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The Ruins: A Novel

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The Ruins: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9781400043873
ISBN10: 1400043875
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"There are not a lot of novels suspenseful enough to induce true movie-style nail biting, that demand to be read down to every last word. There are even fewer that feature real people, fully and intelligently drawn. Scott Smith's The Ruins, cinematic and possessed of a firm grip, is such a novel....Smith is a thorough, unfussy writer. Even when the action is heavy he shifts point of view, looks into the thoughts and memories and resentments of every character." Anna Godbersen, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Eerie, terrifying, unputdownable — Scott Smith's first novel since his best-selling A Simple Plan ("Simply the best suspense novel of this year — hell, of the 1990s." — Stephen King). The Ruins follows two American couples, just out of college, enjoying a pleasant, lazy beach holiday together in Mexico as, on an impulse, they go off with newfound friends in search of one of their group — the young German, who, in pursuit of a girl, has headed for the remote Mayan ruins, site of a fabled archeological dig.

This is what happens from the moment the searchers — moving into the wild interior — begin to suspect that there is an insidious, horrific "other" among them...

Review:

"At long last, Smith follows up his bestselling first novel, A Simple Plan (1993), the film of which received an Oscar nomination for best screenplay, with a stunning horror thriller. Four American friends on vacation in Cancn, Mexico — Jeff, Amy, Eric and Stacy — meet a German tourist, Mathias, who persuades them to join his hunt for his younger brother, Henrich, last seen headed off with a new girlfriend toward some ruins. The four soon regret their impulsive decision after they find themselves lost in the jungle and freaked out by signs that they're headed for danger. Smith builds suspense through the slow accretion of telling details, until a deadly menace starts taking its toll, leaving the survivors increasingly at each other's throats. While admirers of such classic genre writers as John Wyndham or Algernon Blackwood may find the horror less suggestive than they might wish, the eerie atmosphere and compelling plot should appeal to fans of ABC's hit TV series Lost, who will help propel this page-turner up bestseller lists. Ben Stiller's production company has bought film rights. 100,000 first printing. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"The book of the summer....There are no chapters and no cutaways — The Ruins is your basic long scream of horror. It does for Mexican vacations what Jaws did for New England beaches in 1975." Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"It has been 13 years since...A Simple Plan rocked best-seller lists. Now he's back with a story so scary you may never want to go on vacation, or dig around in your garden, again....If you love ABC's Lost and the novels of King and Thomas Harris, you'll love this book." Carol Memmott, USA Today

Review:

"Once again, Smith deftly explores psychological tension and insidious fears. Fans of Alex Garland's The Beach and Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park won't put be able to put this one down. A perfect beach read; just don't stray too far from the lifeguard." Library Journal

Review:

"The Ruins is an old-fashioned horror story...and it's the invasive, intuitive killer that provides the ice-water dread....It's Thomas Harris meets Poe in a decidedly timely story: Smith has...given us a decidedly organic nightmare. (Grade: A-)" Gillian Flynn, Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"The Ruins is like all great genre fiction in its irresistible storytelling momentum, but in its lack of mercy, it's more like real life....Scott Smith shows us an aspect of ourselves and of human nature we'd rather not acknowledge. He's such a master, though, that it's impossible to look away." Laura Miller, Salon.com

Review:

"[A] mesmerizing but unnerving read, a book hard to shake from your mind....[It] should solidify Smith's reputation as a brilliant practitioner of suspense fiction deepened by unsparing portraits of the psyche under stress." Houston Chronicle

Review:

"Smith writes in clear, vivid language with elegant sentences. His style appears straightforward enough, until he throws a curve ball. A subtle threat, an implication, it doesn't have to mean anything, but it could, and it's enough to start you worrying." Baltimore Sun

Review:

"One of the most terrifying, creepy, riveting, and yet also annoying, novels that will hit the bookstores this summer....Despite the outdoor setting, The Ruins has a claustrophobic feel, which adds to the palpations of suspense." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Review:

"If character is destiny, the major suspense lies with which one of them, if any, will survive. A compelling set-up and provocative premise, but what should be a page-turner succumbs to a plodding pace." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"The Ruins is a shoe-in for best-selling oddity of 2006: a book that makes readers simultaneously shiver with fright and grin delightfully at the entertaining madness of Smith's weird concoction." Denver Post

Review:

"Although the basic premise of this highly literate freak-out may be preposterous, Smith's storytelling is rendered in such forceful, evocative prose that the reader will remain by the campfire until the flames die out." Charlotte Observer

Synopsis:

From the author of "A Simple Plan" comes a new novel of unbearable suspense about four friends who slowly come to realize that one unfortunate decision made on their Mexican vacation is leading to an adventure gone horribly wrong.

About the Author

Scott Smith was educated at Dartmouth College and Columbia University. He lives in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

Clark, June 18, 2008 (view all comments by Clark)
The Ruins is an excellent horror novel. This book literally hooks the reader and doesn't let go, long after the book is over. Smith creates a level of emotional terror in the characters that will be hard to surpass by other authors. It is a bloody and violent book, be forewarned. Overall, this book deserves 2 thumbs up. The Ruins is one of the best books that I have ever read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(15 of 23 readers found this comment helpful)
CMAnderson, September 3, 2007 (view all comments by CMAnderson)
I think Stephan King is right. This is the best horror novel of the new century. In this novel, you are presented with the perception of each character as they adventure from vacation to misery. You, in their eyes, suffer with each of them. Oh yes, there is suspense, and curiosity that drives you to turn one page after another. But, who is the hero? In the end, you realize that hope is nothing more than a state of mind, a means to survive. The theme here is to survive in this known but untold part of the jungle. In the end, you realize the true survivor. This novel can hurt as much as it can scare. There is so much desire to guide the characters forward that you fall victim to the presence that consumes them.
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(20 of 33 readers found this comment helpful)
dosgatosazules, October 6, 2006 (view all comments by dosgatosazules)
(I would encourage the webmaster to "black out" any references to "v****s" in the reviews printed here -- they contain somewhat of a plot spoiler. )

That said, I'll add my thoughts about this movie ...er, book, briefly:

-- It gets a 4 in terms of how fast and completely it sucked me in. I read it in one mesmerized sitting, barely moving to put on a sweater and turn up the lights as the day grew later and colder. Be warned -- don't buy this book without a good chunk of time to read it in.

-- However, it gets barely a 3 in terms of actual story value. Those reviewers, here and elsewhere, that denigrate the story's main antagonist, (I'll say no more about it) as being too far-fetched are missing the point: you have to suspend disbelief here. We're willing to believe in ghosts to read The Shining or Hamlet -- so let's believe what Smith has brought onto the page for his naive Americans to deal with. However, even within the scenario, there are plot holes and twists of logic that I wish a good editor had pointed out. And there are options that, if Smith had had the character take, would have elevated this from a gripping-but-ordinary thriller into a tale with some moral dilemmas and questions posed. Again, I can't say what those options might have been without giving away the plot.
On another note, I got a little tired of the way that the jungle (and the people who live in it) are once again used as a mysterious Other for vacationing white Americans -- in 2006, to repeat that framework without a hint of irony or questioning it at all, and then to paint the native people as nameless, faceless, and incomprehensible ... it's kind of creepy.

(Oh, and to the reviewer who wanted to know why the characters didn't read the journals: if you'd paid attention, you would have seen that the journals were written in languages none of them spoke.)

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(32 of 54 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400043873
Author:
Smith, Scott
Publisher:
Knopf
Subject:
General
Subject:
Mayas
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Cancun (Mexico)
Subject:
Horror - General
Subject:
Horror
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Publication Date:
July 18, 2006
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
A-.<br>&#8211;Gillian Flynn, <i>Entertainment Week
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9.48x6.66x1.25 in. 1.46 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

The Ruins: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9781400043873 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "At long last, Smith follows up his bestselling first novel, A Simple Plan (1993), the film of which received an Oscar nomination for best screenplay, with a stunning horror thriller. Four American friends on vacation in Cancn, Mexico — Jeff, Amy, Eric and Stacy — meet a German tourist, Mathias, who persuades them to join his hunt for his younger brother, Henrich, last seen headed off with a new girlfriend toward some ruins. The four soon regret their impulsive decision after they find themselves lost in the jungle and freaked out by signs that they're headed for danger. Smith builds suspense through the slow accretion of telling details, until a deadly menace starts taking its toll, leaving the survivors increasingly at each other's throats. While admirers of such classic genre writers as John Wyndham or Algernon Blackwood may find the horror less suggestive than they might wish, the eerie atmosphere and compelling plot should appeal to fans of ABC's hit TV series Lost, who will help propel this page-turner up bestseller lists. Ben Stiller's production company has bought film rights. 100,000 first printing. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "There are not a lot of novels suspenseful enough to induce true movie-style nail biting, that demand to be read down to every last word. There are even fewer that feature real people, fully and intelligently drawn. Scott Smith's The Ruins, cinematic and possessed of a firm grip, is such a novel....Smith is a thorough, unfussy writer. Even when the action is heavy he shifts point of view, looks into the thoughts and memories and resentments of every character." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "The book of the summer....There are no chapters and no cutaways — The Ruins is your basic long scream of horror. It does for Mexican vacations what Jaws did for New England beaches in 1975."
"Review" by , "It has been 13 years since...A Simple Plan rocked best-seller lists. Now he's back with a story so scary you may never want to go on vacation, or dig around in your garden, again....If you love ABC's Lost and the novels of King and Thomas Harris, you'll love this book."
"Review" by , "Once again, Smith deftly explores psychological tension and insidious fears. Fans of Alex Garland's The Beach and Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park won't put be able to put this one down. A perfect beach read; just don't stray too far from the lifeguard."
"Review" by , "The Ruins is an old-fashioned horror story...and it's the invasive, intuitive killer that provides the ice-water dread....It's Thomas Harris meets Poe in a decidedly timely story: Smith has...given us a decidedly organic nightmare. (Grade: A-)"
"Review" by , "The Ruins is like all great genre fiction in its irresistible storytelling momentum, but in its lack of mercy, it's more like real life....Scott Smith shows us an aspect of ourselves and of human nature we'd rather not acknowledge. He's such a master, though, that it's impossible to look away."
"Review" by , "[A] mesmerizing but unnerving read, a book hard to shake from your mind....[It] should solidify Smith's reputation as a brilliant practitioner of suspense fiction deepened by unsparing portraits of the psyche under stress."
"Review" by , "Smith writes in clear, vivid language with elegant sentences. His style appears straightforward enough, until he throws a curve ball. A subtle threat, an implication, it doesn't have to mean anything, but it could, and it's enough to start you worrying."
"Review" by , "One of the most terrifying, creepy, riveting, and yet also annoying, novels that will hit the bookstores this summer....Despite the outdoor setting, The Ruins has a claustrophobic feel, which adds to the palpations of suspense."
"Review" by , "If character is destiny, the major suspense lies with which one of them, if any, will survive. A compelling set-up and provocative premise, but what should be a page-turner succumbs to a plodding pace."
"Review" by , "The Ruins is a shoe-in for best-selling oddity of 2006: a book that makes readers simultaneously shiver with fright and grin delightfully at the entertaining madness of Smith's weird concoction."
"Review" by , "Although the basic premise of this highly literate freak-out may be preposterous, Smith's storytelling is rendered in such forceful, evocative prose that the reader will remain by the campfire until the flames die out."
"Synopsis" by , From the author of "A Simple Plan" comes a new novel of unbearable suspense about four friends who slowly come to realize that one unfortunate decision made on their Mexican vacation is leading to an adventure gone horribly wrong.
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