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Publisher's Summary

A compelling folk-horror story of deadly rivalry and the oldest magic from the author of The Ritual, The Reddening, No One Gets Out Alive and the four times winner of The August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel.

No home is heaven with hell next door.

Money's tight and their new home is a fixer-upper. Deep in rural South West England, with an ancient wood at the foot of the garden, Tom and his family are miles from anywhere and anyone familiar. His wife, Fiona, was never convinced that buying the money-pit at auction was a good idea. Not least because the previous owner committed suicide. Though no one can explain why.

Within days of crossing the threshold, when hostilities break out with the elderly couple next door, Tom's dreams of future contentment are threatened by an escalating tit-for-tat campaign of petty damage and disruption.

Increasingly isolated and tormented, Tom risks losing his home, everyone dear to him, and his mind. Because, surely, only the mad would suspect that the oddballs across the hedgerow command unearthly powers. A malicious magic even older than the eerie wood and the strange barrow therein. A hallowed realm from where, he suspects, his neighbours draw a hideous power.

“Adam Nevill excels at making nightmares real.” (Guardian)

“Nevill has crafted some of the tensest scariest horror this reviewer has read in years.” (SFX)

©2021 Adam Nevill (P)2021 Ritual Limited

What listeners say about Cunning Folk

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    1 out of 5 stars
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I can’t even continue

I’m really bummed that I can’t finish this book. The narrator is so boring and difficult to listen to. There’s no way I can listen to 10 more hours of this. I wish I had listened to the previous reviews about the narrator or at least googled him to see if id be able to pay attention to him drawling on. Now I’m out a credit and without a book to listen to.

7 people found this helpful

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Enjoying the story, narration is rough

Most of the narration is just fine but his female voice is very grating. When it's an angry female voice it hits a Monty Python-esqe comical level that really takes you out of the story. Also, there's a water trickling sound through a lot of the book. I don't know if the narrator just has a really wet mouth or if he had a small desktop fountain near his microphone. I'm still going to finish because the story hooked me but I'll definitely remember to avoid this narrator in the future.

5 people found this helpful

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Wonderful performance!

I really enjoyed the narration which perfectly captured the essence of the book. The story is reminiscent of some of my favorites yet manages to stay original and interesting.

2 people found this helpful

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loved it.

Nevill has a fantastic talent for taking the ancient world, the things that we have forgotten about, and bringing them backup to the surface. He has an excellent talent for having his characters come unraveled at things that would pull a person's threads apart.

Great book.

2 people found this helpful

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far too long and predictable

the only good thing is the prose is rather good but my god, so spoilers

the moment the dog showed up, I knew it was gonna die. the moment his wife was with him, I knew she would leave him, as soon as the neighbors showed up I knew they would be cultists. as soon as they entered the woods I knew their would be dead things hung up like piñatas. it's not a fun horror story when you've seen it a thousand times

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

terrible narration

had to bail. I've read other Adam Nevill books, the ritual is great and I liked the reddening, but the narration on this is awful. he reads modern horror like he's reading Dickens. takes you right out of the story.

1 person found this helpful

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Dropped a lot of pallets to this book working RSR.

I enjoyed it, have a young daughter myself, it was stressful. Certainly worth a listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing book!

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!
I think what made this book as horrifying as it was, was mainly the narrator being able to actually convince me on how deeply the protagonist Tom loves his family especially his daughter and how he would do anything to protect/ save them this made the consequences for his actions much more severe and relatable. Another amazing part was, the way author depicts the neighbours who outright hate Tom and his family without Tom being able to find a reason for that hate. Overall amazing book, creepy as hell!

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Story was gripping, narration was grating

The narrator on this is pretty painful. All the voices he does are weird and creaky, but his female voices are just awful - like scratchy, squeaky cartoons. And he kept mispronouncing ordinary words like “abyss” and “decade”. Given that the prose is already pretty overblown, it added a level of awkwardness and distraction that robbed the story of a lot of its impact.

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Slowly chilling

The first half of the book is slow and primarily introspective of the characters. The supernatural elements start subtle enough to be doubted. The second half becomes gory very quickly, The plot holds together with Tom’s deteriorating stability and the revealed supernatural happenings. But read with caution if gory horror isn’t your normal reading.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-30-21

Terrible Narration Spoils A Great Story

As always, Adam Nevill delivers a superb story of folk horror. However, the narration is simply *terrible*: Peter Walters clearly loves the sound of his own voice and seems to revel in mispronunciation. A shame, as all the other Nevill audiobooks on Audible are well-served by their narrators. Somebody should make Walters listen to them so he understands what the narrator's job actually is.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Tom O
  • 12-29-21

Poorly cast Narrator.

The overly cheery, avuncular tone is a terrible match for the source material. It sounds like Ronnie Corbett reading Edgar Allan Poe.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Nigel
  • 01-10-22

Disappointing

I'm a big fan of Adam Nevill, having either read or listened to all of his published work.

The problem I have with this book is that I can't decide if it is a good story or not. The reason for this is that the narration is just so poor. The character voices are laughable and at times the pacing is just all wrong.

In a month or two I'll buy the paperback and give it another go but I can't recommend paying for the audio version.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr Nightingale
  • 12-29-21

Returned Due To Narrator

This is narrated as though it is a fairy tale being read to five year olds. The narrators phlegmy voice is also very off putting. For these reasons I returned this book after about an hour. I suggest you listen to the sample before you choose the book.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-07-22

Great story but…

I swear to god if he said trauma or decade ONE MORE TIME I was going to lose it!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kezzabelle
  • 04-14-22

Great story, miscast narrator

Adam Neville always writes great horror, and this is no exception, but not a great audio book. Sadly the narrator is woefully miscast, performing the book like a whimsical children's novel, rather than a horror. Complete with some truly baffling pronunciation that I've never heard before!

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  • theparabola
  • 03-20-22

Maybe 3 stars is harsh but 4 feels too high

This is a difficult one because, after powering through Nevill's Hasty For The Dark, I was a massive fan and extremely excited for this one as soon as I saw it announced.

Folk Horror has been a real passion of mine ever since watching Ben Wheatley's Kill List and my love for the sub-genre only increased after his A Field In England.

The idea of nightmare neighbours isn't a new one but I did enjoy the after-dark trips into the woods with them. What's weird is that I leave the book in two minds; I grew frustrated at parts with the sheer amount of scene-setting and description to the point where I felt the metaphors used in places were needlessly hyperbolic but, at the same time, I don't feel the story was given enough time to develop in the way it did. I just can't accept that two weeks from moving in, one character is at death's door in hospital while another is hunting down the antagonists with a gun? The pace just felt janky.

Ultimately, yes, the swiftness of the story detracted somewhat from my enjoyment but, and this was first an observation made by a friend so I do not take credit, there was an entirely human horror here not satisfactorily explored - being financially trapped in a house and having nowhere to go. As a father (which is my least favourite way of beginning a sentence), one of my greatest fears is bringing my family into ruin like the protagonist does here. Being enthralled by the dream of happy-ever-after, clawing out of poverty in a capitalist system, only to fail dramatically and admit defeat is a horrible thing to imagine and I think the protagonist's main motivation of rage and fear of the supernatural should have been replaced with the human fear of failure and destitution. There could have been some really thought-provoking inner monologues on the subject.

Finally, the narration was entirely average but there were issues with the sound at points; a constant white noise in the background, obvious re-recording of small sections just stuck in the middle of a passage which broke immersion, and the narrator was too posh to convincingly narrate a working-class character. You wouldn't have Derrick Jacobi take Ray Winstone's place in the film Scum, would you?

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-30-21

Cunning folk

Another fantastic book from Adam Nevill, discovered the author through the Ritual adaptation and haven’t looked back. This one really got under my skin probably more so than No One Gets Out Alive. A tour de force in folk terror, culminating in something quiet cosmic and otherworldly. Here’s hoping it won’t be to long a wait for Adam’s next book. Tremendous!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • bibobaba
  • 12-15-21

Enjoyable

Well worth a listen. Black magic in the english countryside. Pagan deity. Main character not espicially amiable, which is good here.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-16-22

The narrator really lets this one down.

Weird pronunciations, strange voices, the narration was really lacking. I loved the story but I’ll be reading books by this author in future.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-02-22

Reasonably good Folk horror.

The Story was good but the narrator started to annoy me after a while.