Friday, June 10, 2005
I'm definitely still on a Phil Rickman bender
but The Cure of Souls wasn't as good as the others in the Merrily Watkins series. Much of the book is taken up with the Deliverance Ministry/exorcism stuff (in a hop kiln!), and the other plot is about teenage girls dabbling in spiritualism, and the evil things from the past that are making bad things happen in the present only date back to the 1960s, not the mythic long-ago past which is Rickman's real strength. Not bad, but not his best. It sent me to reread The Heartbreaker, by Susan Howatch--not her best either, but the only one I had lying around the house--Howatch handles some of the spiritual/Anglican stuff rather better than Rickman, and her novels are happier being "modern" than his. His are so grounded in a sense of place, and place with a really long history, that you miss it when he focuses mostly on recent stuff.