A man's body is found below a waterfall. It looks like suicide or an accidental drowning – until DI Frannie Bliss enters the dead man's home. What he finds there sends him to Merrily Watkins, the Diocese of Hereford's official advisor on the paranormal.
It's nearly 40 years since Hay was declared an independent state by its self-styled king. A development seen at the time as a joke, a publicity scam. But behind this pastiche a dark design was taking shape, creating a hidden history of murder and ritual-magic, the relics of which are only now becoming horribly visible. It's a situation that will take Merrily Watkins – alone for the first time in years – to the edge of madness.
©2013 Phil Rickman (P)2014 Isis Publishing Ltd
TRYING to listen to the Merrily Watkins books. They're okay; entertaining stories written in Rickman's easygoing 'you can almost smell the instant coffee' style but the narrative....OH! the narrative!
I could not hear a full third of this narrative.
I've listened to these books on three different devices over the past few years and this happens with no other audible books so it's not a technical problem. My husband is from the West country and some of my best friends are Welsh, so nothing is lost in translation.
It's the narrative choices; in all of the Merrily Watkins books narrator Emma Powell uses hushed tones, lowered tones and whispering way too much. In the Magus of Hay, she seemed to use these techniques at every critical point. I actually gave up; listening to the end, but no longer rewinding every five minutes so that I still don't understand how some mysteries were resolved.
Rickman does like to layer his Merrily mysteries- physical, metaphysical and political intrigue abounds. The Magus of Hay has less that the usual share of church politics (my favorite subplot), but seems to be gearing up for a boatload of church gender politics in the next installment. The greatest mystery I encountered in The Magus of Hay was 'what was Rickman's agenda?'. I couldn't get past the feeling that the unusually (for Rickman) contrived plot and characters were all related to the UK literary scene and the whole book was an inside joke I didn't understand.
Maybe I'm way off base- maybe it's that I couldn't hear it. I wish we had comments enabled so someone could tell me.
I do have something to add- Ms Powell is a good, solid narrator. These book productions are directed and edited. It is up to the people who vet the productions by listening to them to decide what works and what doesn't. They must listen in a soundbooth with giant noise cancelling headphones and zero ambient sound. That's not possible in the real world.
Another masterpiece by Phil Rickman- if you love a layered plot, hints towards the mystic, references to ritual magic and characters with ....well character...then this is the book for you...take care though it's addictive....
"A darker twist to the series"
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. A complex weaving of characters, new and familiar, showing sharp insights into complex human nature. I very much look forward to the next developments.
Back to the roots of Merrily
Daughter on Gap Year
Merrill telling us Daughter on gap year
I felt that I needed to listen to all of the Merrily books, I have always enjoyed the Merrily book with the mixture or religion, mysticism. However the past two books I have been becoming increasingly annoyed with Merrily's daughter, her behaviour and un-logical ranting. I enjoyed this book, it had the twists and turns of the earlier books, really enjoyed it
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