The story - a quest narrative set simultaneously in the 13th century and the present - concerns the safety of a set of crumbly books containing eternal verities that date back to ancient Egypt. The books belong to the Cathars, a sect active in medieval Pyrenean France who represent tolerance, ecumenicalism and all things nice in fact, at times they resemble nothing so much as go-ahead Church of England curates in a multicultural urban parish. The baddies are the northern French, who disguise their greedy designs on the rich agricultural land of the Languedoc by using the language of religious orthodoxy and the cultural authority of the inquisition. What really marks Labyrinth out is the fact that all the main roles - goodies as well as baddies, historical and contemporary - go to women. The baddies, meanwhile, include Marie-Cecile, a French businesswoman who is after the books and who you know is evil because she wears sophisticated linen two-pieces that never seem to crease, despite the sweltering heat.
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Recommends it for: ladies who have large handbags Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: general ubiquitousness in charity shops Oh the inner turmoil. Did I enjoy Labyrinth by Kate Mosse or not? Hold on Archaeology ladies get into all sorts of European adventure hi-jinx Oh the inner turmoil.
More murders, maniacs, manoeuvring and mendacity than Murder on the Orient Express. You let someone wander around on an excavation randomly digging holes wherever they like? That is NOT how it is done. Good job my brain exploded before the introduction of the fact that the Assistant dig director is also stealing antiquities. 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.
Castles in the air