The Bones of Avalon, Hardback Book

The Bones of Avalon Hardback

Part of the The John Dee Papers series

4.5 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.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9781848872707



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

As a huge fan of Rickman's Merrily Watkins series I was curious to see how he would tackle writing historical fiction and, as it turns out, he writes it very well indeed. Of course the subject matter is perfect for Rickman, John Dee, Elizabeth I's astrologer, is dispatched to Glastonbury, alongside the Queen's favourite Robert Dudley, to discover the fate of King Arthur's bones which have been missing since the Dissolution. The Glastonbury Dee encounters is a town full of fear and superstition, the townsfolk still reeling from the violence of the Dissolution and the execution of the Abbot and maybe the centre of a plot against the Queen. A violent and sacrilegious murder is committed, which leads Dee into a multitude of new experiences. Wonderful.

Review by

Riveting historical mystery has Dr. John Dee travelling to Glastonbury on a secret mission for Elizabeth I. The author's thorough research is evident, the characters are sympathetic and the action is full of Renaissance espionage..

Review by

I can't overstate how much I love Phil Rickman, and this book was a special treat. I'm a rabid fan of Rickman's style and interests (not to mention his religious politics), not only through the Merrily Watkins series but through his older, more mainstream horror novels as well. I also happen to be a fan of historical religious mysteries--in the vein of "The Name of the Rose," for instance, and of the Arthurian legend. "The Bones of Avalon" is a combination of all three. Though it lacks the depth and the challenge of "The Name of the Rose," and I think it lacks the immediacy of the Merrily Watkins series, what it loses in one it makes up for in the other. I read it on the Kindle, and, in spite of the fact that it's a heavily-researched piece set in the countryside of Elizabethan England, I had no idea how long it was until I looked it up on LibraryThing. I flew through it in less than a week.

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