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The Wine of Angels [Hardcover]

Phil Rickman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Jun 1998
The new vicar in the village of Ledwardine does not need a haunted vicarage, or controversy over the first Ledwardine Festival. The event's focus is the mysterious death of a previous minister during the 17th-century witch-hunts. Then a girl disappears and an old apple-tree bears fruit.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; First Edition edition (5 Jun 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333644859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333644850
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 416,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Phil Rickman writes mystery in the original sense. His current novels blend authentic crime fiction with a careful element of the unexplained. The internationally-acclaimed Merrily Watkins series, about the diocesan exorcist for Hereford, is currently in development with ITV Drama.

Rickman, a former TV and radio news reporter who still presents the book programme Phil the Shelf on BBC Radio Wales, has also written two historical novels with a new take on Dr John Dee, astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I. His earliest novels - paranormal thrillers based on aspects of British folklore - are all in print. His only short story, The House of Susan Lulham, can be found in the anthology Oxcrimes and he's also a contributor to Books to Die For, in which crime writers celebrate their literary heroes.

The (October) 2014 novel, Night After Night is a ghost story and crime novel which stands alone but involves characters from two thrillers originally written under the name Will Kingdom. A new Merrily Watkins novel is pencilled-in for 2015. PR has also collaborated with musician Allan Watson to produce on CD and iTunes the songs of Lol Robinson from the Merrily series and the Abbey Tapes from his early novel December. He is married and lives on the Welsh Border.


Product Description

Book Description

The Revd Merrily Watkins had never wanted a picture-postcard parish - or a huge and haunted vicarage. Nor had she particularly wanted to walk straight into a local dispute over a controversial play about a strange seventeeth-century clergyman accused of witchcraft ... a story that certain old-established families would rather remained obscure. But this is Ledwardine, steeped in cider and secrets. A paradise of cobbled streets and timber-framed houses. And also - as Merrily and her teenage daughter Jane discover - a village where horrific murder is a tradition that spans centuries. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Phil Rickman was born in Lancashire. He has won awards for his TV and radio journalism, and his highly acclaimed earlier novels Candlenight, Crybbe, The Man in the Moss, December and The Chalice are also available from Pan Books in paperback. The Wine of Angels introduced the Revd Merrily Watkins, whose frightening baptism as a diocesan exorcist was charted in Midwinter of the Spirit, followed by A Crown of Lights, his previous novel. He is married and lives on the Welsh border. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
105 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rickman is the Master 1 Feb 2009
By Mr
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When you are SO bored of "Da Vinci Mode" books, badly written with vapid and badly drawn out female characters come home to Britain with possibly the best series of mystery/thrillers being written today. I happened across this book in a second hand book shop one summer and spent a cracking weekend sitting in the garden getting to know Merrily, Jane and Ledwardine.
Since then I have read all of the series and like all sustained efforts at writing it had its ups and its downs, but above and beyond that if you, like me, think that entertaining reading does not have to be simplistic this is the book for you. I envy you if you are about to click and hit the basket because going to Ledwardine for the first time is always the best. Turn down the lights, put another log on the fire and have a frothy mug of hot chocolate at the ready...Wine of Angels will keep you up late!
Possibly the most innovative and unique thriller writer working in the UK today. I often used to get confused on the series order...I would say read them in order if you can...it doesn't matter if you can't but the growth of the characters is so much clearer!

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)
The Remains of an Altar (2006)
The Fabric of Sin (2007)
To Dream of the Dead (2008)
The Secrets of Pain (2011)
The Magus of Hay (2013)
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78 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return 11 April 2011
Format:Paperback
This is a very welcome re-issue of the first in Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins series.
Here Merrily, as the new 'priest in charge' in the picturesque Herefordshire Village of Ledwardine, finds herself in the middle of a local disagreement about the possibility of using the church to stage a new play - about a previous incumbent who was accused of witchcraft - and more.
She also has to contend with a possibly haunted vicarage and problems with her teenage daughter Jane, who has Pagan tendencies and isn't at all happy about her mother's vocation.
And all this is before the killings start!
A marvellous, richly atmospheric story which will keep you enthralled right to the end. If you've never read a Merrily novel, this is the ideal place to start - but, if you have read any of the later books, do buy this one and find out how it all began.
Once you're hooked - and you will be - don't despair if you can't find the rest of the series, they are all to be republished at bi-monthly intervals.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best series of books i've ever read 21 April 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Have read each and every one of his books as they were published. Many years down the line I feel that the core characters are old friends. Fantastic to see this in kindle format and hope this brings his work to a wider audience. Phil Rickman is a great teller of tales which can unexpectedly raise the hairs on the back of your neck. If you like well rounded characterisation, crime novels, and suspense with a supernatural undertone give this a try.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pink Moon is gonna get ye all 29 Oct 2006
Format:Paperback
Rickman seduces you into his sleepy, pastoral village of Ledwardine with promises of home brewed cider and fairies at the bottom of the orchard. Only when it's too late for the reader/listener to catch the last bus home does he scratch away the surface to reveal the sordid underbelly of English country life doused in incest, blood-feuds, rape and murder.

This, the first of the Merrily Watkins procedurals is a ghost story wrapped inside a mystery and bound tightly together with the twine of dark folklore. It also delivers a plot twist that gives the sort of jolt you would normally only expect from a gibbet trapdoor.

As always Rickman's dialogue is a joy as he fleshes out the various suicidal dreamers, quirky eccentrics and sexual predators who inhabit his strange little village. As Nick Drake, the quintessential lost soul himself, who makes an eerie cameo role in the book says - The Pink Moon is gonna get you all!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars at last the beginning 17 May 2011
Format:Paperback
I found the Merrily series a couple of years ago, and started in mid series. I was hooked by the characterisation and the obvious attention to detail in the plots and locations. there aren't many books where I can picture a location, these were the exception. Then I heard the entire series were to be reissued. Wine is the first, and sets the scene very well. The story is gripping, the pageant of rural life so accurate that you feel to be a fly on the wall. Definitely worth the wait, and there's a whole series to follow, its going to be a good summer
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Read 12 May 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Downloaded onto my Kindle after I read the original hardback several years back, I was again captivated by the extraordinary tale - teller, Phil Rickman. His character, Merrily Watkins, tries so hard to have an ordinary life but life never turns out like that for her. This is a great book and will lead you into other realms. Unputdownable.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner 7 May 2011
By A. Lucas TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I can highly receommend this book. It was a real page-turner. I have only just discovered that there are more after this one, so I shall be hunting them down! The characters are interesting and believable, the storyline was fast-paced and action packed, and kept the reader guessing until the end.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable!! 13 April 2011
Format:Paperback
One of the best series of books I have ever read, this first book in the series grabs you from the start and draws you into a fascinating world of mystery, suspense, angst, border folklore, the supernatural and so much more! Merrily's life hasn't been an easy one, and now a single parent and new vicar to Ledwardine, a quiet village on the Herefordshire / Welsh borders, its not going to get any easier. The twists and turns are cleverly interwoven, leaving you wondering even as the book ends. Phil has a brilliance with words, bringing the characters to life so easily, that you will be hungry for the next books in this series.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
phil rickman at his chilling best. Believable characters, people that are real and very likeable too. As to the villains....!
Published 10 days ago by gumpyoldgit
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book - I couldn't put it down
A fantastic book - I couldn't put it down! (The second in the series is even better - but read this one first!)
Published 21 days ago by P. Cooper
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Won't be looking to read next in series
Published 27 days ago by Tracey June Markham
4.0 out of 5 stars The Wine of Angels
Phil Rickman never lets you down. Another 'book' I couldn't put down. An intriguing story. I would strongly recommend it.
Published 1 month ago by Trisha201201
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
This is another 'not put downable' Merrily Watkins. Totally believable characters. I'm really hooked and can't wait to begin the next one.
Published 2 months ago by Kathleen Pym
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read
Another superb book.

What a brilliant author, what a brilliant plot, never read any books like Rickman's, all of them unpredictable with amazing characters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by julia
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Having discovered this series of books by reading the latest one first, I decided to start at the beginning. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Elaine Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting tale
As an ex resident of rural Herefordshire I was was party to many fireside chats concerning the the old ways and folklore, which seemed to seep into modern day attitudes and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by sleepindawgs
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and refreshingly different
I was recommended this series of books and I am glad I read this book. Very different to most other murder mysteries I've read. Read more
Published 3 months ago by LiaS123
5.0 out of 5 stars Merrily
I found this difficult to put down. It has everything, mystery, suspense and a good story. I'm really looking forward to the next one.
Published 3 months ago by Brenda
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