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The Hunger

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As featured in The New York Times Book Review Summer Reading Issue "Supernatural suspense at its finest...The best thing about The... Weiterlesen
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Beschreibung

As featured in The New York Times Book Review Summer Reading Issue "Supernatural suspense at its finest...The best thing about The Hunger is that it will scare the pants off you." --The New York Times Book Review "Deeply, deeply disturbing, hard to put down, not recommended reading after dark."--Stephen King A tense and gripping reimagining of one of America's most fascinating historical moments: the Donner Party with a supernatural twist. Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere. That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos. They cannot seem to escape tragedy...or the feelings that someone--or something--is stalking them. Whether it's a curse from the beautiful Tamsen Donner (who some think might be a witch), their ill-advised choice of route through uncharted terrain, or just plain bad luck, the ninety men, women, and children of the Donner Party are heading into one of one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history. As members of the group begin to disappear, the survivors start to wonder if there really is something disturbing, and hungry, waiting for them in the mountains...and whether the evil that has unfolded around them may have in fact been growing within them all along. Effortlessly combining the supernatural and the historical, The Hunger is an eerie, thrilling look at the volatility of human nature, pushed to its breaking point.

Winner of the 2019 Western Heritage Award for Best Western Novel 
A Bram Stoker Award Nominee--Superior Achievement in a Novel 2018
A Finalist for the Locus Award 
Suspense Magazine Best Book of the Year

And one of...

NPR’s 100 Best Horror Novels
The New York Times's 50 States, 50 Scares  Picks 
O, The Oprah Magazine's Scariest Books of All Time 
Women's Republic's Ten Horror Books by Women to Read This October
TODAY.com's 13 Scary Books, From Classics to Modern Fiction, to Read for Halloween 
AARP Magazine's 20 Scary Books for Grownups 

Forbes's The Five Best Horror Books of 2018-2019
Vulture
’s 13 Great Horror Books Written by Women

Refinery29's 20 Terrifying Books for When You've Already Read All The Spooky Season Classics 
BookRiot
's 15 Favorite Historical Thrillers
The Observer
's Best Books of 2018
InsideHook's New Wester Canon Selections


“Supernatural suspense at its finest...It is strangely ethereal, yet gritty...But the best thing about The Hunger is that it will scare the pants off you....Enjoy the journey, one so entertaining that you almost don't mind feeling queasy at dinner.” —The New York Times Book Review  

"Not only will Alma Katsu's acclaimed novel haunt you, it will give you empathy for the people forced to undergo such horrors." —O, The Oprah Magazine

“Katsu shows an acute understanding of human nature.…[She] is at her best when she forces her readers to stare at the almost unimaginable meeting of ordinary people and extraordinary desperation, using her sharp, haunting language.”USA Today

“A reimagining of the ill-fated Donner Party but with an eerie supernatural twist.” New York Post

"Equal parts unputdownable and must-put-it-down-or-I-am-going-to-have-a-heart-attack...You travel into this book and there is no escape. Katsu is an exceptionally gifted writer and the dread-soaked pages are with me every day as both a writer and a scaredy cat.” —Caroline Kepnes for TODAY.com 

“Combines meticulous historical research and a keen understanding of human nature with a monstrous original metaphor to reimagine the ill-fated Donner-Reed party as a haunted endeavor, doomed from its first mile.” Salon

"The Hunger is full of foreboding and humanity." Refinery29

The Hunger is being described as ‘the Donner Party with a supernatural twist,’ and it sure delivers on the spooky premise.” Bustle

“[The Hunger] is as rich in history as it is disturbing.” Vulture

"Katsu retells the haunting story of the Donner Party—shining a light on the darkest parts of human nature while incorporating a chilling supernatural element." —AARP

“Much like Dan Simmons's The Terror, Alma Katsu's accomplished, engrossing novel weaves a cocoon of supernatural horror around historical tragedy....The atmosphere of doom becomes as thick as the snow that eventually halts the pioneers' progress. It's a beautifully intense read.” The Financial Times (UK)

The Hunger by Alma Katsu takes the tragic tale of the Donner Party and infuses it with hints of witchcraft, vampirism, lycanthropy, cannibalism and zombiism in a tale that is fated to become the latest Donner Party-inspired horror movie.” True West Magazine

"Katsu grips and tormets readers with an eerie, well-researched facsimile of 19th-century America, vivid imagery of the harsh pioneering life, and the gnawing suggestion that malevolence, and not merely bad luck, may have shaped the Donner Party's fate." —Matador Network 

"In the case of The Hunger, inspired by the travails of the Donner Party, Alma Katsu blends evocative images of the American West with unnerving scenes of the supernatural, making for a uniquely gripping read." InsideHook

“Katsu injects the supernatural into this brilliant retelling of the ill-fated Donner Party....Fans of Dan Simmons’s The Terror will find familiar and welcome chills.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“For fans of historical fiction and the supernatural, Katsu’s goosebumpy and spooky plot makes for an original and surprising read.” Library Journal (starred review)

“A suspenseful and imaginative take on a famous tragedy.” Booklist

“An inventive reimagining...Westward migration, murder, sensation: the story of the Donner Party has all this....Katsu creates a riveting drama of power struggles and shifting alliances....The tensions [she] creates are thrilling.” Kirkus Reviews

“Grips readers from the opening paragraphs and doesn’t let go. Full of richly drawn and fascinatingly flawed characters, this is a story that is respectful of the history it relates, but doesn’t shy away from the sins, mistakes and bigotry of the past, to impressive effect.” RT Book Reviews

“The isolation is anxiety-inducing and the tension is perfect....Well-written and gripping with a strong conclusion, The Hunger is an inventive take on an already morbidly fascinating historical event. Recommended.”Historical Novel Society

“Escalating terror and excitement, leading to an ending that's beyond unsettling... Katsu does a remarkable job of transforming a true story into a hard-to-put-down work of fiction.... Unique, literary and entertaining.” The Oklahoman 
 
“Take the already gruesome Donner Party story, add a wagonload of frightening supernatural elements, and you have the ingredients that animate this chilling novel….A compulsively addictive retooling of historical fact.” Brandeis Magazine
 
“An unsettling and slow-burning tale that combines history and the supernatural that sure to please anyone with interest in either.” SF Reader

“It's a testament to Katsu's skill as a writer that she creates characters so compelling that we can't help hoping they will escape the fate we knew was hurtling toward them the moment we opened the book. She ends the novel with an image of sacrifice and an image of reconciliation, each of them powerful and affecting. They give the book a melancholy resonance. It's a fine novel.” Locus Magazine

“Alma Katsu has taken one of the darkest and most chilling episodes in our history, and made the story even darker, even more terrifying. I swear I'm still shuddering. A fantastic read!” —R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series

“Like The Revenant but with an insistent supernatural whisper. The setting and the story are utterly chilling. And the telling of it is so well done.” —Sarah Pinborough, author of Behind Her Eyes

The Hunger is a terrific historical novel with a thrilling, bloody twist. Alma Katsu’s brilliant reimagining of the Donner party’s fate is rich with character, laden with imminent doom, and propelled by chilling mystery. A novel that book clubs and dark fiction fans should devour with equal relish.” —Christopher Golden, author of Ararat and Snowblind

“If you think the story of the Donner Party can’t get more horrific, think again.  In this gripping, atmospheric reimagining of that dark tale, Katsu has created a deeply unsettling and truly terrifying masterpiece.” —Jennifer McMahon, author of Burntown and The Winter People
 
“An uneasy, nauseous, slow-burning tale that marries historical fiction with a hint of the supernatural. Great detailing; colorful characterization; some supremely ominous stuff, but always reined in at the final moment to rack up the tension even more. Loved it!” —Joanne Harris, author of Different Class and Chocolat
 
The Hunger is a bold and brilliant novel, heavy with foreboding and dread, and with a rich vein of humanity at its core. I challenge you to read it without experiencing your own hunger pangs.” —Tim Lebbon, author of Relics and The Silence

“In an audacious twist, Alma Katsu has made something new and suspenseful from the legendary story of the Donner Party. The Hunger is filled with terror, pity, and grue.” —Keith Donohue, author of The Boy Who Drew Monsters and The Stolen Child

Autorentext
Alma Katsu is the author of The Taker, The Reckoning, and The Descent. She has been a signature reviewer for Publishers Weekly and a contributor to The Huffington Post. She is a graduate of the Master's writing program at the Johns Hopkins University and received her bachelor's degree from Brandeis University. Prior to the publication of her first novel, Katsu had a long career as a senior intelligence analyst for several US agencies and is currently a senior analyst for a think tank. She lives outside of Washington, DC, with her husband.

Klappentext

As featured in The New York Times Book Review Summer Reading Issue

"Supernatural suspense at its finest...The best thing about The Hunger is that it will scare the pants off you."--The New York Times Book Review

"Deeply, deeply disturbing, hard to put down, not recommended reading after dark."--Stephen King

A tense and gripping reimagining of one of America's most fascinating historical moments: the Donner Party with a supernatural twist.

Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere.

That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos. They cannot seem to escape tragedy...or the feelings that someone--or something--is stalking them. Whether it's a curse from the beautiful Tamsen Donner (who some think might be a witch), their ill-advised choice of route through uncharted terrain, or just plain bad luck, the ninety men, women, and children of the Donner Party are heading into one of one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history.

As members of the group begin to disappear, the survivors start to wonder if there really is something disturbing, and hungry, waiting for them in the mountains...and whether the evil that has unfolded around them may have in fact been growing within them all along.

Effortlessly combining the supernatural and the historical, The Hunger is an eerie, thrilling look at the volatility of human nature, pushed to its breaking point.



Zusammenfassung
As featured in The New York Times Book Review Summer Reading Issue

"Supernatural suspense at its finest...The best thing about The Hunger is that it will scare the pants off you."--The New York Times Book Review

"Deeply, deeply disturbing, hard to put down, not recommended reading after dark."--Stephen King

A tense and gripping reimagining of one of America's most fascinating historical moments: the Donner Party with a supernatural twist.


Evil is invisible, and it is everywhere.

That is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the wagon train known as the Donner Party. Depleted rations, bitter quarrels, and the mysterious death of a little boy have driven the isolated travelers to the brink of madness. Though they dream of what awaits them in the West, long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and dissent among them escalates to the point of murder and chaos. They cannot seem to escape tragedy...or the feelings that someone--or something--is stalking them. Whether it's a curse from the beautiful Tamsen Donner (who some think might be a witch), their ill-advised choice of route through uncharted terrain, or just plain bad luck, the ninety men, women, and children of the Donner Party are heading into one of one of the deadliest and most disastrous Western adventures in American history.

As members of the group begin to disappear, the survivors start to wonder if there really is something disturbing, and hungry, waiting for them in the mountains...and whether the evil that has unfolded around them may have in fact been growing within them all along.

Effortlessly combining the supernatural and the historical, The Hunger is an eerie, thrilling look at the volatility of human nature, pushed to its breaking point.

Leseprobe
To Charles Stanton, there was nothing like a good, close shave.

He stood that morning in front of the big mirror strapped to the side of James Reed's wagon. In every direction, the prairie unfurled like a blanket, occasionally rippled by wind: mile after uninterrupted mile of buffalo grass, disrupted only by the red spire of Chimney Rock, standing like a sentry in the distance. If he squinted, the wagon train looked like children's toys scattered in the vast, unending brush-flimsy, meaningless, inconsequential.

He turned to the mirror and steadied the blade under his jaw, remembering one of his grandfather's favorite expressions: A wicked man hides behind a beard, like Lucifer. Stanton knew plenty of men who were happy enough with a well-honed knife, even some who used a hatchet, but for him nothing would do but a straight razor. He didn't shrink from the feel of cold metal against his throat. In fact, he kind of liked it.

"I didn't think you were a vain man, Charles Stanton"-a voice came from behind him-"but if I didn't know any better, I might wonder if you weren't admiring yourself." Edwin Bryant came toward him with a tin cup of coffee in his hand. The smile faded quickly. "You're bleeding."

Stanton looked down at the razor. It was streaked with red. In the mirror he saw a line of crimson at his throat, a gaping three-inch slash where the tip of his blade had been. The razor was so sharp that he hadn't felt a thing. Stanton jerked the towel from his shoulder and pressed it to the wound. "My hand must have slipped," he said.

"Sit down," Bryant said. "Let me take a look at it. I have a little medical training, you know."

Stanton sidestepped Bryant's outstretched hand. "I'm fine. It's nothing. A mishap." That was this damnable journey, in a nutshell. One unexpected "mishap" after another.

Bryant shrugged. "If you say so. Wolves can smell blood from two miles away."

"What can I do for you?" Stanton asked. He knew that Bryant hadn't come down the wagon train just to talk, not when they were supposed to be yoking up. Around them, the regular morning chaos whirled. Teamsters herded the oxen, the ground rumbling beneath the animals' weight. Men dismantled their tents and loaded them into their wagons, or smothered out fires beneath sand. The air was filled with the sound of children shouting as they carried buckets of water for the day's drinking and washing.

Stanton and Bryant hadn't known each other long but had quickly developed a friendship. The party Stanton had been traveling with prior-a small wagon train out of Illinois, consisting mostly of the Donner and Reed families-had recently joined up with a much larger group led by a retired military man, William Russell, outside Independence, Missouri. Edwin Bryant had been one of the first members from the Russell party to introduce himself and seemed to gravitate to Stanton, perhaps because they were both single men in a wagon train full of families.

In appearance, Edwin Bryant was Stanton's opposite. Stanton was tall, strong without trying to be. He had been complimented on his good looks his entire life. It had all come from his mother, as far as he could tell. He had her thick, wavy dark brown hair and soulful eyes.

Thy looks are a gift from the devil, boy, so you might tempt others to sin. Another of his grandfather's pronouncements. Once he'd smashed Stanton's face with a belt buckle, maybe hoping to chase out the devil he saw there. It hadn't worked. Stanton had kept all his teeth, and his nose had healed. The scar on his forehead had faded. The devil, as far as he knew, had stayed.

Bryant was probably a decade older. Years as a newspaperman had left him softer than most of the men on the journey, who were farmers or carpenters or blacksmiths, men who made a living through hard physical labor. He had weak eyes and needed a pair of spectacles almost constantly. He had a perpetually disheveled air, as though his thoughts were always elsewhere. There was no denying that he was sharp, though, probably the smartest man in the party. He'd admitted to having spent a few years as a doctor's apprentice when he was very young, though he didn't want to be pressed into service as the camp physician.

"Take a look at this." Bryant kicked a tuft of vegetation at their feet, sending up a puff of dust. "Have you noticed? The grass is dry for this time of year."

They had been traveling on a flat plain for days now, the horizon a long stretch of tall prairie grass and scrub. Flanking the trail on either side in the distance, sand hills of gold and coral rose and fell, some craggy as fingers, pointing directly to heaven. Stanton crouched low and pulled a few strands of grass. The blades were short, no more than nine or ten inches long, and were already faded to a dull brownish-green. "Looks like there was a drought not too long ago," Stanton said. He stood, smacking the dirt off his palms, looking toward the far-off hazy purple scrim. The land seemed to stretch on forever.

"And we're just entering the plain," Bryant pointed out.

His meaning was clear: There might not be enough grass for their oxen and livestock to eat. Grass, water, wood: the three things a wagon train needed. "Conditions are worse than we thought they'd be, and we've got a long way to go. See that mountain range off in the distance? That's just the beginning, Charles. There are more mountains behind those-and desert and prairie, and rivers wider and deeper than any we've crossed so far. All between us and the Pacific Ocean."

Stanton had heard this litany before. Bryant had said little else ever since they had come across the trapper's shack at Ash Hollow two days ago. The empty shack had been turned into a frontier outpost of sorts for the pioneers crossing the plains, who had taken to leaving letters behind for the next eastbound traveler to carry to a real post office for delivery onward. Many of these letters were simply folded pieces of paper left under a rock in the hope that they would eventually reach the intended recipient back home.

Stanton had been strangely comforted by the sight of all those letters. They had seemed a testament to the travelers' love of freedom and desire for greater opportunity, no matter the risk. But Bryant had gotten agitated. Look at all these letters. Must be dozens of them, maybe a hundred. The settlers who wrote them are ahead of us on the trail. We're among the last to head out this season and you know what that means, don't you? he'd asked Stanton. We might be too late. The mountain passes will be closed off by snow come winter, and winter comes early in higher elevations.

"Patience, Edwin," Stanton said now. "We've barely put Independence behind us-"

"Yet here it is the middle of June. We're moving too slowly."

Slinging the towel back over his shoulder, Stanton looked around him: The sun had been up for hours and yet they hadn't broken camp. All around him, families were still finishing their breakfasts over the remains of their campfires. Mothers stood dandling babies in their arms as they swapped gossip. A boy was out playing with a dog instead of herding the family's oxen in from the field.

"Can you blame them on such a fine morning?" he asked lightly. After weeks on the trail, no one was anxious to face another day. Half the men were only in a hurry when it came time to break out the jug of mash. Bryant only frowned. Stanton rubbed the back of his neck. "Anyway, Russell is the man to talk to."

Bryant grimaced as he stooped to retrieve his coffee cup. "I've talked to Russell about it and he agrees, and yet does nothing about it. The man can't say no to anyone. Earlier in the week-you remember-he let those men go off on a buffalo hunt, and the train sat idle for two days to smoke and dry the meat."

"We might be happy for that meat farther down the trail."

"I guarantee you that we'll see more buffalo. But we'll never get those days back."

Stanton saw the sense in what Bryant said, and didn't want to argue. "Look. I'll go with you tonight and we'll speak to Russell together. We'll make him see that we're serious."

Bryant shook his head. "I'm tired of waiting. That's what I've come to tell you: I'm leaving the wagon train. A few of us men are going ahead on horseback. It's too slow by wagon. The family men, I understand why they need their wagons. They have young children, the old and sick to carry. They have their goods to worry about. I don't begrudge them, but I won't be held hostage by them, either."

Stanton thought of his own wagon, his pair of oxen. The outfit had cost nearly all the money he made from the sale of his store. "I see."

Bryant's eyes were bright behind his glasses. "That rider who joined up with us last night, he told me that the Washoe were still south of their usual grazing territory, about two weeks down the trail. I can't risk missing them." Bryant fancied himself to be a bit of an amateur anthropologist and was supposedly writing a book about the various tribes' spiritual beliefs. He could talk for hours about Indian legends-talking animals, trickster gods, spirits that seemed to live in the earth and wind and water-and was so passionate that some of the settlers had become suspicious of him. As much as Stanton enjoyed Bryant's stories, he knew they could be terrifying to Christians raised solely on Bible stories, who couldn't understand that a white man could be deeply fascinated by native beliefs.

"I know these people are your friends. But for God's sake," Bryant continued. When he was excited about a subject, it was hard to get him to drop it. "What made them think they could bring their entire households with them to California?"

Stanton couldn't help but smile. He knew, of course, what Bryant was referring to: George Donner's great, customized prairie schooner. It had been the talk of Springfield when it was built and had become the talk of the entire wagon train. The wagon bed had been built up an extra few feet so there was room for a bench and a covered storage area. It even had a small stove with its chimney vented through the cloth canopy.

Bryant nodded toward the Donners' campsite. "I mean, how do they expect to cross the mountains with something like that? It's a behemoth. Even four yoke of oxen won't be enough to haul it up the steep grades. And for what? To carry the queen of Sheba in comfort." In the short time since the Springfield contingent had joined up with the larger Russell party, Edwin Bryant had developed a healthy dislike for Tamsen Donner, that was plain enough. "Have you seen inside that thing? Like Cleopatra's pleasure barge, with its feather mattress and silks." Stanton smirked. It wasn't as though the Donners were sleeping inside; their wagon was packed with household goods-including bedding-like every other wagon. Bryant was a little prone to righteous exaggeration. "I'd thought George Donner was a smart fellow. Apparently not."

"Can you blame him for wanting to make his wife happy?" Stanton asked. He wanted to think of George Donner as a friend, but he couldn't. Not knowing of Donner's connections.

And now, to make matters worse, he was having a hard time keeping his eyes off Donner's wife. Tamsen Donner was a good twenty years younger than her husband and bewitchingly beautiful, possibly the most beautiful woman Stanton had ever met. She was like one of those porcelain dolls you saw in a dressmaker's shop, modeling the latest French fashions in miniature. She had a cunning look in her eyes he found himself drawn to, and the tiniest waist, so small that a man could circle it with his two hands. Several times, he'd had to stop himself from thinking about how that waist would feel in his hands. It was a mystery to Stanton how George Donner had won a woman like that in the first place. He assumed Donner's money had something to do with it.

"A group of us are heading out tomorrow," Bryant said, more quietly. "Why don't you join us? You're your own man, no family to worry about. That way, you could get to . . . wherever you're going that much quicker."

Bryant was obviously fishing again, trying to learn the reason why Stanton was making the trip west. Most people were only too eager to talk about it. Bryant knew Stanton had owned a dry-goods business and a home back in Springfield, but Stanton hadn't shared with him-hadn't shared with anybody-why he'd decided to walk away from it all. His partner, the one with the business sense, had died unexpectedly, leaving Stanton to manage the store on his own. He had the head for that kind of thing but not the spirit for it-waiting on the endless stream of customers, haggling with the ones who didn't like his prices, trying to stock the shelves with products that would appeal to the citizens of Springfield, neighbors he barely knew and certainly didn't understand (exotic toilet waters? bright satin ribbon?). It had been a lonely time and was certainly one of the reasons he'd left Springfield.

But not the only reason.

Stanton decided to hedge. "What would I do with my wagon and oxen? I can't just abandon them on the trail."

"You wouldn't need to. I'm sure you can find someone in the group to buy them. Or you can hire one of the drivers to see to your wagon and make sure it gets to California."

"I don't know," Stanton said. Unlike Bryant, he didn't mind traveling with families, the noise of the children, the high-pitched chatter of the women on the trail. But it was more than that.

"Give me time to think about it," he said.

At that moment, a man on horseback came galloping up, his arrival announced by a swirl of dust. George Donner. One of his jobs was to get the wagon train started on its way in the morning. Normally, he went about it cheerfully, urging the families to pack their campsites and get their oxen hitched up so the great caravan could get under way again. But this morning his expression was dark.

Stanton hailed Donner briefly. It was time to go, then, at last. "I was just about to chain up-" he began, but Donner cut him off.

Produktinformationen

Titel: The Hunger
Untertitel: An NPR Best Horror Novel
Autor:
EAN: 9780735212534
ISBN: 0735212538
Format: Kartonierter Einband
Herausgeber: Penguin LCC US
Genre: Romane & Erzählungen
Anzahl Seiten: 416
Gewicht: 335g
Größe: H208mm x B139mm x T27mm
Jahr: 2019