"[An] artful first novel, reminiscent of the tales of Poe... Gregory uses a low-key style and subtle lyricism to build an atmosphere of nightmarish horror in a tale that could become a classic." (Publishers Weekly)
"[A] first-class terror story with a relentless focus that would have made Edgar Allan Poe proud." (New York Times)
"[N]o summary can do justice to the subtlety of Gregory's first novel, with its fresh, vivid, sensual prose and its superb descriptive and evocative power. An extraordinary novel - original, compelling, brilliant." (Library Journal)
"A work of tremendous self-assurance that leaves the reader with a lingering sense of unease and announces the arrival of a considerable new talent." (British Book News)
A young family receives a welcome surprise when old Uncle Ian dies and leaves them a cottage in north Wales. For Ian's nephew and his wife, Ann, it seems a stroke of incredible good fortune, enabling them to leave their unfulfilling lives in the city for a newfound freedom in the remote seaside cottage. There's just one catch. Uncle Ian's will has a strange condition: The couple must care for his pet cormorant or forfeit the bequest. They think nothing of it at first: Uncle Ian was eccentric, and the bird is amusing in a way. But when the cormorant begins to show a violent and malevolent side, they soon find that Uncle Ian's gift may not be a blessing but a curse.
Stephen Gregory's first novel, The Cormorant (1986), received widespread critical acclaim, winning the prestigious Somerset Maugham Award and earning comparisons to the works of Poe.