Though dead for two millennia, he remains perfectly preserved in black peat. The Man in the Moss is one of the most fascinating finds of the century. But, for the isolated Pennine community of Bridelow, his removal is a sinister sign. A danger to the ancient spiritual tradition maintained, curiously, by the Mothers' Union.
In the weeks approaching Samhain - the Celtic feast of the dead - tragedy strikes again in Bridelow. Scottish folk singer Moira Cairns and American film producer Mungo Macbeth discover their Celtic roots are deeper and darker than they imagined.
And, as fundamentalist zealots of both Christian and satanic persuasions challenge an older, gentler faith, the village faces a natural disaster unknown since the reign of Henry VIII.
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I never want to leave a Phil Rickman book
As ever, I enjoyed the slow drawing of the characters and slowly starting to feel like a by watcher, perhaps seated in the corner of the pub. From the first book I read by this author, I have admired his ability to transport the reader to a rural community and embed him/her into the heart of it. I also love how the characters I meet can pop up again. In Man in the Moss, it was good to catch up with one particular character from the first book I read by the author.
Fans of Phil Rickman will know that there are some common themes in his books. This one has some of them but is a story in and of itself. Suffice to say that the supernatural and the natural are themes.
All the characters were brought to life and fully formed by the outstanding narration of Sean Barrett. One chapter in and you forget that there is only one man reading this book. I was glad to catch up with Moira but I grew very fond of the Headmaster and Ma.
The book provokes thought about history, religion and of the forces seen and unseen in our world. One episode made me sad but I can't say without spoiling it. There is also a level of violence and horror in the book but it is not gratuitous. Overall though, I feel like I do at the end of many books by this author.....somewhat bereft that I can't pop back to the village and see how the characters are getting on.
I liked the exploration of early Celtic practices and beliefs and how they had interwoven with the church as we know it. Mostly, I liked how the Rev Hans had long ago decided all that really matters, is a level of spirituality exists, in and for the community. I wish he was my vicar! Phil Rickman has also written as Will Kingdom for those looking for more of his work.
You'll have had yer tea!