Reading this book made me once again realize that organized religion can and did often bring its share of grief, loss of life, and hardship to the people. It certainly should never be the intention of any religion to place itself above another’s beliefs, but that has unfortunately happened down through the ages. Certainly, in this book, the second in The Burning Chambers series, those concepts have been once again been brought to light.
Minou and Piet Joubert and their family are Huguenots in France, a place that has always considered themselves a Catholic domain. Minou and her family are invited to Paris to witness, in an attempt to calm the aggression between the Catholics and Huguenots, the marriage of the crown princess of the Catholic rulers and the Huguenot King of Navarre. It is hoped that this union will bring a lasting peace to the country that has been plagued by warring religious factions.
In Paris, the Joubert’s young daughter takes it upon herself to go exploring never thinking that she would be caught up in the St. Bartholomew’s massacre, where white crosses painted on door bring safety to those hidden inside, while other homes are broken into and their occupants seized, murdered, and wantonly thrown aside. This killing spared no one, children women, the elderly were slaughtered because they were considered not to be the right religion.
The Joubert’s have always supported people’s right to believe even though Piet has definite sympathies for the Calvinist cause. His feelings and his hidden mysterious background come to the attention of a French cardinal and the peaceful life once loved by the Joubert’s is about to turn to violence, death, and destruction.
Vidal du Plessis, a cardinal, is obsessed with the collection of relics. He has profited from them even knowing that many of them are false. He will let no one stop him from his mission and he is in some way connected to Piet. He is dangerous, he is ruthless, and he is a father to Volusien, of course never acknowledging his paternity in public.
For these characters, it is a race to stay alive and their journey carries them from France to Holland to Chartres, never really acquiring that sense of peace they thought they had previously. Add to their sense of constant fear, their daughter is missing and as they are forced to leave Paris, they leave with only the hope that she is alive in the midst of a massacre.
Told with the background of religious strife, indifference, greed, and the overwhelming need to find peace in one’s life, this is a story of struggles that are cruel, barbarous, and merciless. I recommend this book, which can be a standalone story, to all who love a well written and developed book that opens one’s eyes to the cruelty and heartless barbarity that was said to be done in the name of God.
Thank you to Kate Mosse, Minotaur Books, and Edelweiss for an advanced copy of this book due out in May of this year.
and here’s the author:
Kate Mosse is the author of nine novels & short story collections, including the No 1 multimillion selling Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel – and No 1 bestselling Gothic fiction including The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter, which she is currently adapting for the stage. Her books have been translated into 38 languages and published in more than 40 countries. She has also written three works of non-fiction, four plays, contributed essays and introductions to classic novels and collections.
A champion of women’s creativity, Kate is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction – the largest annual celebration of women’s writing in the world – and sits on the Executive Committee of Women of the World. She was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to literature and women and was named Woman of the Year for her service to the arts in the Everywoman Awards. She is a regular guest on book & arts shows on radio and television.
Kate hosts the pre & post performance interview series at Chichester Festival Theatre in Sussex, chairs Platform Events for the National Theatre in London, as well as interviewing writers, directors, campaigners and actors at literary and theatre festivals in the UK and beyond. Kate was awarded a Fellowship at the Writer’s House in Amsterdam in 2019. She is also Professor of Creative Writing & Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester.
Kate is now based full-time in Chichester but goes back to Languedoc as often as she can. She’s looking forward to the release of the second novel in ‘The Burning Chambers’ series, The City of Tears – set in Paris, Amsterdam and Chartres – which will publish in the UK and the US in May 2020.
Kate was honoured to be presented with a medal for services to culture by the City of Carcassonne. It is because of buying a tiny house in the shadow of the medieval city walls of Carcassonne in 1989 – and becoming inspired by the landscape, the beauty and the history of the region – that Kate became the writer she is.