The Heresy of Dr Dee by Phil Rickman

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The Heresy of Dr Dee by Phil Rickman

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Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Excellent second part in Phil Rickman's Doctor Dee series. Atmospheric, well-plotted, and with great characters, this is a must-read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: November 2012
Publisher: Corvus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1848872769

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Warning: Spoilers for the excellent first book in this series, The Bones of Avalon in this review.

The year is 1560, and there is talk of the end of time. The rumours which are even more rife, though, are those concerning the death of Amy Dudley. Did Lord Robert Dudley have his wife killed to allow him to marry Queen Elizabeth I? Even Dudley's friend Doctor John Dee doesn't seem convinced of his innocence. Dee has other problems, though - he's told the queen that he has a shewstone, a crystal with mystical properties, and he desperately needs to find one. With Dudley accompanying him, he sets of to the Welsh borders in pursuit of one such stone, but the land of Dee's father is a dangerous place. With politics and religion causing tension, and the possible reappearance of a Welsh brigand from nearly two centuries previous, can Dee and Dudley survive?

That's one of my longest plot summaries for ages and it's not even close to summing up everything going on in this incredible book. Even better than the first in Rickman's Doctor Dee series, it's packed full of memorable characters - particularly Dee and Dudley - vivid descriptions of Tudor life, and more twist and turns than you could even begin to imagine. I really like Dee as the lead character, Rickman has made him into a truly superb, if rather reluctant, hero. He's loyal to his friends, even when he's not sure if he can fully trust them, as is the case with Dudley here. He's a man of learning but is brave enough to fight to defend himself. Meawhile Dudley, arrogant, brash and determined to marry the queen, is an excellent foil to him. Rickman also captures the atmosphere of Wales in the middle of the sixteenth century really well.

This is one of my favourite historical series for a long time and I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking for a very exciting read.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is another excellent Tudor tale, while for a lesser-known book on the time then the non-fiction The Sorcerer's Tale: Faith and Fraud in Tudor England by Alec Ryrie is highly recommended.

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