A country divided. A newly crowned, desperately vulnerable young queen. Can one man uncover the secret that will save her throne?
It is 1560, and Elizabeth Tudor has been on the throne for a year. Dr. John Dee, at 32 already acclaimed throughout Europe, is her astrologer and consultant in the hidden arts… a controversial appointment in these days of superstition and religious strife.
When dangerous questions of Elizabeth’s legitimacy arise, the mild, bookish Dee finds himself summoned before William Cecil, who tasks him with an important mission. Along with Robert Dudley, Dee’s daring friend and former student who is also rumored to be the Queen’s secret lover, Dee must travel to the famously mystical town of Glastonbury to find the missing bones of King Arthur. Once these long-lost relics, the embodiment of a legacy vitally important to the Tudor line, are ensconced in London, doubts as to the Queen’s supremacy as the rightful Tudor heir will be dispelled.
But the quest quickly turns deadly—Dee and Dudley arrive in Glastonbury to discover the town mourning the gruesome execution of its abbot, and more death soon follows at the old abbey. Racing to uncover the secrets buried there, Dee finds himself caught in the tangled roots of English magic, unexpected violence, the breathless stirring of first love… and the cold heart of a complex plot against Elizabeth.
Mortlake, February, 1560.
MY MOTHER'S ONLY servant disappeared on the night we needed it least. The eve of the Queen's visit. And of Candlemas.
Catherine Meadows had been a quiet maid. Efficient, demure and, more important, discreet. The first servant I'd let dust, or even enter, my library. Given the afternoon for herself, she'd left the house shortly before noon.
Less than an hour, this was, before the Queen's messenger had come to alert us of her arrival here on the morrow. The Queen! God, my poor mother had gone wild: so much
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