In a remote village near the English coast, residents gather in a misty churchyard. More than a decade into the 20th century, superstition still holds sway: It is St. Mark's Eve....
The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known....
When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation....
A posthumous recipient of the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, Marion Zimmer Bradley reinvented - and rejuvenated - the King Arthur mythos with her extraordinary Mists of Avalon series....
When journalist Maureen Paschal begins the research for a new book, she has no idea that she is stepping into an ancient mystery....
England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes that it will be over by Christmas....
"Bloom where you're planted," is the advice Christine Bolz receives from her beloved Oma. But 17-year-old domestic Christine knows there is a whole world waiting beyond her small German village....
The prize-winning memoir of one of the world's great writers, about coming of age and finding her voice amid the hardships of Stalinist Russia....
Lady Lilith Montgomery is the daughter of the sixth Duke of Radnor. She is also a witch....
Just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his 11th birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face....
Arthur Prescott is happiest when surrounded by the ancient manuscripts of the Barchester Cathedral library, nurturing his obsession with the Holy Grail....
Maisie Dobbs isn't just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence and the patronage of her benevolent employers she works her way into college at Cambridge....
July 2005: Alice Tanner stumbles upon two skeletons during an archaeological dig in the mountains outside Carcassonne. Inside the hidden tomb where the bones lie crumbling, she experiences an overwhelming sense of malevolence, as well as a creeping realisation that, however impossible it seems, she can somehow understand the mysterious ancient words carved into the rock. Too late, Alice realises she's set in motion a terrifying sequence of events that she cannot control.
"A lovely, intelligent novel of discovery and loss." (Nicci Gerrard)
"A gripping holy grail quest." (Sunday Times)
I learned a lot of history from this book, and it's not difficult to confirm or refute the author's historical claims. I'm glad I was not born in the 12th century - she paints a vivid picture of day-to-day life in the early 1200's with clarity and occasionally disturbing detail. The story develops cleverly with the interplay between then and now done skillfully and in a way that keeps your interest. The characters are engaging, but sometimes a little too type-cast as goodies and baddies.
Beware - there are some stomach-churningly violent passages here, but not in a gratuitous way - I suspect they really did behave like that back then. (for example the destruction of Bezier is historically accurate as far as I can tell). The conclusion is satisfying, and ties together a carefully woven story quite neatly, although some of it you will have guessed as you listened.
To grasp all the intricacies of this book I listened to it twice and profited by doing so - it's fairly complex and keeping track of who's doing what in the middle third is not always easy - there are some early passages that are crucial to grasp but seem irrelevant on first listen.
Dan Brown should learn lessons from Kate Mosse. This story is everything the Da Vinci Code could have been - complex, engaging, intricate and clever, with easily discernible fact from fiction. Thoroughly enjoyable.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
I am forcing myself to finish listening to this book as I always try to finish what I start (reading-wise anyway). However, it is just plain atrocious. I can't make my mind up whether it is the choice of narrator, who no matter what each character is saying seems to be able to inflict a whining tone (you know, "poor little me"), or whether the writing simply lends itself to this type of narrative.
It would appear that, except for the main character, everyone spends their time being unreasonably angry or agitated and shouting. Also, the plot is taking too long to develop.
I'm very surprised to find it so hard to stomach listening to a book that is supposed to be an award winner. It's also just the kind of storyline that I usually love, but Labyrinth is proving immensely unsatisfying and I can only listen to it in very small sittings.
Sorry, Kate Mosse, but it is highly unlikely that I will be listening to any other books of yours, and I don't think, Maggie Mash that I'll be listening to anything you've narrated either.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I've just finished Labyrinth and was engrossed through the whole book. Yes, the book IS long, but I had trouble putting it down. I'm fascinated by this period of history and it was very interesting to hear the point of view of the local inhabitants and Cathars. I also thoroughly enjoyed the way Kate Mosse intertwined the two stories and look forward to reading her future books. The narrator also did an excellent job.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This book was hard to get into, got interesting in the middle, made me add Carcassonne on my list of places to go, then disintegrated into boring actions scenes and a preposterous revelation.
There is little more I can add.
I chose this book because I was looking for something in the genre of the excellent "Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis (highly recommended!). By contrast, I found Labyrinth incredibly disappointing. I finally have packed it in, almost at the end, as I care less about how it finishes than in saving myself from being insulted by the frayed story lines, flat writing and unbelievability of it all. While it starts off with a compelling and tense opening, the book soon becomes a tattered mess of characters, plot lines and eras. As a history novel it falls short in every aspect: personal life, political factions, warfare, interplay between the sexes, locales, etc. The characters are stereotyped, shallow and unappealing. The shifts between the two eras -- modern day and the Pays d'Oc in the 1200s -- are stilted. The romantic side is equally facile. It hints at being supernatural as a grail story, with some dream sequences thrown in, but can't make up its mind. I come away thinking that this would be the sort of effort you'd expect from a high school student with a big imagination but undeveloped writing and researching skills. The two positives are the narration, which is quite well done (though a bit whiny as others have suggested, but maybe that's the writing) and the fact that it got me interested in the Albigensian Crusade. Some have compared it to Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" and perhaps the auther was wanting to cash in on this genre. If so, it's done poorly. Save your Audible credit and get "Doomsday Book" as a fine history novel instead.
There is no doubt that Dan Brown set the cat among the pigeons with his tale of the Grail for it set up that wonderful condition within the mind of the reader/listener of “I always knew…”. But Kate fails to achieve the same sense of wonderment, of understanding. It moves from Century to Century and back again in a disarming manner which makes it complex to follow. Her literary style is rich and as with any good narrative, one can ‘see’ the scenes she portrays, but the tale becomes so implausible it loses that essence of ‘could be true when you think about it.’ A shame really.
I whish I had read this book before going to beautiful Carcassonne. Things would have looked different having this story in your head.
Gripping story, vivid descriptions which brought the book alive. A lot of characters so you need a good memory.
Great narrator who reads with passion. Highly recommended.
I wish I'd bought the abridged version! The story is so long. I find myself saying 'just get on with it' much to the consternation of others standing nearby.
Actually the story is pretty good. The narrator lets the side down by giving the French what appears to be a Lancashire accent which really grates. Aaagh. The French accent in some places is fine so I presume it was a deliberate (and bad) decision of the narrator to give some characters a more regional accent. It doesn't work!
There are lots and lots of cliches at the start, but it does settle down if you persevere. Not a bad book really but a combination of the narration and length lets it down.
31 of 32 people found this review helpful
This is a mediocre novel, made worse by terrible narration.
The characters frequently display illogical and poorly explained behaviour, and the entire thing is written in a way that suggests the author was hoping it would be made into a movie. Add to this the fact that the narrator makes every line of dialogue sound like the character is gasping for breath, plus the fact that her accent is entirely non-French, and you end up with an audio book that had me cringing every few pages.
Basically, if you want a good, gripping Holy Grail story, go and watch Indiana Jones, or if you're really desperate go for the Da-Vinci code, but don't buy this.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
I was wary of buying this book at first as there are so many copy-cats of the poor Da Vinci Code, many of them simply poor too. When I started to read this, I felt that the aithour was a little overblown at first, but the beautful narration began to colour and colour the story - not just the characters but the places too. I began to feel I was seeing a film in my head - in HDTV. I was gradually pulled into the flashback style story, making guesses as to the links, sometimes right, most times wrong. Like a wonderful symphony, all the instruments slowly start to play the same tune, building to the crescendo of a finish that meant I listened until almost 3 in the morning to find out what had happened/was happening (and I had promised myself I would stop listening at midnight and end the following night). I couldn't stop. Sad, enlightening and full of wonderful period and historical detail - I didn't feel preached at, I felt informed.
93 of 104 people found this review helpful
Half an hour into this novel and my head was spinning. It was puzzle after puzzle and I just kpt thinking, when's something going to happen? It was extremely hard to follow and I gave up after another hour or two. If you find it easy to concentrate on even the most complex plots then this book will be easy, but if you like a read to thrill and excite you without the requirement of a degree to follow what's happening, then give this one a miss.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
I had to give up on this book in the end. I found the narration extremely irritating, with all the ham and inexplicable french/yorkshire accents. Story seemed rather flat and slow moving too, but that may have been more due to my frustration at listening than the authors' writing.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
When I get a book from Audible, I alway work on the basis that nobody is going to go to the trouble of making an unabridged audio recording of a bad book. There will be many books that won't be to my taste, but no bad ones.
Well I was wrong. Labyrinth is a truly terrible book. It is hard to say how bad this book is without spoiling the plot which would be wrong, but suffice to say that the first chapter is indicative of the rest of the book. It has every cliched horror/thriller set up you can name crammed into one chapter. The vulnerable central character working alone, the surprise discovery of the creepy place, knowing it is stupid but being drawn in, going in with only a light to protect you, getting bad feelings but being drawn further, the vague sense of being familliar with the creepy place, and the list goes on. And on. And on.
Please, don't waste your money/credits on this terrible book.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
I must say that I hope the abridged version is better than this one. I found this book too long and very confusing. At mant points throughout the thread, I struggled to maintain my attention. This book is bordering on dull!
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
I think you notice the cliches more in an audio book but I'm afraid Kate Mosse wouldn't ever use an original description or simile if a tired and well worn one first came to mind. Aren't editors supposed to guide their authors away from the well trodden path. The story would have been great otherwise.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
An excellent story ready by a beautiful voice. The narration was lovely, but the s-l-o-w over....drama....tisa.....tion of the characters was extremely irritating and spoiled my enjoyment.
I recommend you read the book or find another presentation.
14 of 16 people found this review helpful
The book has an interesting premise and is undoubtedly well researched. The plot is a little slow to get going, but holds ones interest. However, there are much better thrillers out there. There are very many characters and as mentioned by another reviewer, this can get a little confusing. This wasn't one that I took the long route home for!
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
I chose this book because I like medieval mystery and the archaeological angle too. The narration kept me listening and I was enthralled by the ending. There was a point were I was confused by the different threads and characters but this was momentary. I have the next two books to listen to now!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful