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The Remains of an Altar | [Phil Rickman]

The Remains of an Altar

Merrily Watkins, parish priest, single mother, and Deliverance Consultant, heads for the Malvern Hills to investigate an alleged paranormal dimension to a spate of road accidents. A revamped local pub has injected the valley with a shattering surge of inner-city nightlife and drugs. When a dealer is found savagely murdered below the great earthen hillfort of Herefordshire Beacon, police wonder if it is a gangland disposal, a cry of outrage or something more sinister.
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Publisher's Summary

Merrily Watkins, parish priest, single mother, and Deliverance Consultant, heads for the Malvern Hills to investigate an alleged paranormal dimension to a spate of road accidents. A revamped local pub has injected the valley with a shattering surge of inner-city nightlife and drugs. When a dealer is found savagely murdered below the great earthen hillfort of Herefordshire Beacon, police wonder if it is a gangland disposal, a cry of outrage - or something more sinister. Merrily and the police follow separate paths towards the truth until, on a night of frenzied violence, in a place at the centre of an ancient mystery, the final, shocking connections are made.

©2006 Phil Rickman; (P)2007 Isis Publishing Ltd

What the Critics Say

"First rate. A passionate, flawed modern woman, every bit as concerned with the intricacies of crime as with demons that go bump in the night." (Daily Mail)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (87 )
5 star
 (35)
4 star
 (23)
3 star
 (16)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (4)
Overall
4.1 (36 )
5 star
 (17)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.4 (33 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Shaliali 12-05-08
    Shaliali 12-05-08 Member Since 2007

    I love the BBC and British mysteries, but my tastes are very eclectic. I live with my husband and menagerie of rescued cats and dogs.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    210
    ratings
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    437
    35
    FOLLOWERS
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    8
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing"

    I have listened to the other two Rickman titles narrated by Emma Powell and loved them. They were so absorbing from the beginning that I couldn't wait to find more time to listen. This one started out like that, and Ms Powell does her usual great job of characterizing voices, but this novel just wanders around aimlessly. None of the novels are heavy on the supernatural, but this one really doesn't focus on it at all. There is some suspicion of supernatural activity, but no more than one might find in any novel since it is never pursued. I was about to write a sentence about what this novel is mainly about, only to find out that I don't really know. The most interesting tangent is that dealing with ley lines, or as Jane prefers, Leys. But that storyline is abandoned for long periods.

    Several times, I thought the book was over, only to look and find out that there were still several hours remaining. At this point, I have a bit over two hours left, I and just don't care anymore. I doubt that I will finish in spite of how much I love listening to Ms Powell read.

    If you enjoy the Rickman novels, do yourself a favor and skip this one. It has soured me on him for a while.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meagan vR Ohio 01-08-11
    Meagan vR Ohio 01-08-11 Member Since 2010

    I collect spores, molds, and fungus.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    37
    25
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    1
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    Overall
    "Pretty boring"

    I tried to give this book a chance and listened well into the second half. It's really boring and nothing is really happening so I'm just giving up. These characters are just sort of wandering around this town trying to gather information about this possibly paranormal event but that's about it. Really a very boring book and only nominally paranormal. It's mostly about the politics of a small town rather than anything supernatural. Also, the narrator does a TERRIBLE American accent.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lesley West Kempsey, Australia 04-07-09
    Lesley West Kempsey, Australia 04-07-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    100
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    243
    42
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    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "Entertaining"

    I purchased this after listening to 'Cure of Souls' by the same author. I preferred my first purchase to 'Remains of an Altar'. 'Remains' was well padded and there were times I just wanted to say 'oh get on with it... get to the point'. Not a bad listen, entertaining in fact, but, predictable and not as fast and thought provoking as 'Cure'. The reader for 'Remains' did a much better job than she did for 'Cure' so I guess what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DMHVetSurveyor Western Wisconsin 08-02-07
    DMHVetSurveyor Western Wisconsin 08-02-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    544
    ratings
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    224
    93
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    33
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    Overall
    "Different but good!"

    I was pleasantly surprised at how well written this was. Interesting storyline and colorful characters. Keeps you interested and satisfying ending. Solid 4 stars, not 5. Expect great things from the author in the future. Listen and Enjoy!

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Rahon New Orleans 05-01-14
    Lisa Rahon New Orleans 05-01-14 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "counldn't finish listening"
    What would have made The Remains of an Altar better?

    The voice of the murderer guy was so annoying I couldn't listen to the last 5th of the book.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Phil Rickman again?

    yes


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    some of the voices she does for men sound gross and flemmy.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine Potsdam, NY, United States 09-21-09
    Catherine Potsdam, NY, United States 09-21-09 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    59
    10
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    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Modern tale of paranormal"

    I loved this one. A good read that kept me involved and listening... I feel that a sign of a good writer and story is when you as the reader simply want to throttle one of their characters. I needed to remind myself every so often that the character in question was simply that... a character... not a real person. If you like British series like Midsommer Murders, then you may very well like this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robyn North Ryde, Australia 11-23-08
    Robyn North Ryde, Australia 11-23-08 Member Since 2005
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    1
    Overall
    "Another great listen"

    I first met Merrily Watkins through these audio books and have enjoyed listening to the stories going to and from work. I particularly enjoy the development of the main characters, Merrily and Jane, and I love the descriptions of the Hertfordshire countryside. The narrator does admirably with the variety of accents required to present these characters well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JoyceT 03-08-08
    JoyceT 03-08-08

    nachtzoen

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    65
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Burns like a low flame"

    Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins series are wonderful
    stories, and this one is no exception. Slow to start,
    but has lots of character development and just enough
    mystery, ethical dilemmas and supernatural undertones to be interesting yet completely believable. Emma Powell does a brilliant job at voice characterizations, far better than the other
    narrator of the series available here on Audible. I was so impressed after hearing this and Midwinter of the Spirit, I bought the whole series. I hope Audible will have more of this series available, especially if read by Emma Powell.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lehua Volcano, HI, USA 04-18-08
    Lehua Volcano, HI, USA 04-18-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    383
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    274
    60
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    9
    2
    Overall
    "Not Quite"

    The topic is interesting, but it gets crushed by all the meandering. I found it quite disjointed.

    AUDIO: This reader is impossible to understand. Her voice has a furry, mushy quality. And she will pronounce some words differently each time she uses them, even when speaking from the same character. For example, her boyfriend is Law, Lor, Lahl, Lah, Lau, and Loh and I don't know what all else. I still have no idea which is right, if any. She also lacks that talent to distinguish between the speaker's thinking vs. her out-loud speaking.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-9 of 9 results
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  • Allan
    glasgowUnited Kingdom
    9/5/07
    Overall
    "Land of Dope and Gory"

    ?The Remains of an Altar' is the eighth in the Merrily Watkins series, and finds our favourite Vicar investigating ghostly sightings of the composer, Elgar. Things become complicated by the ritual slaying of a local drugs dealer and daughter Jane imposes her own brand of chaos into the mix (with a helping hand from Gomer) by taking on the council to prevent an ancient Ley (line) from being destroyed. As always, Rickman?s writing is eerily atmospheric and has a distinct `sense of place' - and traces of the dark folklore that once served him so well can still be found embedded deep in the background static of the novel. This is a great book, full of twists and unexpected drops into darkness - peppered throughout with sharp humour and self effacing irony.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • monica
    Ireland
    4/11/13
    Overall
    "The Remains of an Altar"

    I have tried many times to listen to this book but it fails to hold my attention

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-2 of 2 results

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