- Publisher: Quercus Publishing Plc
- Format: Paperback | 352 pages
- Dimensions: 110mm x 172mm x 40mm | 281g
- Publication date: 1 January 2009
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 1847243959
- ISBN 13: 9781847243959
- Sales rank: 120,558
The Master House, close to the Welsh border, is medieval and slowly falling into ruins. Now the house and its surrounding land have been sold to the Duchy of Cornwall. But the Duchy's plans to renovate the house and its outbuildings are frustrated when the specialist builder refuses to work there. 'This is a place,' he tells the Prince's land-steward, 'that doesn't want to be restored.' Directed by the Bishop of Hereford to investigate, deliverance consultant Merrily Watkins discovers ancient connections between the house and the nearby church, built by the Knights Templar whose shadow still envelopes isolated Garway Hill and its scattered communities. Why did all the local inns have astrological names? What deep history lies behind the vicious feud between two local families? And what happened here to intimidate even the great Edwardian ghost-story writer M R James? When Merrily learns that she - and even her daughter, Jane - are under surveillance by the security services, she's ready to quit. But a sudden death changes everything, and she returns to Garway to uncover fibres of fear and hatred stitched into history and now insidiously twisted in the corridors - and the cloisters - of power.
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Phil Rickman lives on the Welsh border where he writes and presents the book programme Phil the Shelf on BBC Radio Wales. He is the author of seven Merrily Watkins' Mysteries, introducing the Reverend in The Wine of Angels, and charting her career as the diocesan exorcist with Midwinter of the Spirit, A Crown of Lights, The Cure of Souls, The Lamp of the Wicked, The Prayer of the Night Shepherd, The Smile of a Ghost and The Remains of an Altar.
Compassionate, original and sharply contemporary. Rickman's crime series is one of the best around - Spectator 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 I thoroughly recommend both these books ... They would make a solid Christmassy read, appropriate to the season ... Rickman's work has a satisfying refusal to find easy answers or to take sides in spiritual debates. The destabilizing combination of death and religion is fascinatingly observed in this series. What T.S.Eliot did for Canterbury Cathedral, Rickman does for Hereford - Shotsmag on Fabric of Sin and To Dream of the Dead.
Prince Charles's interests antagonize Masons, former hippies and an ultra-secret cadre devoted to Knights Templar history.The Duchy of Cornwall has purchased the Garway Master House and environs for Prince Charles and plans to turn it into a major craft center snuggled on the border between England and Wales. Then, strange happenings bring Merrily Watkins, Deliverance Coordinator for the Church of England. When two people die, Merrily is advised to resolve matters before the upcoming Friday the 13th anniversary of Jacques de Molay's 1307 torture and demise. The antagonistic history of the church and the Knights Templar is echoed by the warring Gwilym and Newton families and the current English bishop and archdeacon's ties to the Masonic order. In addition, Welsh nationalists may be plotting to reseat one of their own as Prince of Wales. A local vicar, a squire and a peer of the realm, formerly hippies in residence at the Master House, will mislead Merrily, her musician lover Lol and her daughter Jane before there's a discovery and a fog-shrouded collision near an herbalist's cottage.Rickman (The Remains of an Altar, 2007, etc.), a historian of the first order, neatly segues between church policies of today and seven centuries ago. Be prepared to read slowly, maybe even take notes. (Kirkus Reviews)