Book Review: Labyrinth by Kate Mosse (2005)

Spoilers present!

Labyrinth came out in 2005 as the first novel in the Languedoc Trilogy. The novel is set in both the the present day and in the 13th century, specifically during the Albigensian Crusade in France. Labyrinth could be called a mix of thriller and fiction, weaved together with history. The story itself focuses on the findings of an archaeological dig outside of Carcassonne, France and on the search for the Holy Grail. The story provides an interesting twist on the quest for the Holy Grail and appeals to lovers of historical fiction and mystery lovers alike. 

The two heroines of the story, Alice and Alais, are tied together through time, however, I, personally, had trouble following how and why Alice became aware of the connection. While I enjoyed having both perspectives, I found that the transitions between the two heroines were slightly choppy, possibly because I set the book down for so long between reading. The love story between Alice and Will also seemed a bit contrived and sudden, as they only really saw each once throughout the book. 

The conflict between the Catholic Church and the Cathar “heretics” is narrated nicely, and Mosse’s skill at easily tying the story into the political and religious battle of the Middle Ages is evident throughout the book. The description of the Noblesse and how the Eygyptian hieroglyphics tied into the history and translation of the books needed to be a bit more in depth, but also a bit more comprehensible, also possibly because of my gaps between reading. 

I did enjoy the ending of the book, as I only guessed what would happen over the course of the last couple of chapters, not from the beginning as sometimes happens, even though the way the books and Holy Grail became entombed seemed an interesting way to end a novel about an archaeological dig in that same cave. Overall, I would recommend Labyrinth to fans of historical fiction and mysteries, especially those set in France. 

Rating 3.5/5.

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