Late December and the river is rising. The Herefordshire village of Ledwardine has not been flooded in living memory but in these days of climate change nothing is certain. Merrily Watkins, parish priest and diocesan exorcist, has learned that one of the incomers is an author who is a figure of hate for religious fundamentalists. Meanwhile, the Hereford police make a gruesome discovery linked to the Dinedor Serpent, a unique prehistoric monument. In Ledwardine itself, buried Bronze Age stones have been unearthed. Overnight, the village is isolated in the floods, cut off with a killer inside. As the waters rise, shocking savagery paralyses an ancient community untangling its own history against the swirling uncertainty of the future.
©2008 Phil Rickman (P)2009 Isis Publishing Ltd
I very much enjoy Rickman's skill in creating an intriguing (but grisly!) murder mystery and using that setting as a vehicle for exploring the boundaries between rationalism and mysticism and the perils of fundamentalism whether of the religious or materialistic variety. His generous view of the open-ended potentialities inherent in the Christian and other faith traditions lend a thought-provoking philosophical tone to his books without being too heavy-handed. We are never far from the central story--a murder investigation arising from the discovery of a decapitated head suspended in the window of an ancient chapel.
I have listened to a number of books in this series, although not in order (probably helpful, but not necessary). I particularly enjoyed this selection.
Retired "Okie" librarian & happy to have found Audible for good stories & staying in touch with new authors & books.
This is a good mystery enriched with many characters & subjects but be advised & read the "Merrily Watkins" series books by Rickman in reading order. This is not what I did but wish I had. The books are not yet identified as a series on Audible. You may refer to Rickman's author's page on Amazon.com for the correct order. This was my first encounter with Rickman's books but won't be my last.
"To Dream of the Dead" is a sign of rain & the weather is character in this book. The book is #10 in the series & is complicated with many characters & details of local history, geography, weather, & current political/social interests in England. It is beyond good fiction, it is involving. Many contrasts are involved in the plot, such as between Christianity & other beliefs like paganism & atheism and between traditional & modern police work. It is a detective, amateur sleuth (a female Anglican priest), & supernatural murder mystery. It took awhile for me to catch up to the story all the while feeling a like an outsider. I put some of my confusion down to the narration which I found at times monotone but acceptable. The effort to stay with it was worth the trouble as the story is a well written adult themed but not explicitly graphic novel.
After finishing the book, I did some research on the author, Phil Rickman. I discovered he has quite a following. Some interesting examples of his fans' attentions are; a discussion group on yahoo, a link on his author page to a tour of places in the Merrily Watkins series, & folk music for sale & sung by a book character. All the attention may be deserved as I enjoyed the mysteries & intellectual questions posed in "To Dream of the Dead". I may start back at the first or switch to his Middle Ages series but I look forward to experiencing more of Rickman's books.
Love Rickman, this series is terrific, complex and compelling, and Emma Powell's reading pulls you in fast and keeps you listening. Wish they would get the whole series!!!
I love the Merrily Watkins series by Phil Rickman and I've been waiting for ages for another one to be
added to the Audible list. It was not a disappointment. I was back in Ledwardine again. The characters are
well drawn, the description of place vivid, and the plot is always interesting. As well, the series is
beautifully read by Emma Powell.
the merrily watkins series by phil rickman are books that you want to go back to time and time again. The characters become like friends and are so well drawn you end up wanting to visit the ficticious village of ledwardine to be a part of each story. Each book in the series is a stand alone novel but to see the characters go through their individual changes is what makes this series so special especially as in to dream of the dead we get to hear a short segment of lol robinson in concert a nice touch as phil rickman has brought this character to life with two very wonderful albums using haunting lyrics taken directly from the stories.
Emma powell is brilliant as the narrator and i would recommend them to anyone. so come on audible lets have the rest of the series
"Annie Howe is a schemer in more ways than one"
I'm not sure why Phil Rickman has such a low opinion of those bastions of rural society - county councillor... But he gets to behead one. Celebrity archaeologists digging up Ledwardine's standing stones, Irene turns up to spend Christmas with Jane, Lol still gigging & Shirley is a continued thorn in Merrily's side. Andy Mumford makes a cameo and of course Gomer is around to literally stem the floods. And Annie Howe....bit of a shocker😉
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