A future World Heritage cathedral is being built in Albi, France. Her bishop builder, Bernard de Castanet, is close to realizing his ambitions spiritual and temporal, when “it started again.” Many years into the future, a historian, H. C. Lea, would point to this episode “at the close of the year 1299 the town was startled by the arrest of twenty-five of the wealthiest and most respected citizens.” The resulting Tribunal of the Inquisition convened that December so contaminated Albi that in “Last Song” Castanet’s successor balks at the idea of consecrating the cathedral he associates with the horrors of that long-ago episode.
Typically, blame for those trials and those responsible for it point to the bishop but is this accusation too convenient? It will take the examination of the correspondences between this bishop and a visiting English Dominican friar to expose the culprit and reveal the astoundingly modern dilemma our antagonist will unleash on an already conflicted area of history. Characters are brought to life, breathing and acting out their destinies and passions in a complex drama, which is the foundation, the heart and soul, of Albi’s commanding red brick cathedral, Saint Cecilia.