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The Stone Forest

On the brink of adulthood, Phyl discovers the Creek, an isolated community stranded between the Essex marshlands and the industrial highway of the Thames, where her life is unexpectedly enriched. But in the aftermath of life-changing illness and the traumatic loss of a friend, Phyl and her sister find themselves abruptly relocated to rural Wales.

(11 customer reviews)


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The 1930s are drawing to a close. On the brink of adulthood, Phyl discovers the Creek, an isolated community stranded between the Essex marshlands and the industrial highway of the Thames, where her life is unexpectedly enriched. But in the aftermath of life-changing illness and the traumatic loss of a friend, Phyl and her sister find themselves abruptly relocated to rural Wales where it is soon clear that the spectre of grief has not released its grip on her. Following the discovery of a cryptic set of verses and haunted by the foreboding figure of a man she does not know, Phyl is compelled both to unravel the strands of past tragedy and to confront an ever more implacable present as malevolent forces gather, threatening to destroy not only her fragile happiness but her very existence.

Additional information

Weight N/A



Wordcatcher Publishing


FICTION / Occult & Supernatural




The Glasswater Quintet


9781912056767, 9781912056781, 9781912056798

11 reviews for The Stone Forest

  1. Odette – Amazon

    5.0 out of 5 stars Another thrilling and compelling read
    Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 January 2021
    Verified Purchase
    James has been my saviour in yet another period of furlough!
    I appreciate that I have come late to James’s works, but I do believe they have come at exactly the right time for me.
    I have immersed myself in this book yet again, to the exclusion of whatever else is going on in the ‘real world’, and I have allowed James to take me on another journey of intrigue, grief, love and the supernatural, knowing that as another book ends it is another piece of the jigsaw which will reveal itself in full in book 5.
    Stunning vocabulary evident throughout which delighted me, and the ending I had hoped for. Thank you James yet again, and tomorrow, book four!!

  2. F. Henry, Amazon

    5 out of 5 stars highly engaging story and characters, written in superbly crafted prose
    Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 July 2020
    This third instalment of The Glasswater Quintet is, to my mind at least, the most accomplished to date. Its written style, with a rich and quasi-poetic vocabulary, and the author’s evident empathy for his characters and affinity with the places featured, especially rural Carmarthenshire, make for a most enjoyable read.

    I found the principal character, girl/young woman Phyl (Phyllis), to be especially convincing, as well as sympathetically depicted. When she reaches Wales, she begins a venture akin to a treasure hunt, attempting to unravel a past (and present) mystery, with the help (or hindrance?!) of new friends and some supernatural elements. Here, her sense of dislocation but also of purpose, alongside her identification with new people and places, as a war-time evacuee, are cleverly and engagingly depicted. I particularly liked her classroom experiences, and the omnipresent external threats of wartime. The story builds really effectively to a crescendo and resolution, and I could barely put the book down, eventually reading the whole thing in three sittings!

    James Morgan-Jones has achieved something really innovative with this ambitious series – tales with a supernatural element, yes, but intelligently written and with hugely compelling stories and relatable characters, and in a prose style so rich and glorying in its breadth of vocabulary that it really does echo poetry, which fits well with the themes of time and place explored and presented in the stories (and his recent poetry collection, also well worth a look). I for one am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to read the next book in the series and, ultimately, to “binge-rereading” all five, as I am certain that the interwoven thematic, temporal and geographically links will, retrospectively, then become fully evident.

  3. A Martin, Amazon

    Evocative, poetic and yet thrilling.
    Not so much a book as a work of art, The Stone Forest had me gripped all the way through and my life had to go on hold until I reached the climax of this riveting story. Whimsical at times as Phyl slips between different eras and worlds; illness and health; childhood and adulthood, as she solves the riddles that bind her to the past and the mystery that threatens her very life and those she loves.
    The sense of place within each setting is beautifully evoked whether it is the bleak marshland east of London or the hills and valleys of rural Carmarthenshire; each landscape is so well described the reader becomes immersed in it. Morgan Jones has a huge vocabulary upon which he draws to enrich his prose, which is often more akin to poetry. I found this added to the ethereal timelessness as Phyl’s determined detective skills unfurled a violent past against the backdrop of the wider violence of the Second World War. For those who love literary fiction, a gripping mystery, a ghostly tale and poetic prose, I recommend The Stone Forest without hesitation.

  4. Debbie Somers

    We may think that the past is dead and buried but in this, the third book of the Glasswater Quintet, we see how past events and the lives they affected seep into the present in an unsettling quest for closure. James Morgan-Jones’ rich and beautifully crafted language creates a landscape into which the reader is skilfully drawn and made to care about the fate of characters both past and present. This page turner is guaranteed to leave the reader eagerly anticipating the next book as soon as the last page has been turned. The Stone Forest evokes a world that is real and authentic but disquieting from the outset, with hints of dark presences seeking in the present the redress of past wrongdoing and injustice. The effects of past grief, loss and wrongdoing and how they shape present lives is a timeless theme, explored here with such perception and sensitivity that the reader can’t help but care about and want to understand the characters both past and present. The Stone Forest explores an unsettling world of overlapping time where the past seeps through into the present, changing lives and relationships in such a way that things can never be the same again.

  5. Jackie Reynolds

    t was very well written, although it took me a while to get into it, as I did find the first couple of chapters heavily descriptive and the map wasn’t relevant until later in the book. However, once the characters were introduced they were engaging and the plot drew me in and kept me reading. There are subtle and delicate seeds that were planted in my mind that gradually grew. Slowly and carefully the story pulls you deeper and deeper into Phyl’s world, until I was completely engulfed and immersed in her imagination. I was suddenly gripped and always wanted to read more. It was consuming and captivating, unravelling a world of deception and intrigue, until all the pieces fall into place and all is explained. I can’t wait for the next one!

  6. Telford A J Williams

    This book will stay with you long after you finish reading it. At last we get to read the third instalment in James Morgan-Jones’ Glasswater Quintet. The pace of this book differs from the first two, the authour seeming to take the luxury of time to immerse us in the world of Phyl, the protagonist and this is no bad thing. Sense of place has always been a strong point in this series and this book takes it to another level with “The Creek”, a small settlement on a tributary of the Thames, east of London essentially becoming another character in the narrative. The switch of location to West Wales about a third of the way into the book jars, deliberately so, and the contrast between the two settings mirrors Phyl’s journey as she discovers things about herself and others. A hypnotic sense of horror is expertly evoked during the large set pieces but the things that really horrify and pull the reader up short are the small unexpected episodes such as when Phyl senses the death of someone she loves dearly or the shocking behaviour of a damaged and casually cruel schoolmistress. These are the things that stay with the reader after finishing the book. This is a hugely enjoyable read with a page turning climax but it is also much more than this. James Morgan-Jones’ writing tells us things about ourselves and the human condition that we may not have realised while never being less than entertaining – quite a feat.

  7. Gill Arnold from Goodreads

    Well researched and beautifully written page turner! This is the third book in James Morgan Jones’ series of loosely interwoven tales. They are linked by their locations – East London and a small Welsh village, and by some of the characters. He really is a most wonderful writer, conjuring up landscapes which are vivid and familiar but he gives them a twist so they seem other-worldly and strange. The plots are intriguing, tinged with the supernatural and his depiction of the Tarot in the second novel and Celtic myths in the third book are very accurate – he does his research well! The main characters, in this instance a young wartime evacuee, are compelling and likeable and the plot moves along at a pace. I would definitely recommend this book and the others in the series to anyone who enjoys a book which has something to say but is also a good page turner.

  8. Mrs C

    A powerful, well-written novel.

    Once started reading I couldn’t put it down…I was totally drawn into the story by the characters , the gripping storyline and the hints of something that was lurking beneath the surface. Very well written using excellent vocabulary the story had ripples of interest and intrigue throughout until the climax was reached. A very powerful novel indeed. The book was a pleasure to hold and read with a soft cover and good print. All in all…a book not to be missed. Looking forward to reading the next book by this fascinating author Eye of the Rushes.

  9. Annie Lewis

    A cracking adventure!

    Wow, James has done it again! A brilliant, adventure story with such interesting characters and so informative regarding the history of its time and the rich local history of London, Essex and Carmarthen. I loved how beautifully it is written and the wonderful vocabulary he uses. I miss the characters already so I may just start reading it again!

  10. Amazon customer

    Another must read from James Morgan-Jones.

    Having been thoroughly captivated by the previous two novels of the Glasswater Quintet, I couldn’t wait to get my copy of The Stone Forest and it certainly did not disappoint. Once again the author’s beautifully crafted prose created and drew me into a landscape that was both real and authentic, yet unsettling with dark presences seeping through from previous times, in search of resolution for past loss and wrongdoing. Once again I was made aware of how the past can change lives and relationships in the present and this was done with such skill and sensitivity that I felt drawn to the characters and like them desperately wanted closure. If the Stone Forest has taught me one thing it is that the past is not always dead and buried! I am now eagerly awaiting the next book of the quintet.

  11. Ada

    A thoroughly absorbing and compelling read.

    A fascinating book that with rich and evocative language, powerfully transports the reader both in time and between geographical settings.

    Starting in pre-war East London and moving to rural South Wales as war intrudes, the main character, a young girl on the brink of womanhood, has to face personal tragedy and come to terms with the inevitability of her circumstance as she learns the relevance of myths and wisdom from folklore. Overlaid with this personal story are glimpses from recent history that the reader is made aware of from the prologue, and the constant background of encroaching war.

    The different regions are richly and vividly described and the dialogue captures the essence of location and the personalities. At times both heartbreaking and poignant, it beautifully captures the agony and emotional turmoil of coming of age during turbulent times.

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