Dublin Unitarian Book Club’s
choice for March 2021.
I first read this book when on holidays in France 15years ago. It was a good choice for that holiday as the story is set in the South of France in the Languedoc region. On the second read I would still categorise it as a holiday read.
There are two stories in this novel running parallel to each other and the stories and characters intertwine along the way.
The first story is set in the 1200’s against the backdrop of the Catholic Church Crusade into the Languedoc to root out heretics and more specifically the Cathars of Carcassonne and the Pays d’Oc. Our heroine in this era is called Alais, a young herbalist whose father, Pelletier, is the steward of Carcassonne and has sworn with other ‘Bon Hommes’ to protect three ancient sacred books that are said, when read together with the proper interpretation to have the power to reveal the Holy Grail. This task becomes even more immanent as the Crusaders get closer and war beckons.
The second story is in modern times, 2005, and our heroine is Dr. Alice Turner, who is on an Archaeological dig in the Languedoc near Carcassonne when she discovers a cave with two skeletons in it and a ring with a labyrinth engraved on it. There are also Labyrinth engravings on the walls.
There are the usual suspects of goodies and baddies in the stories and the corelation between them in the two time zones is very obvious. Some of our readers found the stories a bit unbelievable as there are hints of ancestorial ties, reincarnation and even an 800 year old ‘survivor’. Most agreed that it was overly long by about 200 pages. However, credit was given to the author for her historical research and depiction of the Crusade against the Cathars in the region. Some of us would have liked more of this historical aspect as it was very interesting and would inspire you to visit the area to find out more about the Cathars, so for that alone the book succeeds.
Dublin Unitarian Church