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By Kate Mosse

You may notice that I don't review many devotional (Hare Krishna) books on this site. It's not that I don't read them (although I don't read enough); its more that I like to be brutally critical when reviewing books, and quite honestly I don't like to do this with great literature that may take me several readings to appreciate. Well, it's pretty much like that with this book. Mrs Mosse is obviously not only a great writer but also a devoted scholar of the period she is describing - medieval southern France during wars between Protestants and Catholics.

So, who am I to criticise this book?

It's bloody well-written. And it's bloody. The reader has no choice to be drawn in to two women's plaited stories, one in the present, one hundreds of years in the past. This reads much more like the kind of book which you want to read after Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code than most of Brown's other output. As the plots unfold, we understand close parallels between lives and desires for esoteric knowledge and power. Mosse keeps us believing in and caring for the characters throughout. The plot's climax is, despite its strangeness is completely believable and satisfying.

You do have to work hard sometimes; this is a result of the book's attention to detail, which the reader has to match. It is also pretty heavy with the battles and massacres. So, be warned: this is a great and inspiring book making serious demands of the reader, with consequent rewards.