Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Chalice: The Glastonbury Ghost Story by Phil Rickman

The Chalice definitely not my favorite by Phil Rickman but it is still a great read. Once again Phil Rickman has readers on the Welsh border in a town named Glastonbury where there is much paranormal activity going on also coinciding with the sudden arrival of New Agers. Amongst the New Age people is Diane Ffitch. She is considered to be a person "prone to imaginative excursions" so it isn't a surprise when she returns to her home town, cloaked as a journalist, traveling with the Pagan Pilgrims. 

The reason for most of the turmoil and strife in this town is brought on by the new plans to build a road that will help connect Glastonbury to London. The New Age community does not want this road because it is believed that the Holy Grail is somewhere in this small town. In an effort to solve what's going on before the town implodes, Jaunita (local New Age bookseller) and Joe Powys search for evidence of this Holy Grail. Instead of finding evidence of a Holy Grail, they stumble upon information on it the opposite. 

Based off the other books I've read by Rickman, I knew to expect many characters. He uses the small-town creepy atmosphere, and weird residents to his advantage in most novels. I didn't feel this novel expressed what I've come to expect from him. I expect a slow build that is laced with suspense and paranormal activity. Instead I got a lot about a road, a tor, and how chubby Diane was. I could not take one more description of her being fat... SERIOUSLY not one more Chubby.

What Rickman does right in this novel is give us characters that are dimensional and interesting. Juanita was definitely my favorite character and I instantly took notice when the chapter was about her. Although the whole town had a feeling of malaise, she was the only one bold enough to get a grip on this town as well as Diane. 

Joe Powys is also a pivotal character who I believe fans of Rickman will remember from Curfew. He's a New Age novelist that is researching old materials from an uncle and stumbles upon evidence of Diane's history and the truth of the Chalice. Usher in the novel's climax which is always pretty worth the 600+ pages. 

Ultimately, Rickman does a great job at captivating his audience and holding them in suspense with The Chalice ... some of the time. Although, this isn't my favorite novel by Phil Rickman, I do look forward to reading some more of his novels. Fans of tomes with supernatural occurances located on the Welsh border might want to take a looksee at  The Chalice.  ***

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