Dark Matter

“Dark Matter is terrifying. The only novel to really get under my skin and infiltrate my nightmares.”

Juno Dawson, The Guardian


“Dark Matter is brilliant!  Imagine Jack London meets Stephen King. The novel virtually defines a new genre: literary creepy. I loved it!”

Jeffery Deaver


“The ultimate test of a good ghost story is, surely, whether you feel panicked reading it in bed at midnight.  Two-thirds through, I found myself suddenly afraid to look out of the windows, so I’ll call it a success!”

Emma John, The Observer


“I will fight a million battles to prove that this is one of the best audio books out there… an excellent book made completely gripping and unable-to-stop-listening-able by (Jeremy) Northam, whose narration made me literally gasp out loud on a bus during a particularly frightening passage. All I can say is, prepare to be utterly terrified.”

Rachel Mackie, The Scotsman


“Paver has created a tale of terror and beauty and wonder.  Mission accomplished: at last, a story that makes you check you’ve locked all the doors, and leaves you very thankful indeed for the electric light. In a world of CGI-induced chills, a good old-fashioned ghost story can still clutch at the heart!”

Suzi Feay, The Financial Times


“A magnificent contemporary ghost story, packing a powerful charge of unease and mounting fear. The wastes of the Arctic night are devoid of humanity, warmth and company, the very home of hopelessness loneliness and threat, and their atmosphere clings to the inner walls of the mind.”

Susan Hill, author of The Woman in Black, The Times


“Paver records [the protagonist’s] terror with compassion, convincing the reader that he believes everything he records while leaving open the possibility that his isolation – and the class barrier he feels so acutely – has made him peculiarly susceptible to emotional disturbance. The novel ends in tragedy that is as haunting as anything else in this deeply affecting tale of mental and physical isolation.”

Joan Smith, The Sunday Times


“Paver is the mistress of suspense. The strangeness that humans can suffer from when exposed to the Arctic wilderness is brilliantly exploited in this period piece.”

Amanda Craig, The Times


“Brilliant… fabulously grim… a perfectly frightening ghost story”

New Statesman on the BBC Radio Four adaption of Dark Matter for Book at Bedtime


“Dark Matter is terrific. It is a ghost story, but it is also a metaphysical meditation on what lies beneath our little lives.”

Helen Rumbelow, The Times


“A spellbinding read – the kind of subtly unsettling, understated ghost story MR James might have written had he visited the Arctic.”

Eric Brown, The Guardian


“A blood-curdling ghost story, evocative not just of icy northern wastes but of a mind turning in on itself.”

Victoria Moore, Daily Mail


“I don’t think snowy horror gets better than Michelle Paver’s masterful fictional account of a 1937 winter in Svalbard, deep in the Arctic. The real terror of being alone in the dark, cut off by snow and ice, and with a hostile presence lurking, left me breathless. This book is terrifying!”

Evie Green, Tor.com


Dark Matter

"Dark Matter is terrific" - The Times

January 1937.

Clouds of war are gathering over a fogbound London. Twenty-eight year old Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life.

So when he’s offered the chance to be the wireless operator on an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway: five men and eight huskies, crossing the Barents Sea by the light of the midnight sun.   At last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year.


But the Arctic summer is brief.  As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease.   One by one, his companions are forced to leave.  He faces a stark choice.  Stay or go.  Soon he will see the last of the sun, as the polar night engulfs the camp in months of darkness.  Soon he will reach the point of no return – when the sea will freeze, making escape impossible.  And Gruhuken is not uninhabited. Jack is not alone.  Something walks there in the dark.

Michelle's Notes

“I didn’t tell anyone except my agent that I was writing a ghost story, because I didn’t want to get bogged down in a deal, and I didn’t want a deadline.

It was wonderful to be writing with no pressure and no expectations. I wrote the first draft in the early summer. Then I bought two metres of black satin ribbon and tied up the manuscript, so that I couldn’t get at it. I wanted to come back to it after a few months, completely fresh. I spent the summer working on my new children’s series (set in the prehistoric, but at a later time than Torak). Then, at Hallowe’en, I untied the black satin ribbon and got to work on rewriting DARK MATTER. I felt it was important to get back into the rewrite at the time when the nights were lengthening and winter was coming on, because this is the proper time for ghost stories.”