The Bones of Avalon by Phil Rickman

Although I am able to review books for the local paper, this applies only, of course, to books produced or written in Wales, that have some relevance to the area around the Cardigan Coast where our paper stretches to. The big problem for me is that the books I really want to write about are often not the ones I am given to review. To be fair the Tivyside, our local weekly organ of news, views and pics, is one of the few local papers remaining who are interested in publishing book reviews. Many just dont go near them any more. So I am not complaining on that score. It’s genuinely great to be able to give a bit of publicity to people writing in our area. But, and it’s a big but for me, as I am an eclectic reader moving between fiction and non-fiction,regional, contemporary, historical, in fact, you get the picture, just about everything readable that is out there. My writing is a bit like that too, and my own latest offering, now picked up by Llanerch Press, is another historical one, and centres around the grave of King Arthur. Imagine my interest when I find that Phil Rickman, known for his clever Merrily Watkins series, has a book out called the Bones of Avalon, which is not only about Arthur’s bones, but is centrally dedicated to the great astrologer/wise man of British history, John Dee. I began to read it with some trepidation as Rickman’s reputation for ‘dark and spooky’ goes before him and I’m not a great enthusiast of horror thriller stuff Within a page or two I was hooked, so much so that the past week-end has been transformed into my being taken by the hand on a trip to Glastonbury in the middle ages, post dissolution and horrible Henry, the early years of Elizabethan age. Here in this book is what I see as expertise in full flow. High quality writing, total credibility, descriptive passages full of perfect detail. Rickman is a genius or an analeptic – or possibly both of course. I recommend it to all those who love an intelligent mystery, historical information that is fresh and believable, sense of place that just makes for an immediate need to go there. The last thing I wanted was to come to the end, and yet, why not? I will now read it again, knwing the twists and turns and getting so much more out of it, for being ahead of the game. Bliss.   

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