Arcane Book Barely 5 hours in and its a post fiesta! The vastness of the blogsphere has already left an impression on me – I have a headache. Not bad enough to want to drill into my frontal lobes, but more than enough to make me think “Nurofen”
While I love the fact that can Google/Wiki just about anything today, it also drives me to find things that are “un-Google-able”, simply because I’m a contrary guy who likes to have or know things that other people don’t have or don’t know about. I really want to visit places no one else visits, like eastern Siberia or Equatorial Guinea. So far though the twin spectres of money and bureaucracy (visas) have inflicted the chill touch of apathy upon my spirit, and I’ve only made it as far as dingy England. un jour…

One of my favourite books of all time is “The Hungry Cloud” by Tom Ingram. Its a child/teenager fantasy novel about two children who are forced to save their kingdom after their parents fall under the spell of a witch and her henchman. Sounds derivative I suppose – even in 1970 when it was published, but its a cracking read and in my opinion a lot better than the Harry Potter fare on offer today. It also has some magical line & ink illustrations by a guy named Bill… somebody (its been a long time, and the book is currently in storage in my sister’s garage) which really enhance the story.

Anyway, the book is essentially forgotten – I’ve never met anybody who’s ever heard of it let alone read it. As far as I can tell it has never been re-printed and apart from one out-of-print-book website it has no Net presence. Poor Tom, while I’m sure you’ve never been Rowling in millions I salute you, and if you’re still alive you can take heart that no matter what you create there’ll always be an audience, no matter how small.


17 Responses to “Obscurity”

  1. Kelsey Martineau Says:

    I definitely know how you feel about visiting places that no one else has been. For years I’ve thought to myself how I would like to explore uncharted islands, or ruins that no one had ever seen, that possibly even still had artifacts or something like that. Maybe I’d watched Indiana Jones one to many times though, lol.

  2. Ian Davey Says:

    I love the Hungry Cloud. So that’s at least one other fan of the book. It’s also very dark and chilling for the age group its targetting.

    I’m just glad we’ve got a copy stashed away at home, I’ve had a look around and it’s not easy to find these days.

  3. JS Says:

    At last- someone else who realises how brilliant Hungry Cloud is!

  4. SimonW11 Says:

    Yes excellent illustrations the Stilleto and Rib cage. and good writing the crafting and throwing of the knife were excelent scenes.

  5. Appelscha Says:

    I’m Dutch and as a child I read a translation of Hungry Cloud. I count it as one of my favourite childrens books, together with the Captain Cobwebb books by Gordon Boshell.

  6. english mastiff Says:

    english mastiff

    english mastiff

  7. Ann Says:

    HI, I’m from Belgium, i read the book in a Dutch translation, reviewed it for school. translated title was ‘Enemy without shadow’ or Shadowless enemy.
    i read it twice!
    it must be in some public library still…

    i thought of it making my list of favourite dutch-writing authors in myspace. so i started a search on the net… i couldn’t remember the author’s name, didn’t know it was written in English originally.

    i believe what i thought was compelling was the invisibilty of this enemy. forces you can’t grasp, point out, describe.

  8. bibiche Says:

    Hi – I’ve read it and so has my best mate. It is one of the titles I remember best from my childhood, but recall the story only vaguely. going to try to find it again!

  9. Stefanie Says:

    Yeah, the hungry cloud.
    I’m dutch and i also read the dutch translation. I’m looking for the book, i really like to read it again but it seams that it’s no where to be found.
    I think they should reprint it don’t you ?

  10. Marguerite Lambie Says:


    I’ve never forgotten hungry cloud. I read it when I was about 12. The cover, the story the illustrations stay in one’s mind forever. I have just ordered it from amazon and I am waiting to introduce it to my children. I have never heard of since reading it about 30 years ago and I’m glad that it still has a following. Someone should send it to a publisher again. I hope it is as good as I remember it.

  11. Carlita Margason Says:

    hola!, thx for the info, this post was very very nice ! I just received a copy of a amazing Mastiff Book. Yep! I recommend it for anyone thinking of getting a mastiff !

  12. Claire Morrey Says:

    The Hungry Cloud was definitely my favourite book as a youngster. I read it several times and my children have all read and enjoyed it. The illustrations are as compelling as the narrative, to me it reamins a timeless classic. I think I got my latest copy second hand via Amazon.

  13. godforhire Says:

    I read the Dutch translation (‘Vijand zonder schaduw’) when I was about 9 or 10 and already a veracious reader. Even now, 35 years later, I still remember the book and how much I loved it at the time. I’ve been trying to get the English book but it seems all but forgotten.

  14. Ace Says:

    The hungry cloud was my favourite book and I must’ve read it like 3 or 4 times. Amazing characters like the baugrins(if I remember correctly) opened my mind to fantasy novels.

  15. Susanna Ingram Says:

    It has been such a pleasure for us to discover very recently your memories of reading my father’s wonderful tale. He would have been so chuffed to know this. For the three of us it began as a bedtime read from his manuscripts that magically turned into a real book on our shelves with those wonderful illustrations that I still love to look at. It also involves wonderful memories of his testing out bull-roarers in our back garden and giving each of us one to swing around our heads while we were as yet unaware of the part this activity would play in his story. Made a fantastic sound, four of them whirring away together. Anyway, reading all the lovely comments here about remembering his book has been a huge treat. Thank you!

  16. Max Says:

    A very remarkable, dark and chilling book. I read it (Dutch translation) when I was about 11 or 12. It seems the Dutch speaking readership is at least as big as in the original language. Recently found a copy, and also managed to buy the original in English. I still think it’s a great read.

  17. Gronk Says:

    I’d just like to add my voice to the chorus of praise for this wonderful book. As previously said here, the story and illustrations stay with you forever. I’m searching online for a hardback copy: it seems easiest to find in the USA where it was titled “Garranane”, but I’ll hold out to find a UK copy as I want it exactly the way I remember it.

    It was amazing to read the comment from Mr Ingram’s daughter Susanna saying how proud he would have been to learn the book still has a following – and to realise that it started as a bedtime story! Wow, it’s a wonder his children got any sleep at all! My daughter is nearly six, and despite my excitement at introducing her to “The Hungry Cloud” I think I’d better wait at least a couple more years.

    It’s very scary stuff but utterly thrilling. Reading a plot synopsis today jolted my memory of the moment when Kay (I think it is) suddenly realises that Fenrir is drawing him. My heart leapt into my mouth and I got goosebumps all over. I’m thirty-seven years old!

    Props to Bill Geldart for the lyrical illustrations – definite shades of Kay Nielsen and Aubrey Beardsley. For years I owned a Rickenbacker electric guitar that was black-and-white with a swooping, arabesque design to the body. I named it Fenrir.

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