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Marco's Pendulum by Thom Madley
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Marco's Pendulum

by Thom Madley

Series: Marco (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This is the first of Phil Rickman's "young adult" novels (under a pen name). It's not bad, but as Phil Rickman novels go, it's not as good as his outstanding adult novels, and as young adult literature goes, it's not as good as Harry Potter. Still, though, if you know a "young adult" who has finished the Harry Potter books, this is a good choice to move on to. ( )
  TheBentley | Nov 15, 2014 |
This is, I think, Rickman's first book for young adults and follows on, to an extent, from the events of The Chalice. As always with Rickman the central element of the plot is the greed and corruption associated with the quest for power. There are a number of scenes in the book that I found quite terrifying, and reminiscent of scenes in Alan Garner's Weirdstone of Brisgamen. Looking forward to reading the sequel soon. ( )
  riverwillow | Dec 25, 2013 |
The cover blurb gives it away: Is the Holy Grail buried at Glastonbury, or something much darker? Well, of course, you know the answer to that, because this would otherwise be a rather tame young adult novel.

Townies Marco and Rosa find themselves separately set down in Somerset, both saddled with parents who don’t seem to understand them and set about by bullies and by strange and very unsettling psychic experiences. Pretty soon they find themselves thrown together and flung into a claustrophobic labyrinth under Glastonbury itself (reminiscent of the endings of both mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Alan Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen) in a narrative that is hard to put down and preferably not to be read at night. Well, not by adults anyway.

Thom Madley is better known as Phil Rickman, writer of the highly regarded Merrily Watkins mysteries set in the Welsh Marches. Here he uses the same technique for the Somerset town, skilfully mixing real locations with imagined locales and reality itself with imagined terrors, rather in the manner of Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum (which must have inspired Madley’s own title if not its atmosphere).

If you like slightly Gothick horror stories then this may be for you: I was marginally thrilled but only faintly engaged, and not really convinced by the grail proffered for our consideration. Some online reviews seem to think the themes of horror and mentions of Satanism, along with perceptions that the author has pagan sympathies and an anti-Christian bias, make this novel unsuitable for young adults; this may be why more recent editions have dropped the Madley pseudonym, so as to appeal to fans of Rickman’s adult titles.

There is a sequel, Marco and the Blade of Night, which also picks up on an Arthurian theme. Without having read the book (I certainly haven’t, as yet) you can nevertheless guess which sword they’re talking about. Or possibly not…

http://wp.me/s2oNj1-marco ( )
  ed.pendragon | Apr 28, 2013 |
As a YA work, I thought this was an interesting introduction into Glastonbury and all the conflicting legends and beliefs. Some of the characters are a little rigid in their views and others not so much. This is probably not a book for very young teenagers, due to some of the topics covered, but would be a good introductory work for YA who then want to move onto Phil Rickman's books written under his own name. ( )
1 vote floriferous | Jan 14, 2012 |
Phil Rickman writing as Thom Madley, this time for teenagers, and revisiting the Glastonbury of "The Chalice".
  PollyMoore3 | Nov 16, 2010 |
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There's more to Glastonbury than a music festival. When Marco is dumped there for the summer with his weird hippy grandparents, he discovers the town is steeped in myth and magic.

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