Rickman, Phil - 'The Bones of Avalon'
To put it simply, this book is amazing and should be placed high on your wish list for this summer's reading. Beautifully crafted and fantastically written, the story is gripping right from the start and becomes even more so when tensions start to rise.
The main character, Dr John Dee, is a misunderstood scientist and mathematician in Elizabethan England. He advises the Queen on a number of different matters and has been dubbed her 'conjuror' by the uneducated masses. At a time when gifted herbalists and astrologers were being labeled as witches in the UK, John is revered in Europe but treads a fine line in his native country - and has already been rescued from being burnt at the stake.
John is an extremely likeable character: bookish, quiet, awkward and honest, and it was very pleasant indeed to discover that, not only is he a real person but aspects of this novel are based on real events. In THE BONES OF AVALON, John is sent to Glastonbury, with his good friend and former student Robert Dudley, to search for the bones of King Arthur. Newly crowned Elizabeth is superstitious and vulnerable. She believes that bringing Arthur's remains to London and having them entombed in glory will ensure her safety - but others have a different plan.
During his undercover mission John uncovers a plot to assassinate the Queen and it is a race to keep her safe. He also comes face to face with lies, murder, and betrayal but manages to experience first love at the same time. This aspect of the storyline is so sweet it endears him to the reader even further.
I can't praise Phil Rickman highly enough for this beautiful book. His accuracy and attention to detail are superb and the book is a definite must-read for all fans of historical crime fiction.
Amanda Gillies, Scotland