Phil Rickman – The Heresy of Dr. Dee

81. The Heresy of Dr. Dee by Phil Rickman (2012)
The John Dee Papers Series Book 2
Length: 446 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Started: 26 August 2014
Finished: 29 August 2014
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 16 August 2014
Why do I have it? I like historical mysteries and Phil Rickman is a new author for me.

In this second book of the acclaimed historical series featuring Dr. John Dee – Queen Elizabeth’s personal astrologer, and esteemed expert on matters of the occult – Tudor court intrigue, murder and the practice of the dark arts abound. England during the sixteenth century is rife with talk of the end-times…and the dead are rising. And John Dee must discover if one of his closest friends may have had sufficient motive to commit murder. However, devious politics and small-town corruption; as much as distorted religion and a sense of brooding superstition, leave Dr. Dee and his traveling companions isolated in the land of his father. 

At the end of the sunless summer of 1560, dark rumor and base innuendo shrouds the death of the one woman who stands between Lord Robert Dudley and marriage to the young Queen Elizabeth. Did Lord Dudley’s wife, Amy, die from an accidental fall in a deserted house, or was it actually an act of calculated murder? Even Dr. John Dee, royal astrologer and adviser on the Hidden, as well as one of Lord Dudley’s oldest friends, is uncertain. Then a rash promise to the Queen sends him to his family’s old home on the Welsh border on a quest to find the Wigmore Shewstone, a crystal credited with supernatural properties.

Traveling with Dr. Dee is Robert Dudley, perhaps the most hated man in England. They travel with a judge sent from London to try a sinister Welsh brigand with a legacy dating back to the time of the Battle of Bryn Glas. This was a battle in which close to one thousand Englishmen died at the hands of the Welsh. According to legend, after the battle many of the bodies were obscenely mutilated. Now, on this same haunted hill, another dead man has been found, similarly slashed. 

In my opinion, this plot was certainly very intriguing; the story was well-written and strongly researched, and I’m pleased to have read it for that reason. This book is very historically accurate, and the age-old enmity between the Welsh and the English is obvious. If you are interested in learning more about Wales, then this is definitely the book to read.

I found that this book was definitely heavy reading – there were just so many characters to keep straight, and so many parts that those characters played in the mystery – that I had trouble remembering everything. This is definitely not a ‘two-minute’ reading style mystery – it is intricate and involved – and I found that I had to concentrate inordinately hard on it as I read this book. I think I’ve read some books by this author in the past, although I can’t remember which ones. I would give The Heresy of Dr. Dee a B+! In my opinion, while this was certainly not my favorite book, it was still well worth reading.

B+! – (89-94%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

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