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The Bones of Avalon Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 21, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the JOHN DEE PAPERS Series

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, June 21, 2011
$9.33 $2.21

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Editorial Reviews


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.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (June 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312672381
  • ASIN: B00BDHX5I8
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,084,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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
This historical novel by an author I had not previously heard of brings together a lot of my interests and that alone made it quite compelling for me : King Arthur and Avalon, Elizabeth I, , parapsychology and the spirit world and Kabala.
England reeling from the reign of terror of Bloody Mary in her blustering efforts to force the Roman Catholic faith back on England.

The new Queen Elizabeth I aims for a more tolerant course but is beset by troubles. she sends her astrologer and doctor of psychics and philosophy Dr John Dee, together with her secret paramour and advisor Sir Robert Dudley to Glastonbury to find the bones of King Arthur disinterred 20 years earlier by Henry VIII in the Dissolution.

Dee falls in love with the beguiling and beautiful young woman doctor Eleanor (Nel) Burrows and when she is accused of witchcraft will do what he can to save her. Glastonbury is haunted and tortured place under the thumb of a dour cleric who has stamped his tyrannic theology on the town

Meanwhile a vile murder takes this story into a murder mystery. great characterization and plot, with just the right amount of the eerie and mysterious.
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