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.