Secret Doings in Glastonbury

Santa showed up with a bottle of Glenlivet and Phil Rickman’s novel The Bones of Avalon.

It’s a sort of typical Rickman-ish set-up — there are places on the land where certain hidden earth-forces are concentrated and influence the inhabitants in not necessarily good ways, especially when they are awakened by those who know not what they do.

Only this time the place is 16th-century Glastonbury, when Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries has killed the pilgrim trade and sent the town into an economic slump.

Ruins of Glastonbury Abbey (Wikipedia).

The protagonist, on a mission for Queen Elizabeth I, is Dr. John Dee, the famous mystic and astrologer and maybe spy as well.

I liked this paragraph, which comes at a point when a former monk has been pointing out to Dee some of the local scryers, fortune-tellers, cunning folk and what not:

I learned that many of these seekers . . . . had journeyed here from the ends of the country, and some from abroad. When the abbey flourished, this had gone, if not unnoticed, at least uncommented on. The town was growing and always full of pilgrims. It was only after the fall of the abbey and the exodus of the wealthy and the pious that people began to notice the nature of the incomers who did not leave . . . who, in fact, began to increase their numbers, some arriving like poor travellers, living in camps and abandoned houses. Attending church only as much as was necessary to avoid prosecution, for their own religious obediences clearly belonged . . . . elsewhere.

Nothing about a music festival, however.