• by Phil Rickman
  • Narrated by Seán Barrett
  • 20 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the ruins of a haunted medieval abbey, four musicians hope to tap into the site's dark history. The experience almost destroys them. Years later, the original group is forced to return to the abbey, to confront the old evil they discovered…


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Ghosts of Decembers Past and Present

In the best British tradition of the Christmas ghost story, Rickman creates a spookily atmospheric tale of a medieval Welsh abbey which has a history of horrific December deaths and accidents dating from the 12th century to the present. The cast of characters revolve around a group of aging rockers who are the survivors of a disastrous recording session in the abbey studio on 12/8/1980, which also happens to be the day the former Beatle, John Lennon, was shot to death outside his Manhattan apartment building, an event which plays a significant role in the unfolding of the story.

Be forewarned that the prologue and the first few chapters are confusing and quite difficult to follow as the narrative washes between epochs and characters, none of which are familiar to the reader as yet. These characters and events begin to sort themselves out as the book takes on a more straight-forward narrative approach as the book progresses.

Sean Barrett's narration is excellently suited to the material and this audio version is enhanced by riffs from songs purportedly recorded in the abbey sessions.

A wonderfully dark tale for the nights of the winter solstice.
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- Diane

Good story but disappointing adaptation

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Not the audiobook. Narration is hamfisted and the music to add drama is embarrassing.

If you’ve listened to books by Phil Rickman before, how does this one compare?

Have read others but not listened

What didn’t you like about Seán Barrett’s performance?

It's heavy handed. Groans and screams etc are over acted.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Possibly if directed by right person

Any additional comments?

The first 50 minutes of the audiobook is almost unlistenable. It is a chaotic mix of visions and terrible Celtic music interruptions and I nearly gave up on it as I tried to remember why I had liked the book so much when I read it over 10 years ago. It eventually settles into a more traditional narrative but the occasional further bursts of bad Celtic music that are there to "add to the mood" are amateur and annoying.
The Deus ex machina ending to the story is disappointing and does not close all the loose ends that the plot and the final scenes build up to.

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- Graeme

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-01-2012
  • Publisher: Isis Publishing Ltd