June 11, 2011

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

Title:  Labyrinth
Author:  Kate Mosse
Format:  HC
Pages:  508
Genre:  Historical Fiction / Thriller
Publisher:  Putnam, 2006
ISBN-13:  978-0399153440
Series:  Stand Alone

Favorite Quote:  "I watched the green of spring give way to the gold of summer, the copper of autumn give way to the white of winter as I have sat and waited for the fading of the light.  Over and over again I have asked myself why?  If I had known how it would feel to live with such loneliness, to stand, the sole witness to the endless cycle of birth and life and death, what would I have done?  I have survived this long life with emptiness in my heart, an emptiness that over the years has spread and spread until it became bigger than my heart itself."

Synopsis (Amazon):  In this extraordinary thriller, rich in the atmospheres of medieval and contemporary France, the lives of two women born centuries apart are linked by a common destiny.

July 2005. In the Pyrenees mountains near Carcassonne, Alice, a volunteer at an archaeological dig stumbles into a cave and makes a startling discovery-two crumbling skeletons, strange writings on the walls, and the pattern of a labyrinth; between the skeletons, a stone ring, and a small leather bag.

Eight hundred years earlier, on the eve of a brutal crusade to stamp out heresy that will rip apart southern France, Alais is given a ring and a mysterious book for safekeeping by her father as he leaves to fight the crusaders. The book, he says, contains the secret of the true Grail, and the ring, inscribed with a labyrinth, will identify a guardian of the Grail. As crusading armies led by Church potentates and nobles of northern France gather outside the city walls of Carcassonne, it will take great sacrifice to keep the secret of the labyrinth safe.

In the present, another woman sees the find as a means to the political power she craves; while a man who has great power will kill to destroy all traces of the discovery and everyone who stands in his way.

Review:  While I admit this is a thriller, it is also historical fiction.  The chapters switch between 2005 and the 1200's.  My favorite portions, by far, were the ones set in the past.  I loved Alais, Sajhe, and the whole medieval world they lived in.

It was a cruel, awful time:  the Inquisition was starting up, the Crusades were under way, and most of the population lived in abject poverty.  But, somehow, the people had so much heart and honor and faith.  It's a time period that's always drawn me.  The quest to keep the secret of The Grail, from the deepest past into the current times, against people determined to use it for their own selfish ends, was a good tale.

I loved this new take on the legend of The Grail.  This book questions the very foundations of the major religions.  It was inspiring, interesting, and made me wonder.  This thrilling saga kept me interested and involved for all 500+ pages.

Rating:  8.5 / 10

1 comment:

  1. I read this a couple of years ago and really liked it so I enjoyed reading this review. Made me think about it all over again.
    Lynn :D


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