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The Lamp of the Wicked [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Phil Rickman , Emma Powell
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
Price: 80.21 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Oct 2006
The fifth mystery featuring Merrily Watkins. As Electricity pylons now mark the old Roman road from Gloucester to Monmouth. Midway along it is the unlovely village of Underhowle, confronting a new prosperity...but also home to a man the police have identified as the killer of several young women. But for Merrily Watkins, this truth might never have emerged -- but is that the whole truth? For, as the police hunt for more bodies, Merrily is increasingly worried that the detective in charge might have become blinkered by ambition. Meanwhile, Merrily has more personal problems: like the anonymous phone calls...the candles and incense left burning in her church...not to mention the alleged angelic visitations on which many will heap scorn. It is her musician boyfriend Lol who follows an unexpected path into the mind of the confessed murderer, while Merrily herself must quell revulsion in scrubbing away the psychic stain left by a dead monster.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books; Unabridged edition (1 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753126257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753126257
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 18.8 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,307,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Phil Rickman is the author of the internationally-acclaimed novels featuring Merrily Watkins, rural diocesan exorcist, and a new series about the Elizabethan astrologer John Dee. His early horror novels were praised by Stephen King but - determined to avoid any hint of fantasy - he now concentrates on realistic crime with a subtle element of the paranormal. Phil is fascinated by ancient places, loves rock and folk music and, with guitarist and composer Allan Watson, writes songs for the CDs linked to his novels.

Product Description


There are shades of the gruesome murders of young women by Fred and Rose West in Cromwell Street, Gloucester, in this fourth outing for Reverend Merrily Watkins, Welsh village vicar and Deliverance Consultant (formerly exorcist) after becoming involved in a dispute between an elderly plant hire operator who accuses a spivvy young rival of starting a fire in his yard in which his nephew dies. The young man is later identified as the killer of several young women. But has the whole truth been fully uncovered? Merrily receives anonymous phone calls; candles and incense are left burning in her church and there are alleged angelic visitations on which many will heap scorn. Rickman goes from strength to strength in this beguiling, highly satisfying mix of murder and the occult. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The village of Underhowle was on the brink of a new prosperity after half a century of decay, but now it seems destined for notoriety as the home of a serial killer. D.I. Francis Bliss, of Hereford CID, is convinced he knows where the bodies are buried, but diocesan Deliverance consultant Merrily Watkins - called in to conduct a controversial funeral - wonders if Bliss isn't blinkered by personal ambition. And are the killings in Underhowle really linked to possibly the most sickening mass-murders in British criminal history? Meanwhile, Merrily has more intimate problems: the need for discretion over her new relationship with the musician Lol Robinson; and the alleged angelic visitations on which many heap scorn. But it is Lol who follows an unexpected path into the mind of the confessed murderer, while Merrily tries to quell her own revulsion in an effort to scrub away the psychic stain left by a dead monster. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing read 4 May 2005
"The Lamp of the Wicked" is another outstanding book in the Merrily Watkins series. Fot those who are new to the series, Merrily Watkins is the parish priest of Ledwardine and also the Deliverance Consultant for Hereford.
Rickman gives all the characters very clear voices, and whilst he is dealing with the possibility of serial killings he manages to keep control of the plot. This book is probably the darkest of the series so far - it's complex story and the usual twists are well executed.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rickman's best yet 10 April 2003
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm a long-term Rickman fan and the arrival of a new Merrily Watkins mystery is a big event for me. Life gets suspended till I've finished the book though in with the excitement there's always a lurking fear that this time he won't deliver... But I reckon this is his most powerful novel yet.

If you haven't read them yet, the books have many things to offer; great characters, dialogue-to-die-for, truly suspenseful plotting, an ironic wit, a real earthy sense of evil, superb sense of place, and always a resolution that satisfies on several levels while still leaving a a few questions to chew on.

This latest novel, which takes a very famous crime case as its basis, is no exception. The pressure builds from the beginning all the way to the end with no let up and Rickman's mix of the infamous and the fictional gives a heightened sense of reality which leaves disbelief suspended from the ceiling. Masterly.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Rickman book I couldn't put down! 24 April 2003
By Kay Bee
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Eagerly awaited by me (as a bit of a Phil Rickman fan), The Lamp of the Wicked - the fifth novel featuring the Reverend Merrily (exorcist and chain smoker) - did not disappoint. Good old Gomer Parry Planthire is here, along with Lol, and other familiar characters. Fans of December and The Man in the Moss will be delighted to find Moira Cairns here in one of the sub-plots. The increasingly angst-ridden Jane (Merrily's daughter) shows just how convincing Phil Rickman's characterisation is. These people - with their flaws, foibles and self-doubts are extremely believable, as are the new characters that turn up.
However, this book (the fourth so-called 'spiritual procedural') felt significantly darker than previous Merrily books and Rickman doesn't spare your emotions in dealing out cruel twists to characters you find you have become surprisingly attached to over time. Without revealing too much of the plot, there are connections made to some very dark real-life goings-on in the same part of the world.
There are a couple of things I have come to admire in this author's work: the skilful way he develops the plot through short insights into the thoughts of the main characters; the way contentious issues are convincingly voiced through a character (in this case the ill-effects of electricity pylons) without breaking the narrative flow; the convincing dialogue and characterisation.
I don't often re-read novels (in fact, I can only think of about 4 I have ever re-read), but I have recently embarked on a big re-read of the other books that feature Merrily Watkins (The Wine of Angels, Midwinter of the Spirit, A Crown of Lights, The Cure of Souls) and am finding them just as captivating second time around.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Merrily We Go............ 22 April 2003
By A Customer
At Last! The latest - and in many ways the best - of Phil Rickman's Ledwardine/Merrily Watkins books is here.
This time we have a murderer - who may be a serial killer, a satanist, or the victim of peculiar pollution, or none of these - a visionary, and a rich mix of Ledwardine eccentrics. Add in a guest appearance from a "famous" folksinger and what counts as the most unlikely comeback tour in the history of music (anyone still got their "Hazy Jane" t-shirts?). And just to spice things up, tie in some gruesome modern real-life horror. The series just gets better and better!
If you are familiar with Merrily Watkins, priest, mother and exorcist, , you will be aware that in the stories there is a recurrent treatment of the boundaries between modern Christianity and New age beliefs (yes, a novelist who makes you think!)- but Phil Rickman never lets this idea get stale. This time, cynicism and doubt are expressed by the least likely of all his characters.
Want a good supernatural thriller? A murder mystery? A tale of psychological horror? An examination of ecology, politics, and psyco-geograhy? Or just to catch up with the latest spicy gossip from Ledwardine? Whatever you're looking for, "The Lamp of the Wicked" has it.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most original writer around at the moment 21 Oct 2003
By A Customer
I have read all of the Merrily Watkins books so far, but this one is my favourite. The story starts out almost as a straightforward murder/mystery/revenge plot, before rapidly turning into something much darker (as we have come to expect from Rickman). The links to real life events (I won't spoil it by telling you what they are) just add the perfect touch of 'could almost happen'.
The action is well paced, with the main storyline backed up nicely by the subplots of Lol fighting his inner demons (again) and Jane struggling with her relationships with her mother, her boyfriend and life itself!
Phil Rickman is difficult to place in a category. Some would class him as horror, psychological thriller, crime. This book has elements of all of these and I personally think Rickman deserves a category of his own. I am certainly glad I chanced upon 'Wine of Angels' in my local bookshop.
This book is an outstanding read. If you haven't encountered Merrily Watkins before then I would recommend it, together with the other novels for a thoroughly absorbing read. Go and buy them now!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsively Readable
Phil Rickman is a bloody good writer. His books are compulsively readable, beautifully plotted and inhabited by characters you both recognise and care about. Read more
Published 29 days ago by ian
5.0 out of 5 stars Why we go to artists
War-artists are still employed, but why? They see something we don't; even, occasionally, show us something which only they can render visible. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Y
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable subject
This is a very well written and researched book, it deals with the unpleaseant spiritual residue of the Fred and Rosemary West murders. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cherry Octave
5.0 out of 5 stars The lamp of the wicked.
I have just finished readng this book and really enjoyed it. The plot turned out to be something you didnt expect, when you thought one thing was for certain it turned out to be... Read more
Published 2 months ago by mary g
4.0 out of 5 stars Merrily Down the Stream!
When I first read one of Phil Rickman's MW novels I must admit I found it a bit heavy going, but they have grown on me and whilst sometimes I find the psychological themes drawn... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Roy J. Candy
5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy but wonderful
Ever wondered about Fred West? Or his followers?
Well this novel has a strange but plausible theory!

Enough spoilered, read it for yourself! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Daniela Taitl
3.0 out of 5 stars A disturbing read
I am trying to read Merrily Watkins novels in order and have loved all previous but there really is a line between what is myth/fable based storylines and factual so I found this a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by bookwhisperer
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate
Phil Rickman is a first rate author. The merrily Watkins series is an unique Idea, each book is better than the previous. Read more
Published 4 months ago by pleased
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting contemporary twist to this tale
I love Phil Rickman's books, and the combination of crime novel, metaphyisical study and family saga that each one embodies. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Annik Lamotte
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lamp of the Wicked
The fifth in the Merrily Watkins series is a dark novel. It touches on the crimes of Fred West as there are some who fear there may be a copycat killer in their midst. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
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