The Bones of Avalon by Phil Rickman

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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.



About Phil Rickman

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Phil Rickman lives on the Welsh border where he writes and presents the book programme Phil the Shelf on BBC Radio Wales. He is the hugely popular author of The Bones of Avalon and the Merrily Watkins Mysteries.
Published June 21, 2011 by Minotaur Books. 450 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Bones of Avalon

Kirkus Reviews

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Elizabeth, superstitious and chary of a prediction promising disaster unless she can find and bring King Arthur’s bones to a glorious resting place, sends Robert Dudley, Master of the Horse (and perhaps her lover), and Dr. John Dee, scholar and astronomer, off to Glastonbury, purportedly the site...

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Publishers Weekly

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Elizabeth I's controversial astrologer, John Dee, takes center stage in this serviceable thriller set in 1560 from British author Rickman (To Dream of the Dead and nine other Merrily Watkins mysteries).

Apr 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bones of Avalon


Queen Elizabeth is one of the most famous British rulers in history-and many don't realize that this monarch who is best known for fairness and religious tolerance employed her very own "astrologer" Dr. John Dee.

Dec 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bones of Avalon

Book Reporter

And soon, his connections to Queen Elizabeth, who looked to Dee for certain guidance, helped keep him out of prison.

Jul 03 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bones of Avalon

The Bookbag

I think that it's probably going to appeal mainly to those readers with at least a little knowledge of Dee and Dudley, but I'm sure that even without any idea of who the pair were, you'd be able to enjoy it for the excitement anyway.

Sep 08 2012 | Read Full Review of The Bones of Avalon

Reviewing the Evidence

Rickman doesn't go overboard in his use of language designed to ground the book in his chosen period, but the narration does have some odd quirks, lapsing repeatedly into the present tense for a few sentences at a time, which managed to throw me out of the story while I tried to decide if it was ...

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Look At OKC

“The Bones of Avalon” (Minotaur Books, $25.99) by Phil Rickman is a novel about John Dee, adviser to Queen Elizabeth I and a historical figure long rumored to have dabbled in sorcery.

Jul 24 2011 | Read Full Review of The Bones of Avalon

The Army Rumour Service

Until I read The Bones of Avalon, I would have cheerfully added its author, Phil Rickman to the list of potential burning entertainers.

Dec 08 2010 | Read Full Review of The Bones of Avalon

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