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10 Reviews
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Tale
When I first began 'Midwinter of the Spirit' I wasn't sure that I would continue reading it...I found it a little confusing and disjointed. But as the plot opened up I began to become more and more intrigued. Rickman wove corruption, exorcism and spiritism into a great tale, and each of his characters played an important role all the way to the concluding twist. It also...
Published on July 26 2001 by Maggie Anderson

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3.0 out of 5 stars "Midwinter" Has Its Doldrums
Let me start by saying that I am a real fan of Phil Rickman--I think he writes better supernatural thrillers than anyone in the business, and it is a shame that he hasn't found a bigger audience in the U.S. However, I found Midwinter of the Spirit to be one of his weaker efforts. Granted, all of his usual strengths are displayed here. His characters are colorful and...
Published on May 21 2002 by David Skeele


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Tale, July 26 2001
By 
Maggie Anderson (Brisbane, Australia) - See all my reviews
When I first began 'Midwinter of the Spirit' I wasn't sure that I would continue reading it...I found it a little confusing and disjointed. But as the plot opened up I began to become more and more intrigued. Rickman wove corruption, exorcism and spiritism into a great tale, and each of his characters played an important role all the way to the concluding twist. It also made the reader aware that men & women of the cloth are only human after all and vulnerable to the vices of the world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Winter Chills, May 23 2012
By 
Dave and Joe (Toronto, Ontario) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Midwinter Of The Spirit (Paperback)
Rickman's books are deceptively scary. They present everyday people, in realistice situations, and adds in a few dashes of horror. Because its not overdone (which always disengages my ability to suspend disbelief) it's quiet terror builds and can be quite frightening. I don't typically read books like these because I can never identify with the characters or beleive the action - Rickman's magic is that he can make magic seem possible, even inevitable. Loved it, on to the next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Effortless supernatural thriller, Sept. 4 2002
I was introduced to Phil Rickman quite by chance several years back when he first produced Crybbe and was instantly hooked. The Welsh/English border is the perfect setting for his heady mix of celtic supernatural and modern new age characters. Existing in the twilight that is often so well depicted by James Herbert, he has produced, over the years, several linked tales that take you on the ancient paths of England's West Country invariably pulling fourteenth through seventeenth century tales of malice and horror to reemerge a sinister forces through the late twentieth century.
So it is with Midwinter of the Spirit. A tale woven around exorcism and possession, our main protagonist is the return of Reverend Merrily Watkins from the Wine of Angels, a single mother who is prepared to both acknowledge and involve herself with the practical nature of exorcism. A lack of assistance by the outgoing resident and a continuing troubled relationship with her daughter leads Merrily to join forces with Lol Robinson (who'll crop up in A Crown of Lights and The Cure of Souls - a rough quartet we wonder? Or, perhaps the emergence of Rickman's favoured sleuth?) to investigate and eventually confront an ancient evil at the heart of the Cathedral where the shrine of St Thomas was destroyed.
Rickman's works must rank him alongside James Herbert, and there are inevitable comparisons to King - though I think his work is of a different nature - and The Midwinter of the Spirit only confirms him as as established master of the supernatural thriller.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "Midwinter" Has Its Doldrums, May 21 2002
By 
David Skeele (Slippery Rock, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Let me start by saying that I am a real fan of Phil Rickman--I think he writes better supernatural thrillers than anyone in the business, and it is a shame that he hasn't found a bigger audience in the U.S. However, I found Midwinter of the Spirit to be one of his weaker efforts. Granted, all of his usual strengths are displayed here. His characters are colorful and real, and the dialogue is richly idiosyncratic. Stylistically, he once again seems incapable of sounding a false note (and how many horror writers can one say that about?). The problem, as I see it, is in the structure. The book seems strangely "cinematic," in that Rickman has developed an infuriating habit of cutting to a new scene the moment he manages to build a bit of suspense, and thus momentum is always being lost. And even more important, the book is simply not as scary as most of his other books--there is nothing in this one that rivals the horrific thrills of say, Curfew, or Candlenight. There are two or three somewhat unsettling scenes (the attempted "deliverance" of Denzil Joy is a classic), but they are scattered far and wide, and divorced from any real narrative build, they do not have much of an impact. And finally, Rickman again commits the sin of which he is often guilty: too easily resolving the conflict that he has so laboriously built. So much is made of an impending church ceremony in which demonic forces might storm the portals and wreak havoc on earth, but when the ceremony finally arrives, the catastrophe is averted almost effortlessly: all it takes is the prayer of a dying priest and the unexpected kindness of a teenager. The effect of the quick and tidy resolution is that the evil seems to been overrated from the start, leaving this reader wondering why he spent so much time believing in it.
As I say, I admire Phil Rickman immensely, so I'm sure this book is just a bump in the road of his distinguished career. I'm reading A Crown of Lights right now, and I'm happy to say that it seems far more satisfying.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious, spooky ,fascinating and addictive, Feb. 5 2002
By A Customer
This book began for me, a fascinating journey through Phil Rickman's writing. The real strength of this book, and Phil Rickman's previous books, is that they stay totally believable, even as they take you on a journey into the depths of spooky rituals, mysterious deaths and dangerously creepy people.
Merrily Watkins is a normal, thirty-something single parent, who also happens to be an Anglican priest and diocesan exorcist. She is at once a believable and vulnerable hero, relying more on her wits than on any supernatural powers.
Exciting, intriguing, fascinating and scary - I loved it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Oh YES!!!!!!, July 18 2001
I think that this may be Rickman's best since December. A tightly woven story with a delightful cast of charactors. And what an ending! I was riveted. Merrily's first official "deliverance" is so horrible that it's wonderful. And in the end, you're literally hoping that the lights won't go out. Rickman's writing is tight and eloquent. He manages to walk the line between charactor and action with ease, something few authors can do. I can't wait to read the next one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Oh YES!!!!!!, July 18 2001
I think that this may be Rickman's best since December. A tightly woven story with a delightful cast of charactors. And what an ending! I was riveted. Merrily's first official "deliverance" is so horrible that it's wonderful. And in the end, you're literally hoping that the lights won't go out. Rickman's writing is tight and eloquent. He manages to walk the line between charactor and action with ease, something few authors can do. I can't wait to read the next one.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Too many annoying characters for my liking, June 5 2001
To be fair to this novel, it does hold interest right up until the end. The mixture of history, mythology, and of course, exorcism was always going to be one that I found irresistable. If you throw in a magnificent Cathedral that doubles up as a very spooky building, add a bit of gore and complete it with a truly horrific moment or two; the thought of the man in the hospital bed and his wife on the stool brought a genuine revulsion that I seldom get from books, then you truly have the potential for a brilliant novel.
So why the low score? Putting it simply, I found too many people in the cast that I wanted to kick really hard. Top of the list is Merrily's ultra annoying daughter. There are kids like her all over this country, but Rickman's depiction of her was too stereotypical. She did not come across as a character in the story but as a symbol of today's youth society. She had little true input and thus took away from the story. As did "Moon". Spirituality in a book such as this is clearly warranted, but does she have to be called Moon? It is so thoughtless of Rickman to reckon on the reader taking this name in their stride. If there had been a dog in the story, he would have called it Lassie a horse and it would have been a Dobbin. Moon's name annoyed me intensely.
And then comes the ending. Like a great many books in the thriller genre, "Midwinter of the Spirit" suffers from an extended ending. There are three or four more suitable ways to end the novel, but Rickman decides to carry on a few pages too many and thus blunts any chance of a riveting ending.
This book has flashes of genius but suffers from moments of incrediblity and the whole effect is of a good book spoilt. I read this book over a year ago, and the fact that I have not read another Rickman since, may go a long way to explaining my true feelings for this author's work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky stuff! His best so far!!, Feb. 26 2001
Midwinter of the Spirit is about exorcism, sexism, and catholicism, and reveals the darker side of all three! Wow, this really is an exciting read! Phil Rickman is the master when it comes to spine chilling tension - and this book must surely be his pinacle! I heartily reccommend this to anyone who enjoys an addictive supernatural read with exciting twists to the tale! Imaginative story, wonderfully written and based upon truth!?
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good story. Not strong enough on the suspense., Feb. 23 2001
By 
Duaa Anwar "Dressage rider/ Author" (Cairo, Egypt) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I was impressed by Phil Rickman's writing style and the way he created a sharp sense of time and place for this novel. The plot was good but I think the suspense was weak. I think this novel is more of a mystery rather than a thriller, a real story rather than a fantasy. The characters were interesting enough, but there was an abundance of characters which I found to be a bit confusing. I do not believe the characters were stereotypical; they were realistic with very unique and captivating personalities. Quite frankly, it is the characters who made the story interesting, not the plot. The cover states that it's about exorcism, but no such thing occurs in the story, atleast not of any importance. It is simply about the corruption of the church of England and about strange ideas affecting the younger generation beliefs. It carries a few surprises but will require patience to read.
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Midwinter Of The Spirit
Midwinter Of The Spirit by Phil Rickman (Paperback - Sept. 20 2011)
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