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I have never read a book with so many exclamation marks in.This is the book that inspired The Wicker Man and there are parts of it that were so like key scenes in the film that I now have to go and re watch it Supposedly set in Cornwall there seems to be very little that s Cornish about it admittedly strange and witchy things do happen down here but the landscape and names seem very un Cornish A good quick read that I shall probably revisit again. 2 stars it was OK I read this because the book is the inspiration for my favorite folk horror movie, The Wicker Man No, not the Nicolas Cage version I liked the description of the town and how it contorted reality But overall I found it melodramatic overwritten and dated racist and sexist. David Pinner, Ritual Finders Keepers, 1967 I find it absolutely staggering that Ritual was out of print for as long as it was before being resurrected by Finders Keepers a music collective, not a press in 2011 After all, Ritual is the novel that Robin Hardy and Anthony Shaffer loosely adapted to create The Wicker Man, one of filmdom s enduring classics despite the slight loss of luster form the abortion foisted on the world as a reimagining in 2006 According to Finders Keepers preface to the new edition, Christopher Lee had optioned the book himself back in the sixties, but Lee, Hardy, and Shaffer, after the deal fell through, thought the source material was too good to pass up and, in essence, cooked up their own version by changing a few key elements And yes, you will be able to see a good deal of similarity between the two stories.Plot Eight year old Dian Spark falls to her death while climbing a tree Or so it would seem why would she be climbing a tree whilst clutching a garlic blossom Big city inspector David Hanlin is called in to investigate, and the the clannish villagers try to keep the incident to themselves, the harder he tries to break through their shell, until the Mayday festival reveals all to everyone involvedSince the question that s going through your head right now is is it as good as The Wicker Man I ll start by telling you the answer is no Nor is it as good as Hardy and Shaffer s novelization of Shaffer s script cf review 29Mar04 ish While there are certainly bits where the Shaffer team should have cleaved closely to Ritual Hanlin is far a nuanced character than Neil Howie s paragon of Christian goodness, for example Pinner is simply not as good a writer as Shaffer The prose is oft times as purple as the book s cover, and for a rural town, everyone in it feels so urbane This is not necessarily a bad thing if this town existed in the real world, it would be tops on my list of places to move but it does require a great deal of suspension of disbelief Also, there are a few places where Pinner seems to let one fact or another of one of his subplots et beyond his control Never for a long time, and never enough to entirely derail the book, but enough to jar.If you re a Wicker Man fan and isn t everyone , this is essential reading On the other hand, if the movie s not your cup of tea, this isn t one to go seeking out. Since this book is primarily read because it is the inspiration behind 1973 s The Wicker Man , it is difficult to evaluate it on its own merits, without comparing it to the far famous and superior film Fundamentally this novel is a murder mystery however, the mystery is never quite resolved, nor is the nature of the titular ritual explained It is much morally and spiritually ambiguous than The Wicker Man , and is charged with a raw eroticism that borders on being pornographic The novel really suffers from Pinner s purple prose something that was criticized upon its release Here are a few samples The breeze paused to catch its breath and two girlish ribbons of blood tied themselves on the horse s white belly The whole novel is written like this, and these aren t even the worst lines The dialogue is a constant stream of wordplay and innuendo On top of this overblown style, the point of view frenetically jumps from character to character The result is a disorienting and nauseating reading experience As other s have said, its trippy If you haven t seen Robin Hardy s film, I doubt you will be interested in this novel. I don t know where to begin with this one.It s a weird, trippy 60 s novel characterized by off kilter reality.If you re a fan of The Wicker Man , it s worth a read, just to see the genesis of that film which was tightly constructed than the novel I prefer the stark moralistic contrast and conflict between the villagers and the policeman in the movie, than the fuzzier contest of wills in this book.If you haven t seen the movie, I m not sure I d recommend this. Una novela de terror con una atm sfera psicod lica muy marcada y tintes de humor negro El paganismo y los rituales son la orden del d a en este peque o pueblo costero donde llega nuestro detective un hombre religioso y purista que tiene que desenmara ar la muerte de Dian Spark, una ni a de 8 a os de edad que murio accidentalmente tras caerse de un arbol, pero la imagen de una ni a debajo de un roble, con el cuello roto, un ramillete de ajo en la mano, y la cabeza de un simio clavada en el tronco hacen pensar que ha sido v ctima de alg n tipo de ritual sat nico Una historia interesante y que actualmente no aporta ninguna novedad al g nero, pero que su fama la tiene merecida si recordamos que fue publicada en 1967 y que obtuvo mayor reconocimiento con su adaptaci n cinematogr fica de 1973 The Wicker Man Muy recomendada. Este libro tiene todos los ingredientes para crear una historia muy mal rollera El problema es que no lo hace y, en mi opini n, ni siquiera se acerca Para m el mayor problema que tiene la historia es que empieza prometiendo una cosa y acaba dando otra totalmente diferente No he conseguido creerme a ninguno de los personajes y tampoco he conseguido que me llegue a importar lo que le pase a cada uno de ellos La historia est llena de contradicciones sin sentido y deja muchos cabos en el aire que nunca vuelve a recoger, es como si el autor los hubiera usado como recurso c modo Ten a muchas ganas de leerlo y ha sido un fiasco total. This novel is filled with many priceless examples of overwritten prose, particularly regarding the character Anna s breasts, which behave in ways contrary to both nature and basic anatomy ex She stopped, pursing her nipples towards him It s interesting as prose archaeology if you re a fan of THE WICKER MAN, but I wouldn t recommend it otherwise. This Novel Was The Inspiration For The Cult Movie, The Wicker Man Set Against An Enclosed Rural Cornish Landscape, Ritual Follows The Trail Of English Police Officer, David Hanlin, Who Is Requested To Investigate The Murder Of A Local Child During The Protagonist S Short Stay, He Is Slowly Subjected To A Spectacle Of Psychological Trickery, Sexual Seduction, Ancient Religious Practices And Nightmarish Sacrificial Rituals