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The Bones of Avalon Hardcover – June 21, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (June 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312672381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312672386
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,282,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The Bones of Avalon

"Phil Rickman is one of my all-time favorites…. He's done it again, with his usual sense of permeating atmosphere, with vivid characters in a complex plot that grows through the bones of history like a deadly nightshade." --Diana Gabaldon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of An Echo in the Bone

"With his supernatural touch, a terrifying plot involving a necromancer, Glastonbury, King Arthur’s bones, and superb research, Phil Rickman takes us back brilliantly into the dark world of the first Elizabethans." --Ariana Franklin, national bestselling author of A Murderous Procession

“Shadowed with his hallmark eeriness and full of richly drawn landscapes and fascinating characters, The Bones of Avalon is just the sort of uncanny, page-turning wonder that I’ve come to expect from Phil Rickman. What’s new is the magnificent sweep of Elizabethan England and tantalizing legends of King Arthur. A glorious read.” --Jennifer Lee Carrell, international bestselling author of Interred with Their Bones

“For those of us waiting with bated breath for the next installment in C.J. Sansom's marvelous Matthew Shardlake murder mysteries set in Tudor England, heed my words: Phil Rickman and his John Dee have arrived! … The novel chills, thrills and satisfies, providing good history, great plot, and fascinating characters. Pull up a chair, turn off the phone, and settle in for a most delectable read… The Bones of Avalon is a fabulous read and John Dee is a marvelous addition to the world of Tudor intrigue.” –HuffingtonPost.com

“A historical thriller with a touch of romance and more than a hint of necromancy… Brilliantly imagined and grippingly executed.” --The Times (London)

“In this compelling and historically convincing novel, [Rickman] recreates a world of religious and political uncertainty where one man’s science is another man’s witchcraft, and where the mundane and the mystical rub shoulders… An assured and compelling opening to a new historical series.” –The Spectator

"Rickman, who’s wending his way through Welsh history, myth and mores (the Merrily Watkins series), revisits many of the real-life characters he wrote of in The Chalice (1997, etc.) with admirable scholarship and verve, making a John Dee sequel something to look forward to." --Kirkus

“This wonderful stand alone immediately draws the reader into danger and mystery, focused on Dr. John Dee, astrologer to Elizabeth I.  If readers are lucky, this will turn into a series featuring one of the most fascinating historical figures of the period.” –RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ stars, Top Pick

“An immaculate Elizabethan mystery, beautifully written, cunningly contrived. John Dee himself could not have conjured up anything finer.” –Michael Gregorio, author of Critique of Criminal Reason

“Phil Rickman's The Bones of Avalon is a treasure chest that, once opened, transports the reader back in time to one of our planet's most perilous eras… With its numerous descriptions of Medieval barbarism, savagery and hardship, The Bones of Avalon is a most enthralling read that engrossed me from cover to cover. It was as though a spell had been cast over me, forcing me to keep reading…. An epic journey of Medieval adventure and horror. Every fan of historical mysteries needs to embark on it. It has a twisting, suspenseful plot with numerous shocks.” --gumshoereview.com

About the Author

PHIL RICKMAN lives on the Welsh border with his wife Carol. He has worked as a BBC radio and TV reporter, and he currently writes and presents the book program “Phil the Shelf’ on BBC Radio Wales. He is also the author of the internationally bestselling crime series featuring Merrily Watkins.  Visit him online at PhilRickman.co.uk.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
'The Bones of Avalon' is priceless, a keeper, this is why I had to buy the hardback copy; it will be read to bits over the coming years. I love historical novels when they are well written, Ellis Peters, Umberto Eco, Samson, Peter Tremayne et al. I especially love history, so after reading non-fiction books it is an absolute delight to be able to walk through the medieval streets via Phil Rickman's graphic narratives and share the adventures of his characters. Who could forget the opening scene, with its undercurrent of shock, as Dee witnesses the unfolding of the wrapped object, after its removal from the coffin on the quayside.

Rickman's Dr. Dee is a truth seeker, a keen observer and an analyst, and once he is on the trail of a mystery, he means to see it though to its conclusion, and oh my, what adventures he has along the way. The Bones of Avalon is a tremendously satisfying read on many different levels; social, political, historical, murder, intrigue, suspense, folklore and so on. Various aspects reflect everyday life - where there are many different onion-layers of complexity. The novel is a living, albeit fictional, tribute to Dee. The characters are well-rounded, they live and breathe and you want to spend time with them.

Their environment is also well described; you might find you are picking your steps through the street for a while after reading this book. Or looking at well known houses with the realisation that certain events are based on the truth, and you now feel privy to it - even if this is a pun on the preceding sentence.

Court intrigues and the threat these brought to people's lives were captured perfectly.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Grahame Gardner on April 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is Phil Rickman's latest book, a historical crime mystery set in Glastonbury and told through the eyes of Dr. John Dee, who is sent by Queen Elizabeth on a mission to recover the bones of King Arthur. A departure from the norm for Phil, who is better known for his present-day Merrily Watkins series of crime thrillers.
It's a microcosmic jewel at the heart of a macrocosmic tapestry of Elizabethan court intrigue. Telling the story through Dr. John's eyes works extremely well and gives the story a very personal edge. It really forces the reader to empathise with Dee, and as the intricacies of the plot are revealed to him we cannot help but share his feelings. The plot is extremely plausible to the point that you could almost accept this story as historical fact reconstructed from Dee's diaries.
A great character-driven adventure, expertly told by a master of the genre. I loved every minute of it and will definitely be reading it again soon.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Julia E. Adams on May 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a fan of Phil's writing, I could not wait for this to be available in the US and so I ordered it from England! Leave it to Phil Rickman to defy genres, space and time to create his own unique historical fiction/crime/romance/novel of place. Thanks to deft characterization and scenery descriptions, you are there. I feel as if I have been in Glastonbury of the 16th Century, knelt at the Blood Well and stood dizzied on the tor. A gruesome and puzzling murder, a witch hunt, the strife between Catholicism and Protestantism, the enchanting astrological secrets of the monks, a meeting of the great scientific and mystic minds of the ages, a bone man's pestilence, a plot to assassinate the young queen Bess- I'd better stop, but these things and more await. Now get your own copy (new, not used, preferably!).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Fred M. on July 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Phil Rickman does an excellent job of incorporating real history and real characters into his works of fiction. I have found the Merrily Watkins mysteries entertaining precisely because of this trait, e.g. allusions to Fred West.

Dr. John Dee was a real person in Elizabethan England and it certainly appears that Rickman has been diligent in his research. His characters seem appropriate to the time but understandable to the present. Judging from the ending of 'Bones" this is the first of a series. I certainly hope so.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 17, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You have no idea how excited I was to see this book available for kindle!! Go Amazon!! I have loved Phil Rickman's writing for a looooong time and so to see his latest book available here was a real treat. As his fans will know Rickman is a master at atmosphere and character and this book is no different. Set in Elizabethan England Rickman captures the life and personality of his characters and drags you with him on a mystery which thrills and intrigues. Read it now!! And then (hint hint Amazon) read his Merrily Watkins mysteries, they're genius!!!
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Format: Hardcover
In London 1560, the controversial Dr. John Dee is the personal astrologer of Queen Elizabeth who, according to her enemies, is not worthy to reign. Dr. Dee and his best friend and former student, Sir Robert Dudley, travel on horseback to the isolated town of Glastonbury on the Isle of Avalon. At Glastonbury Abbey, Dr. Dee hopes to find the bones of King Arthur and use them to establish Queen Elizabeth's regal heritage. Instead, he finds a town steeped in superstition, occultism and paganism. One of Dudley's servants, Martin Lythgoe, is discovered butchered on the altar at Glastonbury Abbey and a young woman who uses herbs for healing, Dr. Nel Borrow, is falsely accused of witchcraft. Dr. Dee must find Lythgoe's killer, rescue Nel and foil a murderous plot against Queen Elizabeth.

Phil Rickman`s "The Bones of Avalon" is a treasure chest that, once opened, transports the reader back in time to one of our planet's most perilous eras. The dreaded witch hunts have supposedly come to an end. Queen Elizabeth promises no more religious persecution. However, there still exists animosity between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics. Citizens are forced to attend church or have fines levied against them. Dr. Dee continues to have nightmares of when Bishop Ned Bonner, a madman, had him imprisoned for sorcery and he came close to being roasted at the stake. With its numerous descriptions of Medieval barbarism, savagery and hardship, "The Bones of Avalon" is a most enthralling read that engrossed me from cover to cover. It was as though a spell had been cast over me, forcing me to keep reading.

At last, in "The Bones of Avalon," I have found a hero with whom I can truly identify. Dr. John Dee is a bookworm and a scholar.
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