Mosse, Kate "Labyrinth" - 2005
A story about history and architecture, a story that spans over 800 years. Historical events from the 13th century are described.
A much discussed book, some of our readers loved it, others didn't. They either couldn't get into it or they didn't like the mixture of fact and fiction or thought there was too much violence, the details too descriptive. The contrast was too big, everything was black and white.
However, the people who like it thought the author is a good storyteller, our memory of history was refreshed, the side subjects like reincarnation, genetic memory and the fact that several characters that resurfaced eight hundred years later was interesting.
Quite a few of us always loved historical novels. We thought the life of ordinary people was described very well. The plot seemed logical (though not always believable) which isn't always the case in these semi-fantasy novels. Even though some of us thought the story had a slow start, we liked the history very much, especially the characters in the past. We also thought, the turbulent times the Cathars went through, should be considered.
Some of our members had been in that area of France and especially Carcassonne is a great place to visit but also the church Notre Dame of Chartres where the labyrinth is situated. Kate Mosse has done a lot of research, and she has done that very well.
We also discussed the "Da Vinci Code" briefly. Several of us had read this novel and since it is about a similar subject, the comparison was there. We didn't like all the fuss that was made about that book. Some didn't really get the story at all. Also, he mixes up facts to create a story. Then he mentions some facts at the beginning, and tries to convince readers that everything in his book is true.
Anyway, we liked "Labyrinth" a lot better. I think this would make a great movie.
We discussed this in our book club in August 2006.
From the back cover:
"In this extraordinary thriller, rich in the atmosphere 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 Tanner, a volunteer at an archeological 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. Too late Alice realizes that she has set in motion a terrifying sequence of events and that her destiny is inextricably tied up with the fate of those called heretics eight hundred years before.
July 1209. On the eve of a brutal crusade sent by the pope to stamp out heresy, a crusade that will rip apart southern France, seventeen-year-old Alaïs 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 safe the secret of the labyrinth, a secret that has been guarded for thousands of years."