- Phil Rickman
Phil Rickman is a British author best known for writing
supernaturaland mystery novels, often based on conflicting forces of paganismand other religions.
Rickman was born in
Lancashirein northern England. He worked as a journalist for BBC World Service TVand BBC Radio 4. His first novel, Candlenight, won critical acclaim and gained Rickman the title of Britain's next great horror writer. He followed up with four more standalone novels, then began the Merrily Watkinsseries. The Merrily Watkins books, about a down-to-earth female priest of the Church of Englandemployed as an exorcist, created a distinct new genre of crime thrillers with supernatural and spiritual causes. He occasionally writes under the pseudonym Will Kingdom. Rickman is married and lives on the Welsh borders, and currently has a radio show on BBC Radio Walesabout books, "Phil the Shelf".
Rickman's novels often involve
Celtic mythology, native earthworks(especially stone circles), and oppositions of various spiritual forces. Characters often carry over from one novel to the next, usually as minor characters in one or more novels and major characters in another. Novels generally revolve around small towns and their spiritual legacies, often interwoven with current political issues. Most of his novels address the tensions between "locals," the longtime residents of rural areas, and "incomers" who have recently moved to the area; these conflicts have a socio-economic dimension reminiscent of gentrification, but in Rickman's hands they often assume a supernatural or spiritual aspect as well. Music is also an important theme in many of his books, from fictional bands to Nick Drake.
The Early Novels
"Candlenight" is set in the strangely idyllic Welsh village Y Groes and in the gritty, bleak town of Pontmeurig (based, says Rickman, on "Bettws Cedewain, near Newtown in
Powys" and on "Llandovery in Carmarthenshire" respectively [http://www.philrickman.co.uk/page4.html] ). In Pontmeurig, English "incomers" face hostility; yet in nearby Y Groes, the English couple Giles and Claire are welcomed with utter serenity -- and find that they are the only "incomers" in the entire village.
*Rickman draws on various aspects of Welsh
folklore, including the " Gwrach y Rhibyn" (witch of Rhibin), the Bird of Death, the "toili" (phantom funeral), and the "Canwyll Gorff" (corpse-candle) which gives the book its title.
"Crybbe", published as "Curfew" in the United States, concerns the arrival of
New Ageenthusiasts in the eponymous Welsh border village of Crybbe. Crybbe is a fictional town, but Rickman suggests that curious readers visit "Knighton and Presteigne in Powys, Clun and Bishop's Castle in south-west Shropshire. It isn't really any of them, but you'll get the idea." Rickman also concedes that Stephen King's " Salem's Lot" was an influence on "Crybbe". [http://www.philrickman.co.uk/page5.html] This novel introduces Joe Powys, who also appears in Rickman's novel "Chalice", and Gomer Parry, a regular in the Merrily Watkins novels.
*The novel features
dowsing, ley lines, and the magical experiments of John Dee, as well as a version of the supernatural black dog(sometimes called the Gwyllgi) which appears in much British and even American folklore.
The Merrily Watkins Novels
"The Wine of Angels" introduces Merrily Watkins, the new -- and female -- parish priest for the town of Ledwardine, in
Herefordshire, as well as her bright, sarcastic daughter Jane, their formidable neighbor Lucy Devenish, and the withdrawn musician Lol Robinson.
*Three notable influences on this novel are Ella Mary Leather's "Folklore of Herefordshire", the poetry of
Thomas Traherne, and the music of Nick Drake.
In "Midwinter of the Spirit" Merrily becomes the official exorcist for the diocese of
Hereford; although she continues to be the parish priest of Ledwardine, she finds herself spending a lot of time in Hereford, particularly at Hereford Cathedral, in the course of her new -- and terrifying -- duties.
In "A Crown of Lights", Merrily tries to negotiate a conflict between
Neopagansand charismatic Christians which erupts in Old Hindwell, a village near Radnor Forest.
*The title refers to the Neopagans' planned celebration of
"The Cure of Souls" features an apparently haunted hop-kiln in Knight's Frome, a village on the
River Fromein the Frome Valley. Prof Levin and Simon St. John, characters from Rickman's novel "December", both appear.
*This novel draws on |Roma folklore, including the legend of the mulo.
"The Lamp of the Wicked" concerns murders surrounding the village of Underhowle, near
Ross-on-Wye, close to the border of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. Moira Cairns, a character from Rickman's "December" and "The Man in the Moss", appears.
*Phil Rickman calls this "the Cromwell Street novel" [http://www.philrickman.co.uk/page13.html] ; it also draws somewhat on the practices of
Aleister Crowley, including sex magic, and discusses the use of sigils.
In "The Prayer of the Night Shepherd" Merrily's daughter Jane is working at Stanner Hall, a hotel on the English-Welsh border (near the village of Kington) which may or may not have been the model for
Arthur Conan Doyle's Baskerville Hall.
"The Smile of a Ghost" takes place not in Herefordshire, but in
Ludlow, a town in Shropshire; the mayor of Ludlow requests Merrily's help after two suicides occur in the reputedly haunted Ludlow Castle.
"Remains of an Altar", another Merrily Watkins novel, is based around the
Malvern Hillsarea of Herefordshire/Worcestershire.
Cast of characters
Apart from Merrily Watkins, numerous characters appear in multiple books.
*Merrily Watkins - female protagonist,
Anglicanpriest and Deliverance Consultant.
*Jane Watkins - Merrily's fiercely intelligent and strong-willed teenage daughter, navigating her way through growing up as the Vicar's child along with the usual pains of love and teenage angst
*Lol Robinson - sometime love interest of Merrily, singer songwriter with a scarred past
*Gomer Parry - a tenderly-drawn portrait of a local man who would otherwise have been lost in himself in encroaching old age, but who has become Merrily's confidante and protector of "the little Vicar" and Jane. When Gomer's glasses start to shine, something interesting is always about to happen...
*Danny Thomas - ex-musician and now local handyman.
*Annie Howe - An ambitious police officer with a fast track career, who has little sympathy for supernatural explanations or Merrily's interference
*Frannie Bliss - A more sympathetic, but slightly lower-ranked, police officer
*Andy Mumford - Down to earth polcie sergeant
*Sophie - Formidably efficient secretary at the Bishop's Palace
*Bernie Dunmore - The bishop in charge of Merily in the later books - a man close to retirement who probably wouldn't have been promoted to bishop had an unexpected vacancy not needed filling as a result of an early book's events
*Prof Levin - legend of the music industry, now running a recording studio in the border country and intent on resurrecting Lol's career
*Simon St. John -
Nick Drake- real-life British singer-songwriter of the 60s and 70s, dead at the age of 26, whose influence permeates the novels so greatly that his presence is felt almost as a living character
Crybbe(US Curfew), 1993
The Man in the Moss, 1994
The Chalice, 1997
The Merrily Watkins books
The Wine of Angels, 1998
Midwinter of the Spirit, 1999
A Crown of Lights, 2001
The Cure of Souls, 2001
The Lamp of the Wicked, 2002
The Prayer of the Night Shepherd, 2004
The Smile of a Ghost, 2005
Remains of an Altar, 2006
The Fabric of Sin, 2007
To Dream of the Dead, 2008
As Will Kingdom
The Cold Calling, 1998
Mean Spirit, 2001
As Thom Madley
Marco's Pendulum, 2006
Marco and the Blade of Night, 2007
* [http://www.philrickman.co.uk Official Website]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/radiowales/shows/philtheshelf.shtml Phil the Shelf official website]
* [http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/nonfiction/intrick.htm Interview from The New Writer, September 1997]
* [http://www.counterculture.co.uk/interview/phil-rickman.html Interview with counterculture]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/mid/sites/bookshelf/pages/phil_rickman.shtml Interview with BBC]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Rickman — may refer to:* 3692 Rickman, a main belt asteroid * Dennis Rickman, a fictional character in the soap opera EastEnders * Rickman Motorcycles, a defunct motor vehicle manufacturer of the United Kingdom * Sharon Rickman, a fictional character in… … Wikipedia
Phil Mitchell — Infobox EastEnders character 2 character name=Phil Mitchell actor name=Steve McFadden years=1990–2003, 2005 mdash; first=20 February 1990 classification=Present; regular dob=19 January 1961 introducer=Michael Ferguson (1990) Kate Harwood (2005)… … Wikipedia
Dennis Rickman — EastEnders character Portrayed by Nigel Harman Created by Louise Berridge Duration 2003–05 First … Wikipedia
Sharon Rickman — ] and one of life s survivors , who has had many moments of emotional turmoil .Character developmentAn early controversial storyline involving Sharon revolved around her desire to take contraceptive pills in order to persuade Kelvin Carpenter to… … Wikipedia
Alan Rickman — à l avant première de Harry Potter et les Reliques de la Mort à New York en 2011 Données clés Nom de n … Wikipédia en Français
Gloomy Sunday — (from Hungarian Szomorú vasárnap , IPA2| somoruː vɒʃarnɒp) is a song written by László Jávor and set to music in 1933 by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezső Seress, in which the singer mourns the untimely death of a lover and contemplates… … Wikipedia
Sheela na Gig — Sheela na Gigs (or Sheela na Gigs) are figurative carvings of naked women displaying an exaggerated vulva. They are found on churches, castles and other buildings, particularly in Ireland and Britain, sometimes together with male figures. One of… … Wikipedia
1993 in Wales — This article is about the particular significance of the year 1993 to Wales and its people.Incumbents*Prince of Wales Charles, Prince of Wales *Princess of Wales Diana, Princess of Wales *Secretary of State for Wales John Redwood *Archbishop of… … Wikipedia
1991 in Wales — This article is about the particular significance of the year 1991 to Wales and its people.Incumbents*Prince of Wales Charles, Prince of Wales *Princess of Wales Diana, Princess of Wales *Secretary of State for Wales David Hunt *Archbishop of… … Wikipedia
December (disambiguation) — December may refer to: December, the twelfth and last month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days December (South Korean group), a Korean ballad/pop singing duo December (George Winston … Wikipedia