Published today in book form for the first time:
The Ragthorn by Robert Holdstock and Garry Kilworth
“I am placing this entry at the beginning of my edited journal for reasons that will become apparent. Time is very short for me now, the final part of the ritual draws near… I cannot pretend that I am not frightened.”
There were these two British writers, one lived in the country, the other in the city. The country writer loved to visit the city and partake of brandy and Greek kebabs in the local hostelry. The city writer liked to visit the country and guzzle ale and barbecued steak under the apple trees. The two writers needed an excuse for these indulgences, and so they invented one, and this excuse was called “collaborating on a story” … It soon emerged that the story was to be about a legendary tree, which they both vaguely recalled from the tales their grandfathers used to tell them of mystery and myth. Soon they were delving with suppressed excitement into old documents at the British Museum and began to come up with some frightening discoveries.
The first of these finds was in studying the original text, in Anglo-Saxon, of the Old English poem “The Dream of the Rood”. The marrying of the “tree” (crucifixion cross) and the “thorn” (a runic character) was too elaborately regular to be an accident of metre or alliterative language. Other discoveries followed, and the story gradually surfaced, like a dark secret from its burial mound.
The Ragthorn: a dark and unsettling World Fantasy Award-winning novella by Robert Holdstock and Garry Kilworth.
Also included in this volume, two bonus stories: “The Fabulous Beast” by Garry Kilworth, and “The Charisma Trees” by Robert Holdstock.
‘Britain’s best fantasist … these are the visions of a real artist.’ – The Times
‘Our finest living mythmaker. His narratives – intense, exuberant, earthy, passionate, dense with metaphor – are new trails through the ancient forest of our imaginations. An essential writer.’ – Stephen Baxter
‘No other author has so successfully captured the magic of the wildwood.’ – Michael Moorcock
‘A new expression of the British genius for true fantasy.’ – Alan Garner, on Mythago Wood
‘Garry Kilworth is arguably the finest writer of short fiction today, in any genre.’ – New Scientist
‘Kilworth is one of the most significant writers in the English language.’ – Fear Magazine
‘Probably one of the finest writers of short stories Britain has ever produced.’ – Bookstove Online
‘Kilworth is a master of his trade.’ – Punch Magazine