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The Ceremonies

Narrated by: Adam Sims
Length: 21 hrs and 45 mins
Categories: Fiction, Horror
4 out of 5 stars (159 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

He stopped, looked back, and saw it: the monstrous black thing staring at him from the tree.... 

This summer sees the long-anticipated reissue of The Ceremonies, a celebrated masterpiece from a generation ago, now fully corrected by its author. Chalking up the British Fantasy Award for Best First Novel on its original publication back in 1984, The Ceremonies was hailed by Stephen King as the best horror novel since Peter Straub's Ghost Story. It is now included in Horror: 100 Best Books.  

From the terrifying vision of its opening scene to the breathtaking horror of its climax, The Ceremonies turns our familiar world into a place of malevolent intrigue and ominous design. In the grip of an extraordinary writer, it plumbs the darkest underpinnings of ancient myth and folklore to reveal an undying evil.  

For graduate student Jeremy Freirs, citified, cynical, yet prone to daydreams, summer is the time to shed a few pounds and finally get some reading done for a course on Gothic literature. He's picked just the right place: the small, secluded village of Gilead, New Jersey, only 90 minutes from Manhattan but, with its antique customs and clannish traditions, seemingly centuries away. 

For farmers Sarr and Deborah Poroth, young members of Gilead's fundamentalist community, the summer threatens a conflict between their passionate natures and the stern dictates of their faith. For Sarr's widowed mother, gifted with second sight, it promises the frightful awakening she's dreaded all her life. And for aspiring dancer Carol Conklin, a naive country girl struggling to survive in the city, it brings not only the first blush of romance but a lucky job with a kindly looking old man known as Mr. Rosebottom.  

But 'Rosie', as he calls himself, bears a more sinister name - the Old One - and a far more terrifying secret. Though the signs are all about them, he alone knows the invisible design that rules these people's lives as they dance unwittingly toward doom: for in the heat of summer an ancient corruption is stirring, an evil rooted not far from the Poroth farm, yet reaching to the city and beyond. The time has come for the Ceremonies, the monstrous rites that will unleash on a despised creation an age-old promise of apocalypse. And to see the scheme unfold, like some deadly flower, is to watch a nightmare come to life.

©2016 T.E.D. Klein (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

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An all but forgotten classic - finally available!

It's hard to believe that the novel The Ceremonies by T.E.D. Klein, which began as a novella, The Events at Poroth Farm, was published almost 50 years ago in 1972. Do yourself a favor and look up Dark Gods by Klein, which contains this novella, as well as the incredible Children of the Kingdom (first published in the collection Dark Forces by Kirby McCauley). There are copies of Dark Gods available on Amazon, but be warned; good ones are expensive (glad I still have mine).

I confess I haven't listened to the narration yet, but my excitement on finding a novel that I love available as an audiobook made me take the plunge without hesitation.

T.E.D. Klein has crafted an atmospheric novel of Gothic horror that builds an air of menace with a slow, measured pace that will no doubt prove frustrating to those who are more accustomed to works that try to bludgeon the reader with graphic and often over the top plotlines that stretch credulity to the breaking point. This is a novel of cosmic horror to be read (in this case listened to) alone, by candlelight if possible. For me, The Ceremonies harkens back to a time when one could settle in with a good book, removed from all distractions, and READ with attention and dedication. Yes, dedication is needed if you're to get into and appreciate this world created by Klein: a world where dark and hostile forces gather like an impending storm. A world where reason breaks down under the weight of sinister things sensed, rather than seen. Many great novels build a sense of dread as effectively. Several of these are mentioned in a previous review by oftenevil. I would add Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon to his list as one to seek out.

So now I'm going to close the blinds, turn off all the lights but for one dim table lamp that throws ominous shadows, and let Klein work his magic through the power of narration. I hope you will choose to do the same.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Let the ceremonies begin...

When it comes to this author, you either have no idea who T.E.D. Klein is or you are one us...ahem, I mean one of the fervently dedicated fans of the man’s (infamously few and far between) publication history over the last few decades.

The cynic in me doesn’t believe that a generation that considers having an Audible membership the same thing as actually reading paperback books — meaning I HIGHLY DOUBT most folks on here have read this book or even heard of T.E.D. Klein. *But that doesn’t matter, so long as another generation of minds are looking for Top Shelf Horror and willing to explore a genuine soul-shaking story, regardless of how very few younger folks seem to know about Klein.*

So the optimist in me wants to believe you’ll do the right thing and order a proper copy of this book after or instead of buying this audio narration. There is an edition T.E.D. Klein released not long ago that I have where he has added a foreword, made some small edits regarding syntax & grammar, (the man is nothing if not a perfectionist), and it even feels like a hardcover despite being labeled a “paperback.” I suggest y’all grab it to read along with this narration — especially since you WILL want to revisit several pages throughout this behemoth-sized novel once you finish it.

I truly hope this audiobook brings a new life to Klein’s, “The Ceremonies,” as it has been sadly forgotten over the last ~30 years when considering the greatest literary horror titles of that era. Of course you’d think Straub’s, “Ghost Story,” David J. Schow’s, “The Shaft,” and Michael McDowell’s, “The Elementals.” McCammon’s, “Swan Song.” Ligotti’s, “Songs of a Dead Dreamer,” and “Grimscribe.” ALL ARE REQUIRED READING FOR ANY SELF-PROCLAIMED FAN OF HORROR. But be warned: These are not your mainstream Stephen King type of stories that get made into blockbuster popcorn movies. “The Ceremonies” is far closer to something profoundly disturbing and of an ancient evil. Think Ari Aster’s, “Hereditary,” in terms of how relentless that movie’s antagonists were on the Graham family. The opening scene to the Director’s Cut of The Exorcist comes to mind — where an ancient artifact is unearthed by Father Merrin, signaling the return of abject malevolence and the designs Hell has on the living...I envy those able to experience this book for the first time. Cherish it. Cheers.

24 of 34 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

LLots of smoke no fire.



The story has a lot of build-up but little in the way of horror. It sets the right atmosphere but spends a lot of time on character development and description and that part also has merit. However, the protagonists are completely clueless for 99% of it. In the meantime, they're not likeable.

Plus it's somewhat dated. The female protagonist Carol is totally confused then flattered by an old man's inexplicable attention with a naivete you would never see in a New Yorker now. That's a man in his eighties and a woman in her twenties. he showered her with gifts. Today that would be a completely different type of Horror Story. I waited for her to get suspicious. She wasn't there's totally nothing from that character.

The male lead its totally out of the loop and has nothing to do but eat and read up until the last half hour, when he suddenly turns hero.

The better characters are the secondary ones. But they're also clueless.

The story was a tease. Description was just good enough to where I read on for something to happen. Nothing happened and after that nothing continued to happen until the last half hour when something happened.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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TED Klein is an incredible author!

Folk Horror rich, this is a classic tale of good versus evil. Well written, excellent narration, and one of my favorite books of all time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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unable to stop listening!

This story did not let go of me! A chilling tale that kept me engrossed.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Great premise, poor ending.

I have very mixed feelings about this story. For many hours I enjoyed it thoroughly. The plot and premise were intriguing. The characters were slightly one dimensional, but they worked with the creepy build up.
For hours I was fully invested and on the edge of my seat, and then... meh. The ending was anticlimactic, didn’t fully make sense to me, and in no way lived up to the buildup.
I’d give the first half 4/5 stars, the third quarter 3/5, and the last 1/4 2 stars. That said, I loved the first half!

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pretty darn good

not sure what the other reviewer was talking about "lots of suspense and no pay off" it concluded just fine.... maybe doesn't understand how a book works..

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Exceptional

Terrifying Lovecraft-esque horror. Very well written, full of genuine scares. Great narration by Adam Sims who manages to give characters that could be hard to distinguish their own individual identities. Highly recommended.

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Amazing

Great book. Would recommend it to any fan of the supernatural horror genre. Also, great work by the narrator.

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Passages of terror

Had high hopes at the beginning, make no mistake there are gruesome and dreadful parts to this book, but overall it is too slow of a burn with an unsatisfying ending. The characters are flawed and relatable and have life. Very good narration.

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  • Michael
  • 06-24-19

Excellent audible version.

Very good story and narration. As the other review stated, I hope audible bring us Dark Gods soon!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark R
  • 06-21-19

The Roar of the Dragon

An excellent book with great characterisations from Adam Sims. Hopefully, Klein's Dark Gods will be released by Audible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-13-19

Dreadful book, great narration

Portentous, overlong, depressingly sexist, humourless sexual fantasy gussied up in pagan dress for negligible thrills. Great narration.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Fiona
  • 11-03-19

The best!

This book is so hard to find in print so I was so pleased to find it here! Dark Gods next?