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Labyrinth Paperback – February 6, 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 343 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the languedoc Series

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Editorial Reviews

From 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. Alaïs, 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, Alaïs'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 Alaïs'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 VinciCode devotees with its promise of revelation about Christianity's truths. 8-city author tour. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Mosse's epic adventure weaves together the present and the past in an entertaining Grail-quest tale. In the present, Alice Tanner, a volunteer at a French archaeological excavation, stumbles across the skeletal remains of two people in a cave, as well as a ring with an intricate labyrinth engraved on it. Her discovery attracts the attention of two unsavory figures: Paul Authie, a sinister police inspector, and Marie-Ceile de l'Oradore, a wealthy, powerful woman. When the ring that Alice discovered and the friend that invited her out on the dig both disappear, Alice begins to fear for her safety. Interlinked with Alice's story is that of 17-year-old Alais, newly married to a handsome chevalier and living in thirteenth-century Carcassonne. The threat of French invasion grows every day, but Alais and her father are more concerned with protecting three sacred books that reveal the secret of the Grail. The Crusaders want the books, but two people much closer to home are working against Alais and her father, desirous of the promise of eternal life that the Grail offers. Although the novel contains lulls in places, the medieval story is exciting. Expect demand. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (February 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425213978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425213971
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (343 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kate Mosse is the author of the # 1 International bestseller LABYRINTH, and a presenter for BBC television and radio in London. Born in 1961, she grew up in West Sussex, England, she read English at Oxford and holds honorary MAs from Oxford and Chichester Universities. A publisher for seven years, she is the Co-Founder & Honorary Director of the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Orange Award for New Writers, the prestigious annual literary awards celebrating international writing in English by women. She is also a television and radio presenter for the BBC in London, fronting such series as 'The Readers & Writers Roadshow' and 'Open Book.'

Previous books include Becoming a Mother and The House: Behind the Scenes at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, as well as two novels Eskimo Kissing and Crucifix Lane. LABYRINTH, her international # 1 bestseller, was published in the UK in July 2005. A Sunday Times #1 bestseller in hardback and paperback, and a New York Times Top 10 bestseller, it was the over all best selling book in the UK for 2006 and won 'Best Read of the Year' in the British Book Awards. It is also shortlisted for the IMPAC international literary award, for a CWA Steel Dagger and has been shortlisted for 'Author of the Year' for the 2007 British Book Awards. LABYRINTH is published in 40 countries.

A former Executive Director of Chichester Festival Theatre, Kate is a member of the Royal Society of Arts, a Board member of the international sponsorship organisation Arts & Business, Kate was named International Woman of Achievement in 2000 for her contribution to the Arts.

Kate lives with her husband and two teenage children in Sussex, England, and Carcassonne, southwest France.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was very much looking forward to this book. I know it has been a big hit in England, and I am a fan of this type of fiction. Saying that, I was very disappointed.

Brief summary, no spoilers:

The book starts off in the present, with Alice Tanner working on an archaeologic dig. She is our stereotypical heroine, spunky and smart, with a bit of a temper. Alice stumbles on a discovery - a hidden cave which contains 2 old skeletons along with some bizarre old relics, including a ring with a labyrinth pattern on it.

The police come to the site, and we meet some of the characters that inhabit the present day sections of this novel. There are questionable police officers, a malevolent and mysterious official named Authie, along with Alice's friend Shelagh, who is also working on the dig. Shortly we will meet a strange (and wise) old man named Audric Baillard.

We then are introduced to an obviously evil (and wealthy and beautiful, of course) woman named Marie-Cecile and her equally rotten-to-the-core son, Francois-Baptiste. No shades of gray here, these characters are almost cartoonish in their one-dimensional evil.

The story goes back and forth in time. We meet Alice's counterpart, a heroic (and spunky and smart) woman named Alais, starting in the year 1209. She is a noble woman, and finds out her father is part of a mysterious sect that is entrusted with keeping the secrets of the Grail.

This is a long book, and though I do admit that I found *parts* of it a page-turner, a lot of it was not. I found myself looking forward to finishing, because I figured with all this detail and action, the ending would be spectacular. It wasn't.

Pick up this book and read a couple of chapters. If it grabs you, then this may be the book for you. If not, don't expect it to get any better.
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Format: Hardcover
I approached this book with mixed emotions. I am not an advocate of the format this book takes, i.e. switching between the present day and then back several hundred years. This style has a tendency to make the story disjointed to say the least. However in this particular book it seemed to work quite well and I cannot think of any other way the story could have been told.

The book begins on July 4 2005 at an archaeological dig in the mountains in South Western France. Alice a volunteer at the dig has decided to do a little work away from the other members of the dig. She finds something (either by chance or destiny) that will change her life and the lives of many of the people around her. She has unearthed a time bomb that has been ticking away for centuries. . .

This book is a unique twist on the much told tale of the Grail and to go too deeply into the plot would be to spoil the book for the reader. As I have said the plot twists and turns, backwards and forwards through the centuries. It involves a family in the early 13th century, who have been given the task of helping to protect ancient books and symbols that will allow the grail to be used, for good or evil.

There are people in the 21st. Century that are drawn back into the past by blood ties with the Pelletier family. They become involved in a sequence of events that they have no control over and become inextricably tied up with the fate of the Cathars 800 years ago.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It was totally unlike anything I had read about the subject before.
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Format: Hardcover
I was really excited about Labyrinth when I first heard about it - finally, a great historical adventure with **women** as the protagonists! Medieval heretics, Grial legends, historical accuracy, lots of suspense - I settled down happily to enjoy a thumping good read. Unfortunately, the novel fell far short of my expectations.

It's not a bad novel by any means, and I really liked the parallel structure of the modern story featuring Alice Tanner and the medieval one featuring Alais and the Cathars. But - where was the editor?? Far too much of Labyrinth drags horribly as Mosse describes every single tiny little thing that her characters can see, smell, taste. I love sensory detail in novels, but there's waaaay too much here, and the novel keeps stopping dead while Mosse gets carried away in description.

At the same time, the characters aren't described in anything like as much detail as I wanted. Alice remained a complete cipher to me to the last page. She's far from being the strong, capable protagonist I'd hoped for, and I was intensely irritated when she meets Will - another main character - by complete coincidence. Important plot points should not turn on coincidence.

The writing is - over-done, to say the least. Lots of over-wrought similes which I had to go back and read again as they didn't make much sense, many disjointed sentences and fragments, and lots of untranslated French, which didn't bother me but which would probably irritate readers who don't understand the language. The ending is a huge disappointment that falls totally flat.

For me, the best aspect of the novel was Mosse's depiction of Southern France, which made me want to jump on the next plane to Carcassonne. A career with the French Tourism Board beckons for Kate Mosse, perhaps?

With a damn good edit to tidy up the language and the numerous plot holes, this could have been a truly excellent novel. Very disappointing.
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