The Bones of Avalon : Being Edited from the Most Private Documents of Dr John Dee, Astrologer and Consultant to Queen Elizabeth, Paperback

The Bones of Avalon : Being Edited from the Most Private Documents of Dr John Dee, Astrologer and Consultant to Queen Elizabeth Paperback

Part of the The John Dee Papers series

4 out of 5 (3 ratings)


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.

Now the mild, bookish Dee has been sent to Glastonbury to find the missing bones of King Arthur, whose legacy was always so important to the Tudor line.

With him - hardly the safest companion - is his friend and former student, Robert Dudley, a risk-taker, a wild card...and possibly the Queen's secret lover.

The famously mystical town is still mourning the gruesome execution of its Abbot, Richard Whiting.

But why was the Abbot really killed? What is the secret held by the monks since the Abbey was founded by Joseph of Arimathea, uncle of Christ and guardian of the Holy Grail?

The mission takes Dee to the tangled roots of English magic, into unexpected violence, necromantic darkness, the breathless stirring of first love...and the cold heart of a complex plot against Elizabeth. THE FIRST INSTALMENT IN THE JOHN DEE PAPERS


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 542 pages, map
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9781848872721



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Sometimes authors fail to deliver when they write outside their established series (the Merrily Watkins novels in Rickman's case). However, Rickman does a brilliant job as he jumps back to Elizabethan times. As with the Watkins series, there is a strong hint of supernatural mystery without falling into out an out fantasy. I will now be watching keenly for a return of either Rev. Watkins or Dr John Dee!

Review by

An interesting idea through dragged out to almost painful lengths!The basic plot revolves around a visit by Robert Dudley, "favourite" of Queen Elizabeth, and Dr John Dee, her astrological counsellor, to Glastonbury in search of any remnants of the former shrine to Arhtur, dismantled and dispersed during the reign of Henry VIII. After the religious upheavals following the break from Rome, the short Protestant-dominated reign of Edward VI and then the catholic backlash during the reign of Mary the inhabitants of Glastonbury are all wary of strangers, and reluctant to lay bare their actual beliefs. However, soon after Dudley and Dee arrive a spate of horrific murders begins, and the mysterious Nel Borrow (doctor or witch) plies her art before beignarrested and dragged off to face the Bristol Assizes. But not before she captures the heart of the previously cold John Dee.The book seems to be backed by comprehensive research of the prevailing beliefs of the time, but it didn't half drag in parts! The plot and the characters were sounds, but not substantial enough to support this lengthy book. If it had been 100 pages shorter it might have been far stronger.

Review by

I really enjoyed this book, it reminded me of the C J Sansom books about Shardlake.It was the first book that I have come across Dr John Dee, Queen Elizabeth I's astrologer, mathematician, scientist and all round guru. She sends him to Glastonbury to find the bones of King Arthur, which was meant to prove that she was in fact the rightful Queen of England. I may have missed something in the reading but I wasn't quite sure how or why! but the story was exciting and mysterious at the same time.A grizzely murder, witch hunts and some very peculiar people are met along the way! A very good read indeed.

Also by Phil Rickman   |  View all

Also in the The John Dee Papers series   |  View all