Book info

Labyrinth (2007)

Labyrinth (2007)
Author
Rating
3.51 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
0425213978 (ISBN13: 9780425213971)
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English
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publisher
berkley
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Labyrinth (2007)
Labyrinth (2007)

About book: LABYRINTH BY KATE MOSSE: If only Kate Mosse had published her novel not in 2006, but shortly after the astonishing success of the Da Vinci Code, it perhaps would’ve received the literary respect it deserves, instead of coming last in a slew of novels involving the subjects of the Holy Grail, the Knights Templar, and what they mean in the present day. The quote on the back of the paperback edition from the Kirkus Review really says it all: “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.” And yet Labyrinth goes more than a few steps further, not just adding new and original twists to the myth of the grail, but adding a new depth and level that hasn’t been seen before. As for the truth behind it all, Mosse doesn’t offer a note of explanation, but leaves it to the reader’s imagination.Labyrinth opens with one of the two main characters, Alice, working on an archaeological site in southern France, where she finds a hidden cave and two skeletons within. She also finds a unique ring bearing an unusual symbol: a labyrinth. Notifying the authorities of the discovered site, with the skeletons it suddenly becomes a crime scene, and the archaeologists are kicked off the site. The reader is then taken back in time to the thirteenth century, where they meet the other main character, Alaïs, a young girl held back by tradition and ritual in a chivalric society where the knight and the priest are strongest. For the duration of the book, the reader follows these two characters, as they live their lives in parallel.As Alice returns to her hotel, strange things start to happen, as strangers contact her about what she found in the cave, police telling her to describe exactly what she saw and confiscating her sketches. Members of the dig go mysteriously missing, as people begin to die for unknown reasons. Finding pieces of evidence, Alice weaves together the story bit by bit, and as she does she discovers that she is intrinsically linked to it all, and most importantly to Alaïs. Her strange dreams of this unknown girl from the late Middle Ages are the least of her worries.Alaïs finds herself caught up in the changing and challenging times when the pope launches a crusade against the Cathars, a declared heretic group who believe that while God is absolute and utmost, the work they do in their lives is by their doing and not God’s. It is a time when Christians are fighting Christians overtly because of their supposed heretical ways, but subversively because the northern French want the rich southern land of the langue d’Oc. Wrapped in this dense plot is the story of the Grail, which every Christian of every group seeks, and it is only when the three ancient texts with the strange hieroglyphs are brought together, that the true way to the Grail will be shown. But the story of this Grail is not the one that we all think we know, but something deeper and more ancient that is tied in with this mysterious symbol of the labyrinth, and reaches back into Ancient Egypt and the founding of civilization.While the last third of the book seems somewhat rushed, as Mosse forgoes the back and forth chapters through time, and relies on present day characters telling what they know of the past; there is an inevitable building that results in a climactic ending of not just character realization, but eye-opening shock on the reader’s part, as they finally know the whole story. Like the symbol, Labyrinth is a story that begins simple and straightforward, but grows more and more complex, until the denouement when all is revealed and finally understood. Check out www.labyrinthbook.net for more information.For more book reviews, and author interviews, go to BookBanter.

Oh the inner turmoil. Did I enjoy Labyrinth by Kate Mosse or not? Hold on... what Kate Moss the supermodel lady has written a book?No, Kate Mosse the author, not THE Kate Moss ... come on, keep up people.My two inner voices have clashed over this story and so I've given this book a middling 3 out of 5. Here is what my chatty inner voices are bickering over:LUMPEN ADVENTURE SEEKING BOOK LOVING WEEKEND SOFA SURFER BRAINBrilliant. Archaeology ladies get into all sorts of European adventure hi-jinx with a parallel time slip story line and get caught up with sinister occult goings on which ultimately wind up being tied into their own personal family history making it a sort of GRAIL LORE: THIS TIME IT'S PERSONAL style read. More murders, maniacs, manoeuvring and mendacity than Murder on the Orient Express.ACTUAL ARCHAEOLOGY BRAINWhoa. You let someone wander around on an excavation randomly digging holes wherever they like? That is NOT how it is done. Now they've found something and are tramping into a cave and moving finds and relics around without photographing or drawing them first? And they're not even an archaeologist? Ok, that's it my head just E-X-P-L-O-D-E-D , really it did, there's brain all over the place. Good job my brain exploded before the introduction of the fact that the Assistant dig director is also stealing antiquities. And obviously because there is archaeology and the grail involved then they all have PhD's. Let's face it, after Dr Robert Langdon of DaVinci Code fame, only giving these ladies a Masters degree would make you feel like they were not quite clever enough to be dealing with the subject matter.I've recently come to realise that this historical duality/ time slip story telling method is a lot more common than I thought. Ackroyd, Amis, Smith and Mosse all embrace and employ this technique and if you have an author who is equal to the task of producing two well written narratives with different tones and styles then it works well. Mosse achieves this and both stories are equally well written and engaging. Archaeology brain overrides weekend sofa surfing brain on this review though because this book sailed a little too close to the chick-lit equator for me and that is an invisible line that I sail across with great caution. Wilbur Smith ( River God: A Novel of Ancient Egypt ) and Agatha Christie ( Death on the Nile ) therefore remain Crown King and Queen of archaeology fiction for me and I don't think they'll be abdicating or getting deposed any time soon.
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Reviews
Nanna
Kim wrote: "This review gives me hope! Thank you, I will keep reading...."Good luck my fellow reader! Glad it motivated you :) I often experience books like this - it's hard work till the mid but then the plot escalates!
Lisbeth
This pulled at me and repulsed me simultaneously. As a medievalist and amateur historian, I was addicted to learning how Mosse laid out this Grail fantasy. She treats the Cathar subjects well, clearly having spent at least a few hours on Wikipedia researching the matter. My repulsion was, however, centered on the regrettably mediocre writing. Mosse relies on heavy exposition and tosses adjectives and adverbs in like my grandmother does salt. Her characters are poorly developed, largely one-dimensional folk and her story suffers from a densely-packed exposition. As Mosse reaches a climax, she relies on her modern protagonist and characters to tell about the climax's thirteenth century events instead of allowing the reader to be present and to witness them ourselves. The additional lack of explanation about why certain items (i.e. the Labyrinth, the cave, the ring, the grail, etc.) were important or how they had come to be were entirely ignored.Bah humbug.
Sarah
This book is too long, too slow and takes itself way too seriously! I got about halfway through the book and i was still waiting for something to happen! The author was still developing the characters 200 pages into the book.This book had the potential to be historical fiction, suspense or romance and the wuthor's wrtiing style leaned a little too close to the romance genre for my tastes. Her characters were too typical and too perfect. They were either perfect good people or perfect villians and she spent too much time with physical descriptions. Good character descriptions are much harder than they seem and some authors have a real gift for it (Jane Austen & Susannah Clarke are two examples). The most important rule for them is that less is more. An author can say more about a character with a few well chosen words than he can in a page of adjectives. I had high hopes for this book because the plot soudned intriguing and I think it could have been fun and interesting with the right editor.
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