The Chalice is a complicated yet highly satisfying novel which opens with a conflict between some unusual new age travellers and a group of locals that ends in a minor tragedy. The novel continues in this vein, exploring the various tensions between the different groups that occupy Glastonbury and interweaving events which mirror those of current events in Britain. In some ways this is a weakness, as reality has moved on slightly from some aspects of the novel and it may date it rather quickly, though the story is probably strong enough and sufficiently self contained to remain relevant for quite some time. The supernatural elements are barely present for the majority of the novel, but as it progresses become more and more important in the flow of the novel as the story of the Dark Chalice (the opposite of the Holy Grail) is revealed and the influence the presence of an ancient evil has had upon Glastonbury. The novel has many powerful moments and once you get into it becomes really compelling. Most of the horror comes from the conflicts between the different groups, and their own inner conflicts, and everything is shown to be interconnected in the overall scheme of things. Towards the end the sheer number of relationships and connections do tend to become a bit awkward, as Rickman tries to cram a multitude of events into a relatively small space and you begin to wonder towards the end how he can possibly bring it all together. The ending becomes something of an abrupt anti-climax after the massive buildup but it works in the context of the novel so you can't fault it too much. In conclusion, this is a brilliant novel which brings to life the concept of an ancient evil in an utterly contemporary setting without being undermined by any of the genre trappings.