I’m a big fan of archeological mysteries/thrillers such as those by Dan Brown, James Rollins, William Dietrich and Steve Berry. Add to that list Kate Mosse, British author of Labyrinth (trade paperback, Berkley Publishing Group, $15.00). The story is historically accurate in most details, with real people mingling with fictional characters.
The early 13th century in France is characterized by the Albigensian Crusade when the Pope authorized a war by Catholics against Catholics, also known as Cathars. If you like stories about the Holy Grail, Labyrinth has come up with a new take on that most famous of legends.
The time is the first half of the 13th Century and the first decade of the 21st. Part of the action takes place in Chartres but most of it takes place in the area dominated by Carcassonne, Foix and Toulouse.
The story centers on two extremely strong women 800 years apart in time. You will come to root passionately for Alice/Alais to be victorious in their quest. You will find yourself booing the villains when their names appear.
There is one downside to the book—the use of French & Oc language terms that are not always translated or explained.
Even before I read this, I had planned to visit the Carcassonne/Chartres regions of France this year. Now I have even more reason to so.