Labyrinth

Labyrinth

3.5 118
by Kate Mosse
     
 

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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.

Eight hundred years earlier, on the eve of a brutal crusade that will rip apart southern France, a young woman named Alais

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Overview

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.

Eight hundred years earlier, on the eve of a brutal crusade that will rip apart southern France, a young woman named Alais is given a ring and a mysterious book for safekeeping by her father. 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. Now, as crusading armies gather outside the city walls of Carcassonne, it will take a tremendous sacrifice to keep the secret of the labyrinth safe.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Elegantly written...An action-packed adventure of modern conspiracy and medieval passion. (The Independent [UK])
Ross King
… the novel distinguishes itself by juggling two compelling story lines, unscrambling (and making digestible) chunks of medieval history and offering a pleasing wealth of information about the Languedoc, a region whose landscape and history Mosse loves deeply and knows intimately. Her contagious enthusiasm for the subject and dexterous handling of her material make for an open-throttle narrative drive across 500 pages of white-knuckle twists and turns.
— The Washington Post
Library Journal
"Three secrets. Two women. One Grail." That's how the publisher sums up this first book from the cofounder of Britain's noted Orange Prize, who was honored as a European Woman of Achievement in 2000. While volunteering at a dig in the Pyrenees, Alice discovers two skeletons, several artifacts, and the drawing of a labyrinth. They lead her back to a woman named -Alais, whose father entrusted her with the secret of the Grail at the time of the-Albigensian heresy. Foreign rights sold to nine countries [rights sold in an additional 22 countries]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
Mosse's page-turner takes readers on another quest for the Holy Grail, this time with two closely linked female protagonists born 800 years apart. In 2005, Alice Tanner stumbles into a hidden cave while on an archeological dig in southwest France. Her discovery-two skeletons and a labyrinth pattern engraved on the wall and on a ring-triggers visions of the past and propels her into a dangerous race against those who want the mystery of the cave for themselves. Alais, in the year 1209, is a plucky 17-year-old living in the French city of Carcassone, an outpost of the tolerant Cathar Christian sect that has been declared heretical by the Catholic Church. As Carcassonne comes under siege by the Crusaders, Alais's father, Bertrand Pelletier, entrusts her with a book that is part of a sacred trilogy connected to the Holy Grail. Guardians of the trilogy are operating against evil forces-including Alais's sister, Oriane, a traitorous, sexed-up villainess who wants the books for her own purposes. Sitting securely in the historical religious quest genre, Mosse's fluently written third novel (after Crucifix Lane) may tantalize (if not satisfy) the legions of Da Vinci Code devotees with its promise of revelation about Christianity's truths. 8-city author tour. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Dan Brown probably need not move over, but he may have to share the wealth with this well-researched tale, set in both contemporary and 13th-century France (Carcassonne), and featuring two intrepid heroines. Written by the British literary insider who co-founded the prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction, this is a quickly paced adventure that wears its considerable learning lightly-and of higher literary quality than The Da Vinci Code, to which it will inevitably be compared. Its modern protagonist is 30-ish Alice Tanner, who joins an archaeological dig in the Pyrenees hoping to rev up her uneventful life, and makes an astonishing discovery while exploring a mountainside cave. Two skeletons and a ring bearing a labyrinth design lead, by an agreeably circuitous route, to a mystery related to the story of the Holy Grail, dating back to the culture of ancient Egypt-and attracting various shady characters with vested interests. Meanwhile, in a parallel narrative, teenaged Alais, daughter of one of the Grail's appointed guardians, is entrusted with an invaluable book, one of three that together reveal the Grail's long-hidden secrets. Further complicating Alais's burden is the fact that her family are Cathars, a gentle religious sect who believe that Satan created Earth and God the heavens, and have thus incurred the land-grabbing enmity of northern neighbors who persecute them with genocidal efficiency, in what has since become known as the Albigensian Crusade. Mosse moves briskly between the two narratives, painting an impressively dense picture of life in the farming region then called Languedoc, and devising nifty matching situations and characters (e.g., two obstreperously venal femmesfatale). It all works smashingly until late in the story, when an ill-advised (and quite overlong) summary of the history of the Grail legend brings the drama to a stuttering halt. Fun for most of the way-and very likely to be one of next summer's popular vacation reads. First printing of 100,000

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425213971
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/06/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
528
Sales rank:
325,350
Product dimensions:
6.03(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.13(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Kate Mosse is the author of the New York Times bestselling Labyrinth and Sepulchre and the Co-founder and Honorary Director of the prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction. She lives in England and France.

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