Home 2018-02-08T23:12:55+00:00

David Castleton The Standing Water

‘Quality fiction with a gothic edge … I’d urge anyone who likes dark, well-written, complex fiction to give it a try.’

Newcastle Magazine

‘A meaty, enthralling novel … if you’re looking for a read that’s challenging and original, I’d recommend picking up a copy.’

Sunderland Magazine

‘A great piece of gothic-tinged literary fiction that envelopes your imagination. It’s a ‘can’t put down’ novel that leads the reader on a mysterious path, leading to many surprises and unexpected events.’

Janet, Goodreads

‘What a book this is – dark, engaging, poetic, otherworldly, deeply shocking at times, and very difficult to put down. For someone like me who loves language, it was a real treat, and Castleton’s mastery of English is often nothing short of stunning.’

Ewa, Goodreads

‘I enjoyed this novel. The characters are deftly developed. The narrative is well-written. The storyline is creative and unique.’

Florence, Amazon.com

‘This book was great! Dark and mysterious, written in beautifully flowing prose, I just couldn’t stop reading till I’d got to the end.’

Nick, Amazon.co.uk

‘A meaty, enthralling novel … while the novel has a serious message, the book’s filled with a sly, lively humour that had me chuckling out loud a few times.

Imagine a strange post-modern love child of Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain, sprinkle that baby with the magical realism of a writer like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and you’re maybe getting close to describing The Standing Water.’

Sunderland Magazine

‘I found The Standing Water utterly intriguing. It sucks you into a dark world in which the boundaries between imagination and reality flicker and blur. The sense of place Castleton conjures up is eerie and all-enveloping. His use of language is superb and I occasionally felt I was reading poetry rather than prose. Despite its high literary standards, however, I found The Standing Water easy to read and – if it’s not too much of a cliché – quite a page-flipper.’

Newcastle Magazine

Rural England could be an odd place. Enter a hallucinatory world where legends of ghosts and curses drift with the fog across the flatlands, where Old Testament myths have a habit of playing themselves out under heavy English skies, and where life’s brutal realities threaten even the young and innocent.

Read The first chapter

Learn more

The Serpent’s Pen – Recent Blog Posts

Six Strange Facts about Christmas

Old Father Christmas demands seasonal merriment and festive cheer Many of us feel we’re familiar with Christmas, but the more you peer into the history of the festival, the stranger it can seem. Do you [...]

Who Was Old Father Christmas and Did Coca-Cola Invent Santa Claus?

Old Father Christmas bears his cup of special Christmas ale and a Yule log One of the best-known aspects of the British, American and – increasingly – global Christmas is the figure of Father Christmas [...]

The Writer in his Labyrinth – What Is Magical Realism?

Stranded angels with damaged wings, statues performing miracles in front of drumming dwarves, nondescript streams whose waters offer eternal life – what is this magical realism stuff, how did it sneak into literary writing and [...]

Vampires, ghosts, gargoyles or maybe something more … what is the gothic?

This guest blog post I wrote peers into the gothic's dark influence on our society, literature and culture.

Pumpkins, ghosts, masks and mysteries – a little history of Halloween

Halloween is a time of pumpkins, fancy dress, ghost stories and horror films. It evokes the taste of apples and turnips, the annoyance of trick-or-treating kids banging at your door. But where did this festival [...]