Saturday, September 18, 2010

SM5S: The Bones of Avalon by Phil Rickman

A fun way to add variety to review formats this meme was created by Alipet at That's A Novel Idea.

Jenners at Find Your Next Book Here has the Mr Linky each week so we can share our posts .

1 Book I read:  The Bones of Avalon by Phil Rickman

2 words that describe the book: Elizabethan mystery

3 Settings and/or characters I met:
  • England, 1560 - a country divided by religious strife and dynastic ambition. On the throne the newly crowned, twenty-six year old Elizabeth Tudor, tormented by dreams of her dead mother and fearing the deeds of her father, Henry VIII, have laid a curse on the house of Tudor.
  • Dr. John Dee - the Queen's astrologer. A scholar , suspected sorceror and now about to become an investigator. The Queen wishes to find the bones of King Arthur, lost when King Henry destroyed the great abbey at Glastonbury, and bring them to be reburied in London . She sends John Dee and Lord Robert Dudley to seek out their whereabouts - an investigation that will stir up centuries-old secrets, unexpected violence and murder and the cold heart of a complex plot against the Queen.
  • Mistress Nel Borrow - daughter of a Glastonbury doctor , her mother was hung as a witch , and she is looked on with suspicion for her work with healing herbs and plants.
4 things I liked/disliked about the book:
  • I have always liked Phil Rickman's books particularly his early stand alone novels which were later followed by the Merrily Watkins series. With The Bones of Avalon he leaves the modern world behind to venture into writing a historical crime mystery and does it very well. He has a wonderful writing style, very easy to read with vivid descriptions of places and people and I particularly liked that he depicted John Dee and Robert Dudley in a different way than they appear in other books.
  • I liked that the one thing he hasn't moved away from is the theme that runs through all his books - the conflicting forces between religion and paganism with the latter adding elements of the supernatural, folklore and witchhunts to the already volatile situation between Catholic and Protestant.
  • I love books about Glastonbury makes quite a difference if you've been to somewhere  a book is set and Glastonbury is such a magical place. The climb up the Tor , sitting by the Chalice Well and standing in awe within the ruins of the abbey - I've done these things and like nothing better than reliving them with characters in a story,
  • I like that the book is a mixture of so many things which all come together so well. History, an atmosphere often like a supernatural horror tale , a thriller with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing to the end .....and if that's not enough there's even a love story.
5 Stars or less for my rating:

I'm giving The Bones of Avalon 4 Stars............wonderfully entertaining reading from a great storyteller and I enjoyed every word.


  1. It does make a difference in the reading if you have been to the place of where the story is set.

    I am glad to see that you liked this book as much as you did. The cover has intrigued right from the first time I saw it, to know that the story is just as good has now bought a place on my TBR list.
    I have not been reading much in way of Tudor history, kind of OD on that time period, but the way you describe how it is written about in this book only serves to pump up my interest once again for that time period. Exciting. Only now to figure out when to read the book.

  2. I really must try show me 5 cos it does look like a fun way to mix things up...but haven't finished my latest book yet

  3. I do think that having visited a place ... especially a place like Glastonbury ... would make a book really come alive. Sounds like a good little series.