Regular price: $24.95

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
  • Get access to the Member Daily Deal
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Hovern Bog. People live in terror of it - especially the residents of Fenchurch St. Jude, the little village located at its edge. They think of it as a living being. They've seen it reach out with sinewy tentacles... to take, entangle, and digest.

When 2,000-year-old bodies are recovered from the bog, perfectly preserved, it is the discovery of a lifetime for archaeologist David Macauley. But close examination of the corpses reveals a curious fact: all were cruelly, mysteriously murdered, gnawed to death by some unimaginable creature. Soon it becomes apparent that whatever tortured and killed the bodies from ancient times still roams the bog, and no one in Fenchurch St. Jude - especially David and his family - is safe.

In The Bog (1986), Michael Talbot (1953-1992), author of the vampire classic The Delicate Dependency and the chilling haunted house novel Night Things, delivers an exciting mix of science and the supernatural that will keep listeners guessing until the horrific climax.

"One of the better horror novels.... odd and risky mingling of pure science with fairy lore and gnashed bodies.... terrific." - Kirkus Reviews

"Exciting!" - Publishers Weekly

"Convincingly original!" - Ocala Star-Banner

©1986, 2017 Michael Talbot (P)2017 Valancourt Books, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    120
  • 4 Stars
    92
  • 3 Stars
    60
  • 2 Stars
    26
  • 1 Stars
    10

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    150
  • 4 Stars
    68
  • 3 Stars
    44
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    6

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    110
  • 4 Stars
    75
  • 3 Stars
    59
  • 2 Stars
    27
  • 1 Stars
    14
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Compelling first half, excellent narration

From what I see on Amazon, this story was originally published in the mid-1980s. Thinking back to horror films and novels that I passed the time with during the late 70s and 80s, listening to this story brought me right back to that time.

I give the story 3.75 stars because, like some other reviewers, the plot veered into directions that I thought were... unusual. Reading the book description, I knew that the theme would be supernatural/paranormal. I really, really enjoyed the build-up during the first half of the story. I'm a faculty member at a post-secondary education institution, and the dialogue and personal interactions (e.g., between David and his grad student) seemed authentic to me. I liked how the various tensions became apparent and I liked the gothic mystery of the local aristocrat and his companion, the missing dog, the close-minded locals, the strange housekeeper, and a bog that can swallow a person who takes a misstep.

I think that where things bogged down (argh) a bit for me was because there were perhaps too many different supernatural elements in the plot line, which strained my suspension of disbelief. I don't want to go into spoiler territory, so I won't list all of the supernatural plot/character elements... but there are definitely a few of them!

One of the main reasons why I'm happy to give this story 3.75 stars is because I have a soft spot in my heart for campy horror (such as the Hammer films) and for some reason this story reminded me of the 1992 'Turn of the Screw' film (with Patsy Kensit) or 1976's 'Omen' in terms of atmosphere and visuals. The Bog turned a bit surreal in the second half, but that's okay because the menacing atmosphere in the first half of the story had me hooked. I'm not a professional film or book critic; I enjoyed the story because of how it fit within my personal warm memories of horror in the 70s and early/mid 80s, so it scores nostalgia-points for me.

The other reason why I reduced the rating a bit was because of a few minor details that seemed to jar me out of my emotionally tense groove. With this genre, I relish the thought of being immersed emotionally as the story progresses and I'm willing to suspend disbelief. However, it's often the banal little details that knock me out of my stupor and say to myself, "Meh. This is fake." For this story, the details that knocked me out of that stupor were related to David's eyesight while in the bog at night. There were a few times where it seemed like he had super-human vision (e.g., being able to see a creature's nictitating eye membrane blink...from a distance... behind the bushes... in a bog... at night). He also was really good at finding a piece of jewelry that had been flung out a window at night. Little details like that are like a hypnotist snapping his fingers and waking the subject up. Weird, but true.

As for the narration, I thought it was absolutely great. Matt Godfrey was an excellent choice for this story. The only reason why I took a star off for narration was because I thought that his voice for the grad student was a wee bit too diffident for my taste. I'd most definitely listen to a Matt Godfrey-narrated horror story again in the future.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Starts fine then jumps the shark.

When the book first starts it seems it might be in the vein of "Relic" by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child but it soon spiraled into an unsophisticated and campy mess. I like campy but this was just ridiculous. I did like the performance. It was the only thing that helped me get through it.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Creepy but Unsatisfying

I only got about two thirds of the way through this story. The performance was lovely, and well paced but the story was lacking. I like stories with monsters, but not when they’re revealed in the middle of the damn story. It held no appeal for me after I found out what was behind the terror. The description of the setting and the characters was quite nice, although.

Overall I felt like I ordered a decadent meal at a nice restaurant but got a McDonald’s sandwich.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting, a bit uneven

The book was repackaged in 2017, but originally published in 1986. This explained the specific writing style and why a few elements felt dated. The author also used ly words – exhausted-ly, caressing-ly, etc. – to the point of distraction. That said, it is a well written and researched book. The story goes in crazy, wild directions. Most of these twists I saw coming, a few I did not. The hero is not flawless, which I liked. A flaw that was most unfortunate is the pacing. In the beginning, and middle it’s like a modern Gothic horror story, which is good, and is paced according-ly. But, as the climax builds, the pace does not quicken. I did finish the book, wanting to know how it would end, so it is written compelling-ly. But the story reveals did leave me feeling that this was a fun, but uneven experience.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The Bog

The Bog is the kind of story that I would recommend to anyone that enjoys a good deal of histrofiction (patent pending ;o). I loved the archeological science, the historical bits, the way history was altered, the fantastical, and emotional parts of the book. I could easily imagine myself in this area being creeped out by the locals. It is tricky playing with such powerful characters, but Michael Talbot did a great job of balancing the respective aspects of light and dark so that even thought the story is wondrous, it didn't feel forced. I really enjoyed the way the story played out and almost all of the ending. And, as always, I thought Matt Godfrey killed it with his narration. Good job, guys.

This book was given to me for free at my request for my voluntary and unbiased review.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

High-End 1980s Horror

The Bog is an old-school work of 1980s quiet horror. Michael Talbot slowly sets the stage, introducing archaeologist David Macauley and his family living abroad in the UK on a research grant. David specializes in studying bogs, particularly the corpses found preserved within. In a small English village, David uncovers not just a spate of bog bodies, but colorful legends – legends that point toward the true nature of an ancient evil responsible for the death of the bodies he is now unearthing. As readers slowly settle in for what first appears to be a creature feature, Talbot serves up a few interesting twists alongside a couple doses of personal tragedy and plenty of foreboding dread.

One of the things I most appreciated about The Bog was Talbot’s plotting. Even the most seemingly insignificant plot points and character beats play into the larger narrative and receive certain payoffs as the story resolves. A character’s veganism, a child’s fascination with the word ‘moxie’, a tavern’s clienteles apprehension over the appearance of a moth all lead to larger elements within the story, and the introduction of these minor points help to, in various ways, bring The Bog full-circle by book’s end. Throughout the story, Talbot introduces a number of concepts that I enjoyed quite a bit, particularly in regards to the nature of the evil infecting the small hamlet Macauley and his family find themselves inhabiting, which dovetails nicely with David’s work as a historian and scholar.

Reissued by Valancourt, The Bog is narrated by Matt Godfrey. I’ve only recently become familiar with Godfrey’s work, but he’s quickly earned with me the reputation of being a solid reader. I can expect a natural delivery complemented by subtle performances and distinct voice-work for each of the characters. In that regard, The Bog meets expectations. Each of the male and female characters presented here is clearly delineated and unmistakably unique. Listening to this book through my car’s audio system during my daily commute, I could not detect any flaws in the audio production, and the sound is crisp, clean, and well-modulated.

Readers looking for some high-end 80s horror should find a lot to enjoy in Talbot’s work. While The Bog is a bit of a slow-burn, it is ultimately quite enjoyable. Patient readers will be greatly rewarded by the way certain puzzle pieces of the plot align and snap into place as the story progresses.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

More fantasy not horror

I found this book while browsing the horror section. This is not a horror story but more fantasy including wizards, demons and magic. Not to my taste. I returned it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unexpected Horror

'The Bog' is a story I can't quite get out of my mind, though I've listened to several since. A mix of science, magic and monsters, this story is truly unique. Every time I thought I knew where it was going, it took a hard turn in another direction - an occurrence that is both rare and satisfying for me. Though it was somewhat of a slow burn, I found the characters and the mystery aspect to be incredibly juicy and I was dying to discover the 'secret' throughout. I will say that the first half was better than the second half but I would still recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a monster mystery. Matt Godfrey delivers a stellar performance and Talbot puts together a tight, interesting, and fun horror story!

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The Bog holds secrets

I really enjoyed the start of the book and thought it was headed to a great buildup of a creature feature style book. Didn't really go that route, more magic and wizardry than I prefer but was still a good story. Wouldn't call it horror at all but I assume for the time that this came out it was probably fairly scary. The start was more thriller and suspense with a
I have to say David started out in my mind as a jackass. Didn't like the type of father he was, dog owner, or husband really. Was actually pleased with the writing such that it could make me hate the main character. Although as the story progressed I sympathized with him more and began to root for him as opposed to just the rest of his family.
Matt Godfrey does a great job narrating. His voices are great for the characters and I'm sure my desire to keep listening to one more chapter is mainly owed to him.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Magic and Monsters

A pretty good tale about a Leviathan sort of monster that roams a bog where an archaeologist found a well-preserved body from Roman times. It has some creative plot twists, but is, for my taste, a little saccharine in its character development and family relationships. Entertaining, and well presented.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful