Wine of Angels by Phil Rickman

The ‘Wine of Angels,’ by Phil Rickman was one of the books I picked up on the recommendation of Phillip  Carr-Gomm‘s ‘Book of English Magic.’

A pretty solid, thick tome that promised to be a supernatural murder mystery, it lay on my pile of books to read for quite a while until I finally felt obliged to read it. I think I was just intimidated at the idea of such an emotional read. Not that I knew it would be emotional, but rather that was how I always perceive muder mysterys. They present you with terrible characters, and make you hate them, and then exonerate them at the end. Not always fulfilling for me. I’d rather not hate in the first place.

It was an emotional book. I’m not saying it wasn’t. But, it wasn’t like that. Let me put it this way: I’ve already ordered the next book in the series.

The book was emotional, because it presented you with a pair of main characters who were in a tough spot, and let you follow along with their suffering and, of course, with their eventual. . . well, you’ll have to read it yourself.

There is quite a bit of natural magic underlying the plot, and I really enjoyed the way it was built up. Rickman did an amazing job, I think, of weaving it into the story without ever giving lectures or having long passages read like textbooks.

The magic in the book was a bit discouraging, as it is, because it suggested the idea that some people are more sympathetic or receptive to magic, and I worry that I might only want to be. Similarly, the idea of place was very important in the magic there and I don’t feel I’m part of the place where I live, (I’d be one of the rich Londoners moved to the village in my own life). And I don’t know that I like that.

The take away from all this should be: buy this book. The interweaving of plot and knowledge was such that I don’t understand why Dan Brown’s fans haven’t discovered Phil Rickman and elevated him similarly. Seriously, get your hands on this book. If you live in Dresden, you can borrow my copy.



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