Friday, May 30

Phil Rickman: December

When a group of psychic musicians come together to record an album at a newly converted abbey they awaken an uneasy ghost determined to have the truth of its passing known, which in turn stirs an ancient evil lurking at the very heart of the abbey. The resultant chaos forces them to scatter.
But each carries with them a legacy from that disastrous night and fourteen years later they are back to set the spirits of the place at rest. Though their powers have grown and they have uncovered a number of the abbey’s secrets it is still doubtful that they will be a match for it and now they all have so much more to lose than they did all those years ago.
Set in the same world as previous novels Crybbe and The Man in the Moss, this novel mentions characters from both yet is a sequel to neither. Being one of his earlier novels, December introduces a number of characters that feature in the later Merrily Watkins series and I enjoyed learning about these characters’ pasts. It has made me want to go back and reread the series in light of what I now know about these characters. (Though I won’t at this point because my 'to be read' pile has several new books from the series I’m itching to get to.)
If you have ever thought about reading the Merrily Watkins series but haven’t started yet, I would recommend that you read this book first. It is not at all necessary form a plot perspective, but when the characters from here start to pop up there you will have a fuller picture of who they are and what they’re doing.
I did have a little difficulty believing the development of a romance between two of the characters but then this doesn’t claim to be a romance. So while I was a bit disappointed in that I can overlook it since the rest of the story is satisfyingly eerie and has more than enough to keep a reader interested.
Rickman weaves several apparently unrelated plot threads together to form a coherent, enjoyable whole.-Lynn

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