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The Ruins

A book by Scott Smith

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"You can end up not living the life you'd meant to."

  • Mar 19, 2009
  • by

Thrust into a life and death situation, survivors immediately begin planning their means of escape, committed to life; the others surrender to their fear, losing ground in those few vital moments. The characters in The Ruins face more than the usual problems, a threat that is all but incomprehensible, increasingly complex obstacles that require more than the usual human response to danger.

Two vacationing couples in the Yucatan Peninsula, Jeff and Amy, Eric and Stacy, are enjoying the last week of their vacation before settling into their lives in the real world. They have made friends, Matthias, a German, in Cozumel, and three jolly Greeks in Cancun, all of them reveling in the sun-baked beaches and festive nights of the country. When Matthias' brother, Henrich, runs off to an archaeological dig with the new love of his life, Matthias decides to take an impromptu day-trip to locate him, using the rough map Henrich left behind. The two American couples and the only sober Greek agree to accompany Matthias, expecting an adventure.

Following the map with some difficulty, the six young people hire a taxi to deliver them to the site, not dissuaded when the driver remarks that this is not a good place. Hopping from the taxi with the few supplies they've packed, the six set out on their search, blissfully unaware of what awaits them, the invisible enemy not at first apparent; once revealed, the threat is almost too bizarre to comprehend. Of them all, only Jeff and Matthias remain clear-headed, the others falling victim to their emotions, denial increasing with each new test.

What follows defies the imagination. Confronted with the implacability of nature, each character is taxed to the limits of his resources, trapped in a nightmare that defies logic. In A Simple Plan, Smith peeled away the layers of duplicity and greed of his protagonists; The Ruins moves even further into the unknown, exploring man's ability to survive enormous odds, the fracturing of community and the stunning revelation of helplessness when faced with the unimaginable. Luan Gaines.
The Ruins

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More The Ruins reviews
review by . November 20, 2008
All windup, no followthrough, this very bestseller left me flat despite keeping me reading intently the whole way through. About two-thirds of the way through, you realize there will be no ruins and no rescue, and the book teeters on the brink of "Little Shop of Horrors" parody as it plays out to its predictable end. "Feed me", anyone?
review by . November 04, 2008
The Ruins by Scott Smith
Two couples, Amy and Jeff, Stacy and Eric, travel to Cancun for a month before going off to college. They meet up with Mathias, a German, who's brother has gone missing. Together, along with a Greek who calls himself Pablo and doesn't speak English or German, they make their way into the heart of the Yucatan, Coba, to look for Henrich.     Warned by locals, by their taxi driver, and by the Mayans near the archeological dig, the six tramp forward into the jungles, determined to …
review by . March 29, 2008
From the very beginning the reader is catapulted into a dark and forlorn tale of doom.  When four friends and some new acquaintances decide to venture out into the lush jungles of Mexico they take a gamble that will cost them the ultimate price. Jeff, Eric, Stacy, Amy, Mathias and Pablo are on a mission to find someone. Mathias informs them that his brother followed the love of his life into a mysterious archeological excavation and that they should go and find them, he ultimately drags …
review by . March 26, 2008
THE RUINS is a horror novel that follows a group of six people as they travel into the jungles of the Yucatan in Mexico, searching for a missing person. Four of the people; Jeff, Amy, Eric, and Stacy, are close college friends from the U.S. spending one last vacation together. Jeff and Amy are a couple and Eric and Stacy are a couple. While enjoying themselves in Mexico they befriend three Greek men and a German. The Greeks speak no English and have taken to calling themselves by Spanish names. …
review by . August 11, 2006
This book is the type that keeps you up very late reading it, because you just can't seem to put it down! The plot races along, and slowly but surely the horror builds until you get to the point where you almost can't stand it. To say almost anything about the plot might be to give away some of the excellent twists and turns from the book, so I won't do that. All I will say is that, if you want a good scare, and don't mind missing some sleep to finish the book, read this!
About the reviewer
Luan Gaines ()
Ranked #108
An artist/writer, I have traveled the world, walked on the moon and learned the complicated language of humanity, the enormity of the universe... all through the written word. My first passport was a … more
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About this book


In 1993, Scott Smith wowed readers withA Simple Plan, his stunning debut thriller about what happens when three men find a wrecked plane and bag stuffed with over 4 million dollars--a book thatStephen Kingcalled "Simply the best suspense novel of the year!" Now, thirteen years after writing a novel that turned into apretty great moviefeaturing Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton, Smith is back, withThe Ruins, a horror-thriller about four Americans traveling in Mexico who stumble across a nightmare in the jungle. Who better to tell readers if Smith has done it again than the undisputed King of Horror (and champion of Smith's first book)? We asked Stephen King to readThe Ruinsand give us his take. Check out his review below.--Daphne Durham


Guest Reviewer: Stephen King

Stephen King is the author of too many bestselling books to name here, but some of our favorites include: Cell, The Stand, On Writing, The Shining, and the entire Dark Tower series. King also received the National Book Foundation 2003 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, has had many movies and television miniseries adapted from his novels, short stories, and screenplays, and is a regular columnist for Entertainment Weekly. Keep your eyes peeled for Lisey's Story (October 2006), a new television series on TNT based on Nightmares & Dreamscapes (July 2007), and a graphic novel series based on the Dark Tower books coming from Marvel (2007).

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Books, Suspense Books, horror books, Yucatan Peninsula


ISBN-10: 0307389715
ISBN-13: 978-0307389718
Author: Scott Smith
Genre: Fiction, Horror
Publisher: Vintage
First to Review

"Don't vacation in Mexico"
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