He’s run away home. That’s what they say every time one of Charley Winslow’s friends vanishes from The Old Cross School for Boys.
It’s just a tall tale. That’s what they tell Charley when he sees the ragged grey figure stalking the abbey halls at night.
When Charley follows his pet insects to a pool of blood behind a false wall, he could run and let those stones bury their secrets. He could assimilate, focus on his studies, and wait for his father to send for him. Or he could walk the dark tunnels of the school’s heart, scour its abandoned passages, and pick at the scab of a family’s legacy of madness and murder.
With the help of Sam Forster, the school’s gardener, and Matron Grace, the staff nurse, Charley unravels Old Cross’ history and exposes a scandal stretching back to when the school was a home with a noble family and a dark secret—a secret that still haunts its halls with scraping steps, twisting its bones into a new generation of nightmares.
“There’s a secret in this book. It’s stunning. It’s dark. And it’s as satisfying as any unknown a horror fan could could ever hope to unearth. So well written, so well paced, Sarah Read’s The Bone Weaver’s Orchard is a thriller with class.” —Josh Malerman, author of Bird Box
“Sarah Read is one of the best authors currently writing contemporary dark fiction, and this is a journey you’ll want to take with your eyes open wide and your coat pulled tight. A haunting, lyrical, visceral story.” —Richard Thomas, author of the Thriller-nominated novel, Breaker
“Sarah Read’s THE BONE WEAVER’S ORCHARD is haunting and perfectly tuned. With her own compelling voice and an atmosphere reminiscent of del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone, it’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. But, given that it is, I can’t wait to see what she does next. Read is someone to watch, and someone to read right now!” —Bracken MacLeod, author of STRANDED and COME TO DUST
“Read provides a dark atmosphere of uncertainty and trepidation with an effortless grace… The characterization and Read’s power of description are stunning. There are scenes in this novel that had me cringing with disgust at times, and peeking through my fingers at others.”
“The chilling Gothic atmosphere is strong throughout this novel. Read effectively conjures an alluring tone that sets the mood very well for this horror tale.”
“The Bone Weaver’s Orchard is horror of the most lingering kind… It’s a well-paced Gothic tale told with modern attitude, but with a firm respect for the traditions of the genre. Like most Gothic work, there is a gradual build to the dreadfulness within, but the eeriness and unsettling tone are here from the first page… Sarah Read’s The Bone Weaver’s Orchard is at times harrowing, at times tender, and in all its pages of crumbling ruin, secrets, and despair, an immensely worthy read.”
“…it reached out beyond the written word in a familiar way that immediately appealed to me. First and foremost, this book is gothically atmospheric in the best possible way. The Old Cross School for Boys is a horribly delicious setting for all sorts of wickedness and secrets. … My reader’s heart was bound and tethered to them, making all the suspense and terror that much more threatening and heart-pounding! … My time with Sarah Read and her words on these pages are some of my favorite. A serious contender for my favorite book of 2019. One more thing: there was a moment in this book where I gasped out loud. There was a very distinct turning from a moody, dark “coming of age” story to grisly horror, full stop. It was from that moment on; I knew the full extent of Read’s talent. She’s an amazing, gifted writer and I will absolutely show up for anything she puts out in the future. Horror lovers, this book is a must have and Sarah Read is a new insta-buy author.”
“Sarah Read is one of the strongest new voices in horror that I’ve come across lately. THE BONE WEAVER’S ORCHARD had everything I could have asked for in a novel, and more. There were several intricate threads woven around that even I didn’t foresee. Each time I came across something unexpected, I’d stop to think back for a moment, only to realize that the seeds had been so cleverly sewn that I had just failed to recognize their significance in advance.
With a steady, engaging writing style, and the ability to portray even the most horrifying of images without hesitation, I believe we’ll be seeing some great things from this author in the future.”
“Folks, this writer has it. THE BONE WEAVER’S ORCHARD is immersive, evocative, and wonderfully-crafted. Sarah Read is a skilled, perceptive storyteller with a poet’s command of language. I got lost in her fictional world and didn’t want the story to end. Highly recommended!”