Read The Memory of Trees by F.G. Cottam Online

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Billionaire Saul Abercrombie owns a vast tract of land on the Pembrokeshire coast.  His plan is to restore the ancient forest that covered the area before medieval times, and he employs young arboreal expert Tom Curtis to oversee this massively ambitious project. Saul believes that restoring the land to its original state will rekindle those spirits that folklore insists oBillionaire Saul Abercrombie owns a vast tract of land on the Pembrokeshire coast.  His plan is to restore the ancient forest that covered the area before medieval times, and he employs young arboreal expert Tom Curtis to oversee this massively ambitious project. Saul believes that restoring the land to its original state will rekindle those spirits that folklore insists once inhabited his domain. But the re-planting of the forest will revive an altogether darker and more dangerous entity – and Saul’s employee Tom will find himself engaging in an epic, ancient battle between good and evil.  A battle in which there can be only one survivor....

Title : The Memory of Trees
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780727883155
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Memory of Trees Reviews

  • Navessa
    2018-11-21 13:31

    I don’t usually subscribe to the belief in Fate. People talk about it like it’s unavoidable and inexplicable and irreversible. Still others use it to explain away eerie coincidences or the chaos of a sometimes violent world. Me, I just try to avoid thinking about it. Most of the time. Then something happens that makes me question if those people are right and that there really is some universal pattern being woven out of our souls by the fingertips of the gods on a loom made of stars. See what happens when I get philosophical? The Snark gets replaced by The Purple. You see, I could argue that fate led me to this book. I had just ordered a copy of A Monster Calls from my favorite used book seller and then switched over to NetGalley to browse the latest releases only to be hit with this. Though they’re vastly different stories, there were striking similarities in the covers. Both have hulking figures in the left foreground, ominous, stormy skies, and trailing landscapes. Both had creepy and intriguing book blurbs and both made me really want to read them. Thankfully, unlike A Monster Calls, I really enjoyed this book.One of the things that makes it so good is how intelligently the characters are developed. Pretty much all of the things I want to rave about when it comes to this aspect are spoilery so instead I’ll say that I was forever making assumptions about them and I was continuously wrong. And it would be criminal of me not to mention that this myth-based thriller is gorgeously written. It somehow manages to be both stark and lyrical at the same time. Say it with me now: HALLELUJAH!Aaaaaand then you have the creep factor. I always appreciate books that keep me on the edge of my seat but those rare few that allow my own imagination to fill in the gaps are the ones that usually keep me up at night. Because let’s face it, our minds (mine especially) can be dark and dangerous places, and when left to our own devices we’ll usually fill that dense fog that’s creeping up the shoreline with the most horrific creature our twisted thoughts can come up with. This book made me afraid of trees.Damn you, Cottam. Damn you.

  • Scarlet
    2018-11-14 16:18

    4.5I'd never heard of F. G. Cottam when I stumbled upon this book on NG. My decision to hit request was driven by an intense case of cover-cum-title love, and the fact that this was due for release on my birthday (yes, I can be shallow like that sometimes). But if all his books are this wonderfully creepy, then I sure have a lot of reading to do in the near future.The Memory of Trees is an immaculately crafted piece of horror driven by the age-old formula of dread. It's the kind of book that makes you intensely uneasy for no clear reason and then takes advantage by amplifying that anxiety with every other chapter, like that feeling you sometimes get of being watched but when you turn there's no one there. The build-up is so intense that even though you have no idea where it's going, you dread reaching there anyway.Billionaire Saul Abercrombie hires Tom Curtis a.k.a the "Tree Man" to restore his vast sea-side estate to it's ancient verdant glory. But the land harbors dark secrets, hidden in myths and Arthurian legends, and it may be too late before Curtis realizes that some forests aren't supposed to exist.The best, or in this case, creepiest aspect of the book is the setting. There is something very wrong about Abercrombie's land and Cottam captures that vile atmosphere brilliantly. The ancient desolate church with it's single large montage depicting a legendary hero, the cairn of stones where the wind shrieks and whistles as it passes, the undiscovered cave that folklore claims is the abode of ancient monsters, and most of all, the thorn bush, oh Lord, THAT THORN BUSH - I'm expecting them all to feature in my nightmares.Cottam's writing is fantastic. It's lush and descriptive with minimum dialogue. "There was something unlovely about the acreage Abercrombie owned, a baleful quality beyond its vastness. It was a place where things seemed to lurk and hide and to have qualities other than those they ought rightfully to possess."Just what I was saying earlier but in Cottam's lovely words.Things don't start happening right away, of course. There are many characters and back-stories to get through in the first few chapters so I can't guarantee you'll be hooked from page 1 even though I was. I never felt bored, I never felt the mood or pace falter. This book definitely has five-star potential and I'm only holding out on the rating because this is my first (and surely not last) Cottam book.The Memory of Trees is one of the creepiest books I've read in recent times. I'm not a girl who's easy to scare but I would be lying if I said I didn't have goosebumps on my arms at a certain point while reading. I live on the fourth floor and there are many trees around my apartment. No willows or yews, thank God, but there are some palm trees that are waving their feathery fingers at me right now and creeping me out.Just for tonight, I'll sleep with the window shut tight and the curtains drawn.*With thanks to Netgalley for the free digital copy*

  • Helen
    2018-12-09 16:37

    What a super slow-burn, subtle tale of horror this was. I relished the setting; the bleak, unforgiving Welsh coast, all grey and doom-laden. The premise is one I find very much appealing as well, the idea that more-money-than-sense billionaire Saul Abercrombie is funding the reforestation of a vast swathe of land so that it might be returned to its former glory is a fantastic one. He does, of course, have ulterior motives and this might be one green initiative that the Forestry Commission might want to pass on. The trees are relocated and thrive, but then there are far more trees than Tom Curtis and the rest of the team hired for the job planted and it's very unnerving. The idea of sentient, possibly malevolent plant life is positively spine-tingling! It's not just the trees themselves that are eerie, they're a sort of preamble, a life-support system for something far worse that wants to reassert itself.And then, of course, there's the whole back story of Tom Curtis with its links to folklore and myth,and richly built history of the area itself.Overall this was an excellent example of English horror writing, and I will certainly be reading more by Mr. Cottam.

  • Blair
    2018-11-25 10:38

    Eccentric billionaire Saul Abercrombie (think one of the stars of Dragons' Den crossed with Keith Richards) is gravely ill, but there's one project he's determined to complete, at any cost: the large-scale recreation of an ancient forest across a vast slice of land on the Welsh coast. Called in to mastermind this ambitious plan is arboreal expert Tom Curtis. Desperate to raise funds for a legal battle for access to his young daughter, Tom takes the job with few questions asked, and quickly assembles a team of friends and colleagues to assist him. But on arriving at Abercrombie's domain, Tom and the others sense something increasingly strange about the place.I always love Cottam's books, and The Memory of Trees was no exception. I must admit, though, that I didn't immediately get into it - it's more of a slow burner than the author's previous novels. There's a fairly large cast of characters to get to grips with and, perhaps because of this, it wasn't until I was about halfway through the book that I truly felt glued to the story. The author's characters are always so believable that I'd prefer to read in more detail about two or three likeable ones than a larger group of people, some of whom are (deliberately!) rather unpleasant: however, once I'd settled in to the plot and figured out who everyone was, I warmed to the cast a lot more. I really enjoyed the fact that, despite the limited amount of narrative they had devoted to them, many of the characters had far more to them than I at first assumed. Dora, for example - she went from bad to good to bad again to good again, and was more complex than I would have imagined a supporting character could be. I was happy none of the obvious potential relationships/couplings (view spoiler)[(Fran getting together with Tom or Pete; Dora sleeping with Tom and/or Pete; Tom getting back together with Sarah, although the latter was hinted at) (hide spoiler)] actually came to be, and it was almost refreshing, if that's not too gruesome a word to use about this topic, that a number of the main characters and some of the 'good guys' were killed off, instead of just the people you were meant to dislike and/or not care about. Oh yes, and I also really liked (view spoiler)[that the bush was a red herring and, far from being evil, actually ended up saving the day (hide spoiler)]!I have come to rely on this author to deliver a certain kind of story with finesse and fantastic characterisation: if you're a fan of ghost stories and/or subtle horror and Cottam isn't on your radar, you really need to sort that out as soon as possible. The Memory of Trees is another fantastically enjoyable spooky tale filled with believable characters, and it ends on an unexpected note. Great fun, with hidden depths.

  • Simona
    2018-11-17 17:36

    Initially I found this book a little bit 'out there' however as I continued I became intrigued with what was starting to unravel and the 'deals' that we slowly find out that have been made ... would I recommend this book? absolutely! as long as you are able to look beyond the 'Square' to the worlds beyond and beneath ... although a little dark and bleak in the mood well written.

  • Sue
    2018-11-24 15:28

    Once again, Cottam has given me what I want from a paranormal/horror novel---moments of extreme creepiness, this time linking the present to pre-medieval times in Wales. An extremely wealthy man has decided to re-forest the vast open lands he has purchased on the coast of Pembrokeshire. There is talk of an early Arthurian era hero having slain an evil creature on that land a millenium or more in the past. There have been no trees since that time.The question now is what will happen when this forest is reintroduced. How foolhardy is this project or is the talk just that, talk.I'll leave it to other readers to learn the details from the book itself. There's no fun in having spoilers for a book like this.P.S. For those interested, Cottam tends to go with "offstage" gore and implied violence which I find all the more effective.

  • Jill
    2018-12-08 15:22

    I marvel at authors who can transform mundanities into atrocities. Axe-wielding murderers, spiky-jawed sharks, rabidly hungry wolves: these are everyday horrors, implicitly terrifying. But trees? What horror writer would ever endeavor to make trees—those limbed and leafy things we know from birth and walk beneath daily—as frightening as a deranged killer? Stephen King did it with the Overlook’s Hotel topiary animals in The Shining and F.G. Cottam does it here in The Memory of Trees.He certainly creates an eerie atmosphere as the ill-fortuned protagonist replants an ancient Welsh forest, a well-intentioned act that awakens a centuries dormant curse. Among the yews and the elms and the willows, a decidedly malignant horror stirs, and it is this slow progression of evil that makes the novel quite the page-turner. Plotwise, I have very little to complain about. I found the ending underwhelming, but that's expected. Horror novels normally revel in the exposition, the descent into madness, not the climax. I absolutely loved how Cottam chose to base the origins of the curse in medieval mythology. In fact, I would have preferred even more exploration of the history of the forest and its horrors. What I appreciated less, however, was the writing. There are too many simple sentences and the dialogue is something awful. Particularly tiresome is Saul Abercrombie, the main character who desires to restore the forest, who frequently calls his hired arborist, “Tree Man”, and at the age of 70+ seriously uses phrases like “fucking cool” and “simpatico.” The lack of authenticity in the dialogue may derive from the weak characters who never feel real. They never seem to be anything other than players in a drama who have a role to fulfill. The writing is poorly worded to the point where some sentences require multiple readings before becoming comprehensible. For instance” “he did not delude himself he would enjoy the protection he did from the trivial nuisance Isobel Jenks had become when that confrontation occurred.” A few more thats and a few less sentence modifiers tacked on would have helped me decipher that monstrosity. In spite of those misgivings, I enjoyed The Memory of Trees. I’m becoming convinced that horror is one of the hardest genres to write. Scary is scary—anyone with a word processor can do it. But to create a horror novel with a well-established backstory and an ingenious vector of terror? Well that’s rare and should be applauded.

  • Leah Polcar
    2018-12-06 18:25

    F. G. Cottam never ceases to amaze and delight me. Somehow Cottam managed to write an intriguing and sometimes spooky story about creating a forest. And not even a forest featuring old creepy trees -- just plain old trees (view spoiler)[ with the exception of that one creepy thorn bush(hide spoiler)]. What I love about Cottam and is plain in this novel is how he treats the supernatural as natural. For example, having the ghost of your dead mom just sort of pop up for a chat seems perfectly plausible -- it's a neat trick. This book is not his best, in my opinion, but like his others it is incredibly well-written and entertaining.

  • Jan
    2018-12-10 10:29

    I am delighted to review The Memory of Trees. This has to be one of Cottam's best (and I love them all). The story is well-told and the action never stops. Nor does the sense of being watched that stalks characters and readers alike. It takes art to write so well! No one in the genre today approaches Cottam's mastery. Personally, I always read his books outside in broad daylight....doesn't feel safe to read them at night!Why is he so effective at his craft? A number of reasons: I note that he appears influenced in a good way by those greats who went before. This story reminded me of H.P. Lovecraft because of the Elder Gods and evil monsters which can when called up encroach upon man's turf and make it perilous. I thought of M.R. James' Casting the Runes, in which people including a professor use ancient magic to fend off the malevolence wrought by the same. I thought of all the old myths about the woodlands and indeed Cottam mentions the Green Man in this tale. Another aspect is the way Cottam writes: a spare, lean, honed style which doesn't flutter about wasting the reader's time with any unnecessary fluff...in fact, one must pay close attention so as not to miss important clues. His use of adjectives is ever the more effective, because when he does, we know it's serious. "Juddering" is for Cottam's readers as "eldritch" was for Lovecraft's. I personally like the clever wordplay to which the astute and attentive reader looks forward. In Trees, the ones which struck me were Loxley's Cross....in a story about woodlands we have the actual name of the legend known popularly as Robin Hood. The Victorian Alfred Crawley reminds one of Aleister Crowley, another Victorian a black magician who plays a role in other Cottam stories. Saul was not, I think, named accidentally...King Saul's downfall was pride, and relying upon black arts when told by God in no uncertain terms not to. Tom, the protagonist, is named Curtis or "well bred" as we are told in the book he is. Thomas may allude to the doubter in the Bible...although Tom sees and experiences so much we are nearly at the end of the book not to mention his own potential demise before he believes. Raven's Dip led me to "quoth the raven "Nevermore!" ... at any rate, ravens are usually a bad sign in a ghost story. Cottam also mixes the action, following Tom Curtis, the "Tree Man" as he is called by his megabucks employer, then other characters. This heightens the suspense and certainly holds reader interest...this reader was equally caught up in each thread, not distracted, as can happen when it's not done right. Spiritually and psychologically this is a deep story. We could think of the Abercrombie domain as a living being, and the woods with which it is sometimes taken over as the fears or ghosts of its subconscious being....darkness from within. Perhaps the reader relates to this as he reads, sparking off his own delicious scare. We have the element of The Sorcerer's Apprentice...the folk tales inform us that it's dangerous for the neophyte to mess about with these things. There is the quest for immortality which Saul evidently feels able to purchase. As is always the case in the myth, he gets what he wants but not what he expects. Spiritually there is the theme of the old pagan gods, whose power lingers and can be ignited by carelessness (or indeed by carefulness). I liked the professor in this yarn, Carrington...I was amused when we caught him practising ancient rituals to appease the elder gods. I was delighted when he was of use against The Dark Side at the thrilling and suspense-filled finale. The deconsecrated church was utterly creepy...perhaps because it was where it was, in a place on the boundaries of the spiritual plane. Atmospherically, this story was dark, menacing, and addictive...very well done indeed!This was a marvelous book and I will place it on my "keep to re-read" shelf along with Cottam's other supernaturally-themed novels. The Memory of Trees is a masterpiece!

  • Ceri
    2018-12-07 17:13

    Full disclosure: Having previously read two FG Cottam books, (The Summoning, which I didn't like, and Dark Echo, which I did) I'd been contemplating another for a long time and decided to finally get on with it after the author left a comment on one of my more scathing reviews here on Goodreads, describing it as "hilariously curmudgeonly". If you know me at all, you'll know I consider this highly complimentary, so thank you Mr Cottam, your comment made me smile. However, curmudgeonly as I am, I also considered this akin to the throwing down of a gauntlet so I went straight to the library and picked up The Memory of Trees. I would be remiss if I didn't also note that the library in question is in Milford Haven, in the county of Pembrokeshire, where this particular novel is set.So admittedly, I may have wanted to find holes to pick in this, may even have mocked the authors knowledge of supermarket locations, but actually, it's really rather good.First and foremost, I'd call this a mood piece. The descriptions of the landscape are so evocative and resonant, you get a real feel for the vast bleakness of the setting. Being a local, I enjoyed this depiction of a bleak and hostile Pembs coastline immensely.I loved the aspects of mythology and the detail in the backstory. The story of Gregory of Avalon felt very genuine and the fact that elements of him and the antagonist, Ameila, a Morgana Le Fay type character ring true to Athurian and Celtic folklore raise this above your average supernatural yarn. This was no simple spook story, but layered and extremely intelligent.My only real complaint would be that the dialogue tends towards the contrived, but when the characters are so well realised, this doesn't impede my enjoyment.And so, to Mr Cottam, if you happen to read this; touché, sir! I look forward to duelling with you again soon.

  • Albert
    2018-11-22 12:33

    F. G. Cottam's The Memory of Trees is definitely better than just three stars but not quite a four. The pacing is stunted and the action slowly driven. The main characters are hard to bond with and you are not so sure you are wanting them to win as much as you want the villain to win even less. What it does have and what makes it so intriguing; is story. This is a well developed and written story. In fact, in my opinion, could have been developed and built upon even more. Spanning centuries in its scope and blending science and mythology, Cottam's The Memory of Trees is as moving in story as it is unsettling....Yes, you honoured the old gods. They had known that in the ancient world. Even when the sum of human knowledge had been compiled in the library of Alexandria, When the answers to every possible question had been within reach of the scholars there, they had remembered in ancient times the oldest and most universal rule: if you wish to survive and prosper, you honour the gods...Eccentric billionaire Saul Abercrombie has decided to do something quite radical on a remote strip of land on Welsh coast. He plans to restore the ancient forest that once ruled the land. It will be a grand undertaking that will leave his mark on this land long after he is gone. To help him he hires the young scientist Tom Curtis. Tom sees this as a last opportunity to win back his family and cement his reputation in his own field.However Abercrombie is keeping a truth of this barren land from Curtis. A truth of an ancient evil once defeated that is binding its time to return. A forgotten power, that if restored, may heal Abercrombie from the disease that is ravaging his body. An evil, that craves the forgotten forest to live again.The Memory of Trees is a story that spans the dawn of time to medieval battles to modern day horror. It creeps along, sometimes a little too slowly with the twists that are coming easily seen, but steadily it does build. Until the end where our heroes, flawed and weak as they are, face down the evil that awaits them.A good read.

  • John Wiltshire
    2018-11-20 17:29

    I read The Colony, which I greatly enjoyed and was intrigued by the blurb of this one. I'm 70% in and quite enjoying it. I'll update when done.Finished.I didn't enjoy this as much as The Colony, but I did finish it. I found the amount of suspension of disbelief I had to do rather off-putting. I'm all for creepy supernatural events being woven into otherwise normal-life novels, but characters have to respond appropriately. If a tree spontaneously grows over night, I'd expect a little more reaction than anyone in this book gave. Huh. Big tree. Wasn't there yesterday. I mean, seriously? The end was a bit of an anti-climatic non-event too. (view spoiler)[The whole book sets up the main character to be the living representative of the Cornish knight who defeated this great evil centuries ago. But in the end the "big evil" climbs into a well and is killed by an equally evil weed. And the hero didn't even trick her; someone else did that. (hide spoiler)]But for all that, this is a readable book and if you like spooky stuff and tree hugging then you might enjoy this.

  • Mary
    2018-12-10 11:31

    Having now read three novels by F.G. Cottam, I think I am done; the last two (this title and The Colony) were disappointingly similar in the plethora of characters, the slow pace, and the unsatisfying ending. The many characters of Trees were especially uninteresting, in their subdued responses to the potentially rather creepy supernatural events that were happening to and around them. No one seemed terribly alarmed; some of them were just downright stupid. The whole thing just felt unlikely and not well thought out. I realize that "unlikely" is a hallmark of supernatural fiction, but a good writer takes the unlikely and makes it believable and frightening. Cottam just can't deliver.

  • Holly
    2018-12-03 15:14

    Another enjoyable and creepy tale from F G Cottam. My taste in horror novels may be quite limited, but I have an endless appetite for themes of nature and pagan mythology in my horror genre selections. Cottam delivers that and although I am not a completist I may end up reading all of this author's work.

  • Manda
    2018-11-28 15:19

    Entertaining enough and a pretty good original plot. Creepy but never terrifying.

  • tattooedreader13
    2018-12-01 16:22

    Very well written dark fantasy. An enjoyable listen overall. While I didn't love it as much as some of the other Cottam books, it was still a fun book to listen to, deeply atmospheric and creepy.

  • Lori
    2018-11-25 18:13

    I grew up with trees....lots and lots of trees. Cleveland is known as The Forest City for a reason. Despite the rusted out reputation the urban core of the city continues to endure, the Greater Cleveland area is ringed with a Metroparks system replete with trees. (This is known as The Emerald Necklace) Furthermore, I spent 14 years of my life living 20 miles east of the city on a tertiary -- and originally dirt -- road known as "Forest Lane". Our home was overshadowed by old growth trees...maple, beech, cottonwood, elm, and poplar. Shade and shadow were everywhere...even on the hottest of summer days. Large patches of the back yard were perpetually covered in moss. I spent many hours alone in the woods in the back of the house, mainly just sitting and thinking. In autumn the place was post card gorgeous. We raked piles of multicolored leaves by the hundreds each October. Yet there was an underlying feel of forboding; a scrape of a branch against a window at night, a shadow that appeared to move from behind a trunk just off to the periphery, the crack of a stick or twig behind you as you walked alone, the screech of an owl in the pitch black night as you scurried up the driveway after being dropped off from a night out with friends. I love trees. They are stately and lovely and essential to our well being. - - But yes, I can view them with dread.F. G. Cottam has created a nightmare in a forest and the first half of this book is evocative and convincingly weird and chilling. This is a perfect autumn read. The plot surrounds a dying billionaire named Saul Abercrombie and his astounding and egomaniacal plan to re-forest a large vacant piece of land he owns along a remote coastal area in Wales. He contacts an arborist named Tom Curtis to manage this incredible project -- a complete reversion to the Medieval forest that once stood there. Curtis is somewhat dubious about the 'rock star personality' of his new employer and the over-reaching scope of the project. However Curtis has issues in his personal life which make it imperative that he earn more money than someone of his arcane specialization would typically pocket. He takes on the job.Immediately, Curtis feels an unnatural and repugnant quality to the mainly empty lands he has been asked to transform. In an ancient and deserted church located on Abercrombie's holdings, Curtis discovers a shocking reverberation to the distant past...a connection that is uncanny and deeply unsettling. Further exploration of the property reveal more signals that this is an area to flee.Luckily for us, Curtis does no such thing. And, like all good horror story protagonists, he barges head first into the plot. We are introduced to Abercrombie's daughter, his 'go-to guy' (an ex con named Sam Freemantle), and, eventually, two of Curtis's hand picked arboreal colleagues. As the characters settle into this darkly enchanted and dangerous place, things begin to get weirder and weirder.I enjoyed this story quite a bit. However, I believe the narrative was rather rushed in the second half. I would have enjoyed seeing the character of the professor more developed. His presence, though vital, was too brief. I also think the flow would have benefited from more of a back story with the Crawley Family and their experiences on the same property back in Victorian times. In other words, this was a good story and I wanted a bit more of it. I enjoy stories with multiple time lines and I believe there could have been a more thorough inter-connection of the Saxon, Victorian, and Modern story arcs.Thus I rate this my more typical 3 star ("I liked it") rather than a more effusive 4 star ("really liked it"). I will check into this author's other work. The Memory of Trees was enough of a hook to get me interested.

  • Lelia Taylor
    2018-12-11 11:17

    We have a collective unease when it comes to deep forests and that unease has pervaded our storytelling world for a long time. From Hansel and Gretel abandoned in the woods to Dorothy's trek with her companions to the simple stories of British highwaymen, we've been preconditioned to prefer open space. With that mindset, I anticipated a good scary tale in The Memory of Trees. Alas, it didn't quite pan out that way.The idea of megalomaniacal men trying to manipulate sorcery to obtain good health or immortality is not a new idea and it's a serviceable motive for Saul Abercrombie's desire to rebuild a vast forest on his land but I found his total disregard for what might happen to his daughter rather unlikely. Even more so was everyone's lack of serious alarm when confronted with abnormal and threatening situations. As an example, Tom Curtis and Sam Freemantle go to a location called Gibbet Mourning where they observe something that is undeniably menacing and actually begins to "rustle and shiver" and make sighing noises when Sam approaches it. Should I find myself in such a scenario, I'd run for the nearest collection of people and hide in a dark corner but Sam and Tom calmly talk about hauntings and agree that they don't like the place. That's it. That's also pretty unbelievable.The growing malevolence is made very obvious but, somehow, it didn't really make much of an impact on me, possibly because the cast of characters is too big and too widespread, making it a little difficult to remember exactly who they are. If you can't connect with a character, it's hard to really care about what happens to them. When very strange things begin to occur with the plantings, there's little reaction beyond noting the strange things.That lack of reaction to practically everything that goes on in this story is essentially why it didn't work for me because it meant there was no real tension. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for The Memory of Trees, I enjoyed Mr. Cottam's style and obvious ability to write and will try something else by him. I do think other readers would enjoy this book more if they take logic and normal human behavior out of it and just read it as a tale of ancient evil come to life.Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2013.

  • Erica
    2018-11-21 17:32

    I'm going to write a more in-depth review for my own blog, but I'm just going to give a Cliff Notes version here. I had high hopes for this book. It seemed creepy and atmospheric, and gave us a good mystery. But the characters were underdeveloped, we were told a lot of things about them but never shown (most egregious example: a characters thinks about how she sensed something wrong in an earlier scene, but she never thought that at all in the scene itself), and the only interesting character is the stereotypical ex-hippie. Cottam seems to set up a lot of plot points and then lets them drop in favor of rushing on to the end. The strangest thing about this book is that, of the female characters shown, every one of them is motivated by Tom Curtis in some way. They have no motivations of their own (except for Francesca, but her motives center around her father, then expand to include Tom Curtis). Even the villain's actions center around Tom Curtis. A strong, muscle-bound character is inexplicably jealous of Tom Curtis. It's like I'm reading a male version of Bella Swan, right down to being two dimensional and bland. It's a mildly entertaining book, but certainly not one I would have chosen if I had known it was going to be like this.

  • Sonja Arlow
    2018-11-22 16:29

    Billionaire Saul Abercrombie owns a vast tract of land on the Pembrokeshire coast. By restoring the original forest that covered the area before medieval times, he believes he will rekindle the spirits of ancient folkloreSounds interesting right? Well actually NOSometimes when I read YA or books of this genre I am willing to overlook slightly mediocre writing if the plot is good and fast paced however in this case some of the clumsy writing could not be ignored.From an overly spooked Tom Curtis, a highly irritating and condescending Saul Abercrombie and underdeveloped secondary characters I was left with a plot that felt highly improbable and rushed in sections.I felt the same disappointment at this novel as I had with Heart-Shaped Box. Both had a great premise but, in my opinion, a failed execution.

  • Irenic
    2018-11-12 18:20

    F.G. Cottam brings us another gothic thriller set in the wilds of Wales, where a Richard Branson-type billionaire hires an arborist, Tom, to re-forest his estate. Tom, who plans a child custody action, needs this job desperately, and is given carte blanche to complete the project in a short time-frame. The story behind the deforestation of the land involves celtic mythology, a medieval knight, a Victorian owner and an elderly Oxford scholar.Of course, there are some creepy places on the estate: a deconsecrated church, a noisy cairn, a cave, etc. Right off the bat is the first disappearance of one of the employees, creating the dread that pervades the rest of the narrative.Great characters - I actually cared about them. I wished it were a bit scarier, but the good story line made this a page turner that caused me to neglect my chores.

  • Shannon
    2018-12-06 17:39

    The story was interesting enough but the style of writing or, perhaps more specifically, the editing left something to be desired. At times it was distracting. I like the element of legend and supernatural forces...it lent a new, fresh take on that which is to be feared in a thriller novel. Character development was adequate. The ending was very abrupt...When I read the first sentence on the last page, the story still had us steeped in the climax. There was a quick resolution and then the abrupt ending.

  • Barbara
    2018-11-14 18:21

    It always comes back to the characters for me with F.G. Cottam. I might be intrigued by a premise or even caught up in the story, but it's the characters that keep me turning the pages. So real. So relatable. But also admirable in realistic ways. I wanted a longer denouement in The Memory of Trees, but I can blame that on loving the characters so much I hated to reach The End.

  • Randi
    2018-12-10 14:20

    Another great read from this author. I always feel swept away to a time and place in a strange world when reading this authors stories. They are always full of secrets, mysticism and wickedly dreadful things.

  • Velvetink
    2018-12-12 10:20

    tuebl ebook

  • Rachel
    2018-12-08 16:38

    "He slept soundly but rose just after six-thirty, fully alert, rested enough but strangely eager to see how the tree he had planted had fared through its first night on this remote and secretive domain""His sense of direction had always been excellent and the fog had thrown him off only a few degrees so that he came first upon the dim green cluster of pebbles that was the cairn, before looking to his left and seeing the green cone of the tree, anaemic and still in its solitary spot on the cliff top."Look above. Did you notice that the second quote is a single sentence? That is a sample of the writing style used in The Memory of Trees. Each sentence is packed pull of descriptive terms and never ending words. Instead of letting the dread and forbidding build, the author shoves the emotions down your throat. "solitary" "haunting". There was no room to breathe. I've read a number of books on old folk tales, haunted places, ancient places, mysteries, etc. The description for this book was right up my alley. I was beyond excited to find a new book to add to my collection and that is why I'm so disappointed in it. This felt like a bad hollywood remake of a classic story. Too many fancy words (CGI), underwhelming and unrelatable characters. There was a good story underneath. That is why I give it 2 stars. How it has received higher ratings is incomprehensible to me.

  • Claudia Piña
    2018-12-04 10:23

    Me gustó mucho la forma en que Cottam desarrolló una idea inusual y creo una atmósfera inquietante, además de realmente explotar el temor que pueden inspirar los bosques y la naturaleza en general.Tristemente el ritmo es demasiado lento y hay tantos personajes que es difícil conectar lo suficiente con ellos como para involucrarse profundamente.Mi mejor descripción es que el libro se siente como ver la sombra de un árbol en la ventana, por la noche, mientras la lluvia y el viento lo sacuden tenebrosamente. Y tienes 6 años.

  • Sarah
    2018-11-14 17:15

    Another creepy tale from Mr. Cottam! This time he crafts a tale of myth encroaching on reality as one billionaire seeks to reforest a tract of land in Wales resulting in an ancient evil being brought back in full force while his "tree man" struggles to come to grips with the horror that has been beset upon his life due to his genealogy.If you are a fan of F.G. Cottam, definitely pick this one up.If you enjoy a well woven tale of supernatural mystery, definitely check out this as well as the rest of F.G.'s work. He's definitely one of the best!

  • Fran
    2018-12-08 15:20

    Scary. A rather anti-climatic ending though --felt like the author had run out of steam.

  • Bill Kupersmith
    2018-11-23 17:35

    Since F. G. Cottam began publishing supernatural fiction with The House of the Lost Souls (2008), he has been far and away the top contemporary English ghost story writer. His only current rival is Sarah Rayne at her best, and that has tended more towards pure horror than the supernatural, though she may be changing. My nominees for Cottam's best novels remain The House of Lost Souls, Dark Echo, and The Waiting Room, with a special category for Broadmaw Bay, with its attractive family. But The Magdalena Curse, The Colony, and now The Memory of Trees, all rate five stars.As lots of reviews on this page have already described the basic concepts and the principal characters, I’ll go straight to critical analysis. Whilst a picky reader might complain that the basic concept of uprooting and shipping and hauling so many mature trees in the time allotted is simply logistically impossible--there aren’t enough ships, ports, and lorries, enough rum things start happening (including the trees cloning themselves spontaneously), to distract us from asking awkward questions.The supernatural evil force appears in the guise of a lovely young blonde who calls herself Amelia. She is attended by flesh-eating followers that we never actually see, but they smell decidedly fishy. That made me think of H. P. Lovecraft--I have no idea if Cottam reads Lovecraft. I imagined them as man-eating seals. (In early Christian legend, St. Thecla baptised herself in a pool of them but God struck them dead before they could eat her.) As Cottam includes a number of minor characters who drink too much and seem to be in the story largely to come to bad ends, I wondered how alcoholics taste to anthropophagous seals. Does all that drinking ruin the texture, or does well seasoned drunk taste like the foie gras of Strasbourg goose?There is also a huge killer thorn bush that emerges actually on the side of good in the end.Amelia is an excellent villainess and her victims mostly deserve their fates. But I did not believe in her antagonist Gregory of Avalon for one moment. Cottam does not appear at home with Medieval romance and (pseudo) Celtic mythology is best avoided unless like Erin Hart you’ve really done your homework and know your stuff. (Sarah Rayne has slipped in this area too.) It also never becomes clear just what significance we are supposed to attach to our hero Tom Curtis’s looking identical to Gregory of Avalon, who puts in a ghostly appearance that does nothing to advance the plot. Is Tom supposed to be a descendant or a reincarnation or what? I think Cottam should return to more recent periods, like the First World War in The Waiting Room.My major piece of advice to Cottam is to avoid careless writing. The following passage (forgive the length but we need the full flavour here) is egregious, but it’s the style at its worst. Saul Abercrombie, the nouveau riche billionaire, thinks he is about to meet Amelia to claim his reward for his reforestation efforts: “He was in a great hurry that day to get to her. He felt pretty confident that she wouldn’t stand him up or blow him out. Paying your dues was a principle well known to the players of the medieval world. She’d expect him to demand something. And he wasn’t demanding much. She could probably accede to his request with a single benevolent thought. He didn’t anticipate potions and spells. She didn’t strike him intuitively as some occult drama queen. She was the real deal, a one off, a class act. “He belched. He had breakfasted on a fry up of his own clumsy devising. Jo and her kitchen people had departed at some point during the night. His staff had gone, finally too freaked out to stay. Things were a little weird. They might even be frightening, unless, like him, you were firmly in the loop.” Granted, these are supposed to be the thoughts of a vulgarian who’d make Petronius’ Trimalchio seem like Prince Philip by comparison, but “players of the medieval world” and “occult drama queen” are a bit much. I hope Cottam will be more careful of his style in future books.I have been so grateful to Cottam for introducing me to wonderful singers I didn’t know about, especially Sandy Denny (Broadmaw Bay) and Kate Rusby (The Colony). But in this book if a ghost is about to appear to signal your death, you will hear the voice of Dusty Springfield (yes, she’s dead and I tear up on “This Girl’s in Love with You”), Annie Lennox--she makes me shiver but she’s very much alive), or Marvin Gaye (ugh--but certainly dead). A minor character about to smash his Beemer hears all three, but I’d prefer to learn about another traditional English folksinger who’s unfamiliar to me. Despite a lot of loose ends and relationships left up in the air, The Memory of Trees is a spooky read with an original premise. For sheer scariness I still The Colony and Broadmaw Bay unmatched, and I like the characters in Dark Echo and The Waiting Room better. But I found The Memory of Trees a real pleasure and shall think Amelia's attendants are killer seals till Cottam says otherwise.