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Publisher's Summary

In 1300, the French region of Languedoc had been cowed under the authority of both Rome and France since Pope Innocent III 's Albigensian Crusade nearly a century earlier. That crusade almost wiped out the Cathars, a group of heretical Christians whose beliefs threatened the authority of the Catholic Church. But decades of harrowing repression - enforced by the ruthless Pope Boniface VIII; the Machiavellian French King Philip the Fair, of France; and the pitiless grand inquisitor of Toulouse; Bernard Gui (the villain in The Name of the Rose) - had bred resentment. In the city of Carcassonne, anger at the abuses of the Inquisition reached a boiling point and a great orator and fearless rebel emerged to unite the resistance among Cathar and Catholic alike. The people rose up, led by the charismatic Franciscan friar Bernard Dlicieux and for a time reclaimed control of their lives and communities.

Having written the acclaimed chronicle of the Cathars The Perfect Heresy, Stephen O'Shea returns to the medieval world to chronicle a rare and remarkable story of personal courage and principle standing up to power, amidst the last vestiges of the endlessly fascinating Cathar world.

©2011 Stephen O’Shea (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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  • 08-04-15

Fascinating

This one's worth your time. The story is riveting, the window into a period that's rarely taught is valuable, and the man at the center of the book is exceptional. The author hits the right balance between scholarship and entertainment. And the vocal performance is good (although a little over done in a few moments).

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Listen closely


An important story of an important man, but hard to follow for unfamiliar names and places, and who played what roll. My ears perked up and I focused during scenes of torture or the mention of places I've visited and recognized, and then I'd drift off during the politics and background regarding a new character to the story. I need to listen to it all again.