads and tickling our fear.
He even teases us between each
story. Is he frightening us too much?
Perhaps he should stop...? Perhaps
we're too scared to continue
this parlour game...?
The tone is very much helped
by the book's presentation. There's a
sombre, sepia cover with a twisting
tangle of tree tendrils entwining
around the border and coiling
all over the endpapers. And there, in the
thick of things is young Edgar, looking
out to us with fearful wide-eyes.
The artwork is by David Roberts,
and he also presents us with a series
of masterful full-page illustrations scattered
throughout the book. His
scratching, hatched style compliments
the stories beautifully. The
pictures have a shimmering sense
of movement, just like the shadows
in Uncle Montague's study...
If you want full-on horrors
and high-jinx, you'll do better reading the
latest Darren Shan, or Dean
Vincent Carter. The former, in particular,
knows just how to terrorize
us with his bright red tales of blood and
mayhem. But if you're in the mood
for the macabre... If the nights are
drawing in and you seek a few
old-fashioned chills to raise the hackles...
Well, Uncle Montague's
ready and waiting for you...
No spooky special editions here,
alas. But there are signed copies
of the hardback available on
the collectors market, if you dare to
track them down...
Montague's Tales of Terror
UK Hardback edition...
Take the candlelight tour, and see
what info you can reveal...
The publisher's guide to the author
and his works...
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