Review: Anyone For Edmund? by Simon Edge [damppebbles blog tour]

They dug up his bones. They didn’t know he had a mind of his own.

Under tennis courts in the ruins of a great abbey, archaeologists find the remains of St Edmund, once venerated as England’s patron saint, but lost for half a millennium.

Culture Secretary Marina Spencer, adored by those who have never met her, scents an opportunity. She promotes Edmund as a new patron saint for the United Kingdom, playing up his Scottish, Welsh and Irish credentials. Unfortunately these are pure fiction, invented by Mark Price, her downtrodden aide, in a moment of panic.

The only person who can see through the deception is Mark’s cousin Hannah, a member of the dig team. Will she blow the whistle or help him out? And what of St Edmund himself, watching through the prism of a very different age?
Splicing ancient and modern as he did in The Hopkins Conundrum and A Right Royal Face-Off, Simon Edge pokes fun at Westminster culture and celebrates the cult of a medieval saint in another beguiling and utterly original comedy.

Purchase Links:

Eye & Lightning Books (Free UK P&P): https://bit.ly/30XKfz9 

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3feyTfc

What is Anyone for Edmund? about?

This book is about the discovery of the long lost St. Edmund, found buried where archaeologists had predicted at the Bury St. Edmund’s abbey’s remains. Excited about the discovery, an assistant on the dig named Hannah shares the news with her aunt, who in turn tells her son about the discovery. Mark works for the culture secretary Marina Spencer, and in a bid to gain her attention he suggests St. Edmund’s discovery may make an excellent policy to champion. And so begins a winding story of how St. Edmund changes everything–for a while at least.

Genre: Modern Religious Fantasy?

There are definitely elements of magic going on in this, though it’s religiously tinged due to the presence of St. Edmund. Considering he gets his own perspective a few times and explains some of his “miracles” to the readers it’s…. Yeah, fantasy tinged I’d say.

Tropes: Happy endings all around

I think every single character that you care about in one way or another gets a happy ending, so that’s lovely!

Plot: Saints don’t understand the passing of time

St. Edmund is both a subject of the story as well as a driving force in it. He doesn’t fully understand what world he’s woken up to and so makes some almost understandable mistakes as he awakens to his influence and power.

The Good

I really enjoyed this book! The characters were all mildly sympathetic, and St. Edmund himself was the most interesting character to read from as well as being funny. I enjoyed the suspension of disbelief asked of the reader and characters alike that comes with St. Edmund being able to be a figure in the story himself. I also liked the fact that the book really considers what might happen after a saint is unburied from an impromptu resting place.

The Okay

Sometimes the characters spend a weird amount of time on little details of their lives that I just didn’t care for. I imagine it was to convey how mundane life was outside of whatever was happening with St. Edmund but I ended up just skimming any section that wasn’t interesting and important to the plot.

The Bad

The book was probably written before all the COVID craziness happened, but COVID gets a single mention as an issue addressed by Marina Spencer at one point. Since the book itself never goes into the various issues we’ve experienced in real life, I wonder when this mention was included and if it was wise to do so since it’ll heavily date the book and creates almost an alternate reality version of our world if it is meant to still portray 2020 as it is.

Final Thoughts

This was a pretty interesting concept and it was well executed! St. Edmund’s discovery by archaeologists and subsequent rise to popularity through a series of minor events was an interesting concept on its own. To elevate that by having the stakes rise based on St. Edmund’s actions themselves was an even more interesting idea, and I’m glad the story developed in that direction. The ending was a bit confusing at first, but I think it also made sense. I would have liked a bit more of a climactic climax–as the one we have is a bit flat–but the story is still well rounded and well written.

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Published by Catherine

I'm a lover of books, coffee, wine, and bees. Happy to join the ranks of book bloggers everywhere!

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