Cover Image: Road of Bones

Road of Bones

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Horror

Road of Bones is about a documentary producer called Teig whose latest mission is to make a film about the history behind Road of Bones. A road that is present in Siberia where the bones of the people who built that road are buried beneath. Along with him, Tieg takes a cameraman called Prentis. Prentis is not just a cameraman but also Tieg’s longtime friend. What awaits the two of them in that chilling and freezing atmosphere is something not pleasant.

The first thing I have to mention here is that I love this trope. The trope of being in an isolated place that is freezing and too cold for survival. When I knew about this trope I had to read this book. This trope reminds me of several films and TV shows that I adore like The Thing and The X-Files. The story is not too long but it packs lots of action and adventure that is filled with chill and horror. All the characters were interesting and well developed. I don’t have a favorite here but I loved the friendship between the two main characters. Tieg feeling sorry that he dragged his friend into this mess is something I appreciate. It shows a different side of his character. The little girl Una felt very creepy to me. She is very well written.

Christopher Golden has created a wonderfully creepy atmosphere throughout the book. The climate itself plays a significant part in the story. It is like a character of its own. The cover of the book is fantastic as well. I enjoyed reading this novel a lot. Road of Bones will be released on January 25th, 2022. If you love the horror genre with a spooky atmosphere, then don’t hesitate in picking it up.

Many thanks to the publisher St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reader copy of this book.

Was this review helpful?

"An American documentarian travels a haunted highway across the frozen tundra of Siberia in New York Times bestselling author Christopher Golden’s Road of Bones, a "tightly wound, atmospheric, and creepy as hell" (Stephen King) supernatural thriller.

Surrounded by barren trees in a snow-covered wilderness with a dim, dusky sky forever overhead, Siberia’s Kolyma Highway is 1200 miles of gravel packed permafrost within driving distance of the Arctic Circle. A narrow path where drivers face such challenging conditions as icy surfaces, limited visibility, and an average temperature of sixty degrees below zero, fatal car accidents are common.

But motorists are not the only victims of the highway. Known as the Road of Bones, it is a massive graveyard for the former Soviet Union’s gulag prisoners. Hundreds of thousands of people worked to death and left where their bodies fell, consumed by the frozen elements and plowed beneath the permafrost road.

Fascinated by the history, documentary producer Felix "Teig" Teigland is in Russia to drive the highway, envisioning a new series capturing Life and Death on the Road of Bones with a ride to the town of Akhust, “the coldest place on Earth”, collecting ghost stories and local legends along the way. Only, when Teig and his team reach their destination, they find an abandoned town, save one catatonic nine-year-old girl - and a pack of predatory wolves, faster and smarter than any wild animals should be.

Pursued by the otherworldly beasts, Teig’s companions confront even more uncanny and inexplicable phenomena along the Road of Bones, as if the ghosts of Stalin’s victims were haunting them. It is a harrowing journey that will push Teig beyond endurance and force him to confront the sins of his past."

Yes, it's January and I'm leaning heavily into murder and snow. But this is Christopher Golden. He's in a separate category. A must buy category.

Was this review helpful?

From the very first page, Road Of Bones had me not only turning on the light but also throwing a lot more wood onto the fire. The fact that this is an actual road where the people who built it were indeed left where they fell without any type of proper burial was unbelievable to me, but it did happen. I suppose there are some very good reasons visiting Siberia is not on my bucket list, and this is one of them.
The book opens with Teig, a documentary producer with big dreams and empty pockets, and his passenger and camera operator Prentiss having a narrow escape with death on the bleakest and most desolate road imaginable. Teig is convinced that this is his chance to make a successful film and I couldn't fault his logic. He imagines people glued to their screens, fascinated by the dark history surrounding one of the coldest and most remote places on earth. They are headed to a ridiculously small village and have an extremely harsh and unforgiving journey ahead.
This isn't a road with welcome centers at every exit. There is nothing except a few service stations that would make you pray your vehicle didn't start burning more gas or blow a tire along the way. If you can't make it to the next one, you are entirely out of luck, knowing you will most likely freeze to death before seeing another living soul.
When they make it to the village, along with their guide and a woman whose car broke down (she got incredibly lucky, perhaps), they find it abandoned. Food still on the tables, doors wide open, and zero people except for one traumatized little girl. Their only choice, to return to where they started, but there is someone or something that doesn't agree with their decision.
Holy haunted highway! There was not one moment where I could catch my breath before the next nightmare began. I am not even going to mention the supernatural elements as I think the less you know, the more the events will take you by surprise. All I can say is it was relentlessly fast-paced, with an ending that I did not see coming. I loved the author's last book, Red Hands, and this one, almost as much. 4.5 stars.

Was this review helpful?

I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Premise of this sounded right up my alley, a horror-thriller with a secluded setting in Siberia. Sign Me Up. Sadly this ended up being a huge disappointment for me, I didn't care for any of the characters and it wasn't at all scary or giving me the creepy vibes that I would want from a book like this. The pacing felt off and all the action and conflict were very repetitive, a lot would happen and then nothing and then tons of action followed by nothing again.

I did really enjoy the otherworldly elements and the Siberian folklore but wish they were explained or even just that a little more time was spent on them. The setting was also incredible and so well described, it felt so real and eerie.

If you're looking for something with an immersive and unique setting I would say this could definitely be worth a try but just don't go into it expecting a fast-paced really creepy mystery thriller.

Was this review helpful?

Creepy haunted road in the middle of winter in Siberia?? Yes, please. Road of Bones had a lot of potential and got bonus points for me once I found out it’s a real place, but it fell short.

I feel like I wanted to give this book 2 or 2.5 stars but rounded up to 3 for keeping me interested. This book was really marketed like it was going to be scary, but it wasn’t at all and was pretty slow moving. I kept waiting for something to happen. Things did eventually start happening a bit into the book, but I felt like nothing was ever fully explained and we were left with a lot of questions.

Again though, points for keeping me interested and I will definitely be looking up more info on the real Road of Bones and its legends.

Was this review helpful?

Teig has had a brilliant idea to make a reality TV show about the Road of Bones, the Kolyma Highway. A 1200 mile stretch of road connecting the 80 Soviet gulags built under Stalin's rule, the highway was built on top of the remains of thousands of prisons who died construction the road. He wants to center the show in the coldest settlement on Earth, Oymyakon. With the help of a local guide, and his camera man, Teig heads to the settlement, but when they arrive the find the town abandoned. The group quickly discovers that something supernatural is occurring, with vicious wolves that seem to be more and a forest spirit tracking their every move. What will the group have to endure to escape with their lives?


Road of Bones is a supernatural thriller that had me staying up past my bedtime to finish. I was initially intrigued by the reality tv show premise. I love a story that centers around the making of some sort of documentary. You do get some glimpses of this, but it is definitely not the focus of the book. Initially, I thought this book would have more to do with the actual Road of Bones, but it is more about a folktale about the surrounding forest. It was an interesting read that packed in a few good scares.


This one starts off slow. Action doesn't start until you're about 30% of the way through, but then it doesn't stop. If you love a cinematic read, give Road of Bones a shot. I could definitely see it being made into a horror movie. It was so easy to picture the terrifying details as I read.


If you enjoy an initial slow burn and Roanoke style stories, check out Road of Bones. It is on sale January 25th, 2022. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for my review copy.

Was this review helpful?

I first learned about the Road of Bones by watching The Long Way Round, in which Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman rode motorcycles from London to New York. Their route took them over the Road of Bones. Most of this 1,262 mile road is gravel and was one of the most challenging parts of the journey because of the climate, the road conditions, and the sheer isolation. The history of the Road is just as harrowing. It was constructed by gulag prisoners over the course of decades. According to Wikipedia, an estimated 250,000 to possibly one million people died during the Roads construction. If any place in the world is haunted, it’s probably the Road of Bones. So when I saw Christopher Golden’s Road of Bones listed on NetGalley, I snapped at the chance to read it.

Fittingly enough, Road of Bones is about a hellish road trip. Teig and Prentiss have arrived in Siberia to film some kind of documentary in the wilderness. Teig has experience working on ghosthunter-type shows and hopes to find something similarly spooky in the taiga. Prentiss is along because Teig is his best friend. Also, Teig owes him a lot of money. But things are not going well right from the first page. Teig falls asleep at the wheel and almost kills both of them before they even meet their guide. Only a few hours after meeting their guide, things get even worse when they come across a village deserted except for one child who refuses to speak. Then the wolves come out of the forest.

I wasn’t expecting a chase story when I picked up this book. Frankly, I didn’t think the road conditions could support high-speed chases. Teig and Prentiss—plus the silent child and a stranded woman they picked up—are chased for miles through snow and deadly cold. No one knows what’s happening or why. All they know is that something woke up in the forest and that it won’t rest until they’re all dead. Meanwhile, a very elderly woman is making her way down the Road of Bones, praying that the ghosts of the people who died making the road will rest in peace.

This lightning-fast book doesn’t rest for a minute. It didn’t let me rest, either; I inhaled this book in a single evening. This book could’ve used some pauses. There are some fascinating elements pulled from the beliefs of the Indigenous peoples of Siberia, plus the region’s bloody history that I would’ve loved to learn more about. I also wanted to learn a lot more about Ludmilla, the woman whose life’s quest is to free the trapped souls in the Road of Bones. I suspect that this book is too traditional horror genre for my tastes. I enjoyed the thrills, but I wanted something more to think about than outrunning the strange, deadly things in the forest.

Was this review helpful?

The badlands of Siberia. It really gets dark and killing cold out there-- and if you have car problems on this road it is all over. The Kolyma Highway lies on the bones of maybe six hundred thousand prisoners who died while building it. This is the most menacing place on Earth. In "Road of Bones" the hostility is cranked up as something beyond evil has been unleashed onto this sinister landscape.

"Teig" Teigland is a documentary filmmaker out to create a series about life along the highway. He and his partner Prentiss are desperate to sell to National Geographic or The Discovery Channel, desperate enough to risk the dangers of this world. Teig is plagued by guilt over the sister he could not save in their childhood and this provides motivation as he and Prentiss find themselves tasked with rescuing others stranded in the morass.

The intensity throughout is perfect-- a creepy nightmarish mood blankets everything. There is a bit of a letdown when the forms of the monsters are revealed--just as the shark in the movie Jaws is more terrifying before we see him. When the supernatural evil is exposed physically here it loses some potency. Still, this is quite a solid thrill ride from start to finish.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press, NetGalley, and Christopher Golden for providing an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

When "Road of Bones" is published on January 25 I will post this review on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookBub, Kobo, and Waterstones.

Was this review helpful?

First of all can I say I loved this book so much! It is the perfect mood read for a cold day, wrapped up in comfortable blankets or by a fire. The setting of the coldest inhabited place on earth is the perfect back drop for the plot. I found the story to be truly terrifying and easily one of the scariest books that I have read in quite some time. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a scary read to cuddle up with!

Was this review helpful?

This was an interesting, paranormal, fast paced story. These guys go to the Road of Bones in Siberia because they want to pitch a show about it, but it doesn't take long for weird stuff to start happening. I liked the author's writing style, and each character was well developed, and the story kept my attention through to the end. For some reason, it didn't scare me or keep me up or any of that, but it did entertain. A good read.

Was this review helpful?

What a ride this book was! I’m not really sure how to even categorize my thoughts, I would say 3.5 ⭐️. Super awesome concept, great atmosphere.. but when things started to get a little too weird for me, it started to become too much & no longer realistic to read, which was kind of what I was expecting. Still a very well written book, great concept, loved the storyline! I definitely recommend this to anyone who likes, horror, sci-if, suspense, etc. Cant wait to see the reviews on this!

Was this review helpful?

Christopher Golden's Road of Bones is a propulsive, atmospheric novel with a folkloric feel.

The Road of Bones is about Felix "Teig" Teigland, a struggling film producer looking for his next big break. He travels to the Kolyma Highway, also known as the "Road of Bones," with his cameraman Jack Prentiss in hopes of finding a story to use as proof of concept for his next TV show. But, when Prentiss and Teig arrive at their destination small town in the middle of Siberia, they find it deserted except for one 9-year-old girl. As they flee with the girl, they're chased out by angry spirits intent on their demise.

I think the biggest positive for this novel is how atmospheric it is. Golden does a wonderful job setting the scene of this deserted Siberian highway where it gets colder than cold and where one misstep -- a flat tire, a miscalculation of how much gas you have, etc., -- can leave you freezing to death with no help in sight. This is a great book to read in the winter or even better in a snowstorm!

I found the plot to be propulsive and easy to read. I wanted to know what would happen next and why this town was so strangely deserted. I loved the banter between Prentiss and Teig and how their friendship progressed through the book. That being said, I felt that the characters could've been developed a little bit more to provide a better connection between their backstory and their current situation. There was quite a bit of reminiscing, but it felt like it was told to the reader straight out, which created a bit of a disconnect for me.

It was clear the author did research into the Road of Bones and its history. Sometimes it felt like that history was regurgitated, particularly at the beginning of the book, but I didn't really mind because I enjoyed learning about this area of the world that was previously unknown to me. It does make me curious to know how much, if any, of the folklore that created the horror aspect of the book was based in real cultural history. It took on an air of fact and almost gave off the feelings of being told an old legend of the area, which I appreciated.

Overall, I think this book is definitely worth a read. It's a short, propulsive novel that will keep you turning the pages. I highly recommend it for people who like a dose of historical truth to be integrated into their thriller plotlines.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the advanced e-galley of this novel!

Was this review helpful?

This supernatural horror/thriller follows a small documentary crew led by producer Felix “Teig” Teigland as they traverse Siberia’s Kolyma Highway - "The Road of Bones" - aiming to finish at the town of Akhust - “the coldest place on Earth” - collecting ghost stories and local legends along the way. However, when Teig and his crew arrive at the town, they find it abandoned except for one nine-year-old girl in shock. While trying to formulate a plan and figure out what happened to this town, a pack of wolves comes out of the forest and attack. But these aren't any ordinary wolves, they're faster and stronger, and when Teig and his crew attempt to leave the town, the wolves follow.

The horror aspects of this book were phenomenal. It scratched the same horror itch that The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones did for me where it was a slow, creeping horror punctuated by moments of violence with a sprinkle of body horror on top. Road of Bones does lean more into the thriller side of things because the characters we're following are well aware of being pursued by these supernatural forces. I especially loved the fact that our group of characters is running away but the horror elements are just following them at a steady pace which creates this stifling feeling of almost hopelessness while reading. The supernatural horror elements don't come in until about the 25% mark, so the first quarter of the book was a lot of set up to these characters as well as the harsh environment they find themselves in. While the supernatural elements are the forefront of the horror in this story, the environmental horror is also very well established. The characters are constantly discussing the weather and the cold and how both are going to affect the trip and the cold becomes another force against them while they're trying to escape - if their car crashes, they die. There was a really great push-pull dynamic between the survival horror and the supernatural horror in this book that I think really worked well to highlight both parts. For me, it very much felt like as soon as I was getting a little burnt out reading about one kind of horror, the other would become the larger threat and vice versa.

I do want to acknowledge that Golden does utilize the native people and native folklore in this story and while I thought was handled well, I'm not a member of that group so I can't say for sure. Since I read an ARC, the acknowledgement section was not completed in my copy so I'm not sure if he went and spoke with anyone the Yakut native group (his bio on his website doesn't list him as being a member of this group so I'm assuming he's not). The book opens following two Americans - Teig and his cameraman Prentiss - as they are on their way to meet their guide. Their guide is a native man in his 20s named Kaskil and this guide tells them about some of the local legends and customs. The supernatural element of the story is from the native folklore and there were a few times where it felt like we might be leaning toward the trope of native horror being entirely evil and needs to be overcome by this white American trying to save this little girl. However, the place where the story ended up at the end was a much more careful integration of these creatures into the overall narrative. I was also a little worried about veering into the 'native burial ground' trope because of the focus on the story behind the "Road of Bones" name (hundreds of thousands of people died/were killed while constructing the road and were simply buried below the road). However, this aspect also turned out to be handled in what felt to me a much more respectful and sympathetic way.

The characters, to me, were the weakest part of the book but I also think this was very much more of a plot-driven book more so than a character-driven story. Teig and Prentiss have known each other for years and they did have some good banter back and forth mostly at the beginning of the book. Then when Kaskil joins and we eventually run into other characters, they are basically strangers to Teig and thus are also strangers to the reader. The whole story takes place in less than 24 hours and there wasn't a lot of time to sit around and tell each other their life stories so it makes sense that the character development was a bit shallow. That being said, Golden does a fantastic job at writing the emotion of these characters that the reader barely knows. For example, we had just met Kaskil only a few pages earlier, but the panic and despair he feels when he finds out his hometown is mysteriously abandoned is palpable. I think Teig, being our main focus for the story, had the most character development but even that felt a little forced to me. There was one moment from his past that kept being mentioned so it was really obvious that it was going to be significant in the story at some point. It, of course, does end up being important but I think the balance of how often it was mentioned during the story didn't quite line up with how significant it ended up being at the end.

I found the pacing of the story to be really tight which I think is essential in this sort of horror/thriller story. The beginning 25% does start a little slow with a lot of talking while driving a car but as soon as our characters arrive at the abandoned town it is pretty much full steam ahead. There were enough quiet moments in the bulk of the story to give the reader a moment to settle and have a bit of a breather before the next round of action. Since our characters are actively trying to escape these entities chasing them, we do have some great thriller moments and close calls in the story. There is so much action packed into these 24 hours in the story (and 240 pages of a book) that it really felt like a much longer read because there was so much packed in. We even got a nice slow down in the resolution after the climax that I appreciated.

Overall, this was a great horror/thriller read that was a little slow to get started but then it went from 0 to 100 in no time. I really enjoyed the progression of the horror and the integration of native folklore into the story. There were some great gut-punch moments and the pacing was incredible and well-balanced. I'll be checking out more from Golden in the future and I have added a few of his backlist titles on my TBR now.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC

Expected publication date is January 25, 2022

Was this review helpful?

Felix Teigland, known as "Teig," has had most of his projects go south. He owes money, he wants to be solvent, he wants at the very least to pay back his last remaining friend Prentiss, who is just about the only one left in the world who will still give him the time of day. He also has his reasons for wanting to believe in ghosts, needing to feel there is something else that comes after this life, that it's not just the end. That there is more than nothingness for those who have passed on.
It is with this purpose he attempts to make a documentary on The Road Of Bones, and the people who live in the coldest place on earth. But wait... where is everyone? The settlement is deserted. Doors are left open, everyone is gone.

I loved these characters. Their friendship feels genuine. They each have their own baggage and yet accept themselves and each other as they are. There is a depth and sincerity to this relationship that leaps off the page. The remote and desolate setting is brutal! The descriptions of the bitter cold wind and snow had me wanting to burrow under my blankets and crank my heat up full blast but it wouldn't have helped because there is so much more than the weather causing this dreadful creeping chill.
Can you survive the Road of Bones?

Was this review helpful?

This story was so tense and horrifying! I usually don't get scared reading anything but this one really did it for me. The atmosphere alone will frighten you. I really enjoyed this one!

Was this review helpful?

I put Road of Bones on my TBR, as soon as I read SK's tweet endorsing it. Prior to reading it, I had never heard of Kolyma Highway but I went online and discovered it was built by gulag prisoners. Up to 1M people are believed to have died building the highway and their bones are buried around and underneath it.

What I liked:
-Very atmospheric. It's the coldest place on Earth (up to -60 degrees Fahrenheit) and I could vividly picture the descriptions.
-Unique concept. I don't think I've ever read a horror/supernatural thriller.
-Nonstop edge of your seat suspense

What I didn't like:
-This isn't really a flaw but I was expecting to be scared and I wasn't. At all.
-I felt the book would have flowed better if one character had been completely scrapped.

Was this review helpful?

The Kolyma Highway is a place where temps drop to 60 degrees below zero. It is the place where 80+ gulags were built by Stalin, and hundreds of thousands of prisoners subsequently died. It is 1200 miles of nothingness, where turning off your car or running out of gas means death. It is the Road of Bones. Documentary producer Teig is there with his camera operator and a local guide to shoot footage of the coldest place on earth. But when they arrive, the village is abandoned by everyone but a wordless nine-year-old girl… Until the shaman appears. He and his murderous spirits will chase Teig and his companions car across hundreds of miles of frozen terrain as they flee the town with the mysterious girl in tow.

I… do not know where to start with this one. Seriously. I finished reading it and my mind was just like 🤯🤔😶. It’s been a few weeks since then, and I still feel similarly. This book was… weird.

I was absolutely hooked, right up until the sci-fi plot line kicked in. If I could have read an entire book about Teig, Prentiss, their guide, and the girl filming a documentary in the suddenly-abandoned coldest place on earth. That entire section of the book was so compellingly written and captivating. Where the author lost me, unfortunately, was when the shaman and his wolf-spirits appeared. This, however, is probably more of a me-problem than a book problem, since that is in fact, the plot of the actual book.

Once Teig and his band of misfits hit the road, fleeing from the spirits, my interest waned. The writing and pacing, however, made for a page-turner and I definitely could feel my heart racing at points.

In an alternate universe, where this wasn’t a paranormal book, I would have loved for there to have been a dual-timeline with a prisoner from one of Stalin’s gulags. Free idea for any historical fiction writers out there!

While unfortunately Road of Bones just wasn’t for me, if the supernatural thrillers with a folklore twist are up your alley, this one I’d definitely recommend picking up!

Was this review helpful?

Give me horror and suspense from Christopher Golden any old day of the week!
But... this means shiver-me-timber moments and there are many of them in his terrific, ROAD OF BONES.
Not for the faint of heart, and I worry about the reader who has snow on the ground as they read this one. I'm not sure I'll be so inclined to go out and place my recyclables at the curb. Even with my husband as a guardian, because it will not matter. Good luck everyone - I loved it.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Netgalley for providing a review copy. This review will also be posted on my Goodreads page.

I really enjoy Christopher Golden's books. When I saw the plot line for this one- I was sold. A haunted highway in the middle of nowhere? Sold! The story follows two documentary crew members out to film a documentary about the Kolyma Highway in Siberia. The interesting part is that this is an actual highway which many people died during the construction of. Wikipedia says the road is treated as a memorial and that between 250,000-1 million are buried in or by the road.

The two person documentary crew is off to film about the road. When they reach a settlement along the road- it's deserted, like everyone just left. The only person they find is a child who won't speak about what happened. Here is where the story takes a fantastical turn. The crew is pursued by mysterious creatures as they try to escape.

I enjoyed the wild ride of a book, but I think the story of the road itself is interesting enough. I am not always a huge fan of fantastical elements in books. I would have loved to see Golden focus on the story of the road and how it is supposedly haunted! I wanted to hear more about this cursed road! Either way, I totally enjoyed this book and will recommend to my fellow horror fans.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Christopher Golden for sending me an advanced copy of this to read. Road of Bones will be published on January 25.

Wowee is this book creepy and wild. I basically went in blind and really was taken for a ride. This book started out super normal and I thought it was a typical thriller, but it is not. This book is definitely horror and I want to categorize it more for you but I won’t because I don’t want to spoil it. If you’re into chilling and wild atmospheres, frightening descriptions that will stick with you and also gore. This book is for you.

Road of Bones features Teig and Prentiss who have traveled to Siberia to film a documentary about the Kolyma Highway, a road built on top of the bones of prisoners from Stalin’s gulag. This road is 1200 miles of frigid temperatures easily 60 below zero. The bodies of these prisoners were left where they fell, plowed under the permafrost. Teig and Prentiss pick up their guide and start their journey. When they finally reach the village they’ll be filming in, they discover it’s completely abandoned except for one small girl and a lot of other scary things that I won’t tell you about. Haha go read this book and then come talk to me about it!

Was this review helpful?