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Labyrinth [Paperback]

Kate Mosse
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (718 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

11 Jan 2006

July 1209: in Carcassonne a seventeen-year-old girl is given a mysterious book by her father which he claims contains the secret of the true Grail. Although Alais cannot understand the strange words and symbols hidden within, she knows that her destiny lies in keeping the secret of the labyrinth safe...

July 2005: Alice Tanner discovers two skeletons in a forgotten cave in the French Pyrenees. Puzzled by the labyrinth symbol carved into the rock, she realises she's disturbed something that was meant to remain hidden. Somehow, a link to a horrific past - her past - has been revealed.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; New Ed edition (11 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752877321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752877327
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (718 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kate Mosse is the author of three non-fiction books, three plays and six novels, including her multi-million selling international No 1 bestselling Languedoc Trilogy. Translated into 37 languages and published in 40 countries, the first of the series, Labyrinth, was the bestselling book in the UK in 2006, named as one of Waterstone's best novels of the past twenty five years and was made into a feature film for Channel 4 television by Ridley Scott staring John Hurt, Jessica Brown-Findlay and Tom Felton. The second in the series - the fin-de-siècle Tarot tale, Sepulchre - and her stand alone novella, The Winter Ghosts - were also No 1 bestsellers. The third and final bestselling novel in the Trilogy, Citadel was published to outstanding reviews in October 2012 and shortlisted for the Specsavers Most Popular Novel of the Year award. Set during World War II in Carcassonne, it tells the story of courage and bravery under Occupation based around an all-female group of Resistance fighters. Citadel publishes in paperback in the UK June 2013 and in translation throughout the world.

In October 2013 Kate's first ever collection of stories The Mistletoe Bride & Other Winter Tales will be published. Her short fiction and essays have previously appeared in a range of magazines and books including Midsummer Nights (Quercus), The Book Lovers' Appreciation Society (Orion) and Fifty Shades of Feminism (Virago). She has also written introductions to new editions of classic novels - including Captain Blood by Raphael Sabbatini, Night Falls on the City by Sarah Gainham and Goldfinger by Ian Fleming. Other recent publications play Endpapers (Oberon Books), commissioned by the Bush Theatre for 'Sixty-Six Books', and Chichester Festival Theatre at Fifty in 2012 (Unbound).

Known as a campaigner for libraries and for promoting international writing by women, Kate is the Co-Founder & Honorary Director of the Women's Prize for Fiction - previously the Orange Prize for Fiction - and has advised prizes and festivals throughout the world in this field. In 2012, Kate was named by the Bookseller as one of the fifty most influential people in British publishing, and was presented with the 'Spirit of Everywoman Award' for her contribution to women and the arts in November.

Kate is also on the board of the National Theatre in London and is Patron of The Fishbourne Centre and of the Consort of Twelve in Sussex, where she lives. Kate was awarded an OBE in June 2013.

Product Description


The author has combined an ingenious adventure story with a wonderfully detailed account of the historical background of the Languedoc ... the result is entirely compelling and full of incidental pleasures. (Christina Koning THE TIMES)

Pacey and addictive (Kate Saunders THE TIMES)

Saturated with a passionate understanding of the region's past in a way that puts more conventional historical accounts to shame. Mosse wears her learning so lightly, knitting her historical research so neatly into her narrative, that we never get the slightest sense of being preached or lectured to... [conveying] the texture of various patches of the past with such rich complexity (GUARDIAN)

a gripping holy grail quest ... the story line runs on knowledge and fun - Carcassonne never looked so good. (Anthony Sattin SUNDAY TIMES)

This is a novel clearly fuelled by an authorial obsession with a history, region and concept. The settings are evocative and... there are also some powerful dramatic scenes: the climactic moments where the good and evil women meet and battle it out are particularly compelling... [An] intriguing...passionate book. (SUNDAY TIMES)

LABYRINTH is very much a Girl's Own story: a grail quest in which women aren't helpless creatures to be rescued, or decorative bystanders, but central to the action, with the capacity to change history (OBSERVER)

A spellbinding adventure story (REAL)

An action packed adventure of modern conspiracy and medieval passion ... a Grail gripper [and] elegantly written timeslip novel set in France (INDEPENDENT)

A thumping read: Mosse creates a world so complete I began to miss it before the last page. More intriguing than Dan Brown, a conundrum with lasting depth and vigour, LABYRINTH captivates from the first page until the final twist (Denise Mina)

Book Description

Three secrets. Two women. One Grail . . .

The spellbinding No1. bestselling novel of destiny and betrayal.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather disappointing 9 April 2006
By alianaw
I had hig hopes for this novel, but unfortunately found it very dull. It's much too long, and although the parallel structure of modern and medival stories was one of the things that attracted me to the novel in the first place, I ended up finding the jumps in time rather irritating. There's far too much description too, as when a character walks through a market and everything, absolutely everything, is described, over several pages. On a positive note, it's good to see a novel with female protagonists.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some good ideas, but a frustrating pace 25 Aug 2006
The book centers around the mystery of the Holy Grail (or at least this author's take on it) and the people that have fought to protect it or exploit it for the past 800 years. I thought this was a good device, along with linking the main characters from the 1200s to the present day; sort of like people's spirits remaining the same, no matter how different their surroundings are.

However, the author took FOREVER to get to the crux of the story. Based on the hints dropped maddeningly throughout the first 450 pages of a 600 page book, the reader is led to believe that this secret is something that people have been pursuing and protecting and dying and killing for for thousands of years. The secret is then divulged in the last 150 pages of the book, barely giving the reader time to digest it and understand its implications, or to just contemplate the scope of it. Why I should I bother about the protagonist risking her life to protect something if I don't know what it is? How is the reader to sympathise and relate to the characters if they barely have an idea as to what motivates them? More attention should have been paid to this bit of the story.

So basically, its a good idea but more could have been done to develop it and truly draw the reader in, or at least shave off a couple of 100 pages. And yeah, the language was kind of schoolgirlish.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Compelling but ultimately disappointing 27 Feb 2013
By Tina
I'd wanted to read Kate Mosse for ages, but never got around to it. I finally settled down with Labyrinth, though, and was really looking forward to it: on the surface, it's exactly the kind of story I love, with past and present day elements, intrigue, mystery, and perhaps even a supernatural element. The one very good thing I'd say about it is that, having started, I definitely wanted to keep reading, so she certainly captured and then maintained my interest. Unfortunately, that's the only really positive comment I have. Apart from that, I found it confusing, and hard to keep track of the different characters across two timeframes. Both historical and contemporary strands of the story (but especially the latter) became increasingly far-fetched and almost cartoonish in places. And, ultimately, I was disappointed: I finished the book with no real sense of satisfaction or revelation - and no desire to read any of her other novels, nor recommend this one to friends. In fact, I'm slightly bemused as to how it became a bestseller. It's a shame, because I really thought I'd love it - but perhaps my hopes were too high and I expected too much.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hugely anticipated but.... 11 Sep 2005
Yes, I bought this with birthday vouchers and settled down for a good read. I wanted so much to enjoy it, the blurb really caught my imagination. Repetition was the first criticism, and I know there were recurring themes but I would have expected new language used: "velvet darkness" and "velvet black" etc.
But the most glaring disappointments were the errors in time - at one point Alice tells the solicitor that her parents were killed in 1993, but the genealogy chart in Grace's house showed 1982. When Alice is giving her details to the police at the beginning of the book she gives her name as Alice Grace Tanner. Then her aunt, Grace Alice Tanner turns up and you think "okay, she's called after her aunt," but then she finds out that her father didn't know about his sister. Later Alice sees her name as Alice Helena on the genealogy chart.
Didn't anybody READ this book before it was published? What happened to the editing for continuity? Come on, Orion, I know it was a good story but did you have to race to get it out before the Da Vinci Code film so much that good editing was thrown out of the window? Readers deserve better for their hard-earned than a cynical money-making rush for the publishers.
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137 of 152 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible 11 Jan 2006
By _psyche
I've long been interested in the many and varied 'grail conspiracies', having stumbled across The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail at the age of 15. The recent outpouring of novels of the subject have been a big disappointment to me, badly written and researched, and this is no exception.
I'm sorry to say Ms Mosse's writing is clumsy to the point where it takes actual effort to read. One of the classic rules of writing is 'Show, don't tell', in other words, instead of telling us that someone is kind, let their actions show us. But Ms Mosse tells us again and again how clever and kind and brave her heros are, while giving us no evidence of those traits. Becuase of this, it feels as though none of her characters have any personality, indeed they often act inexplicably and completely at odds with the despcrition of them we have been given. For example, we are told that Alais' father was entrusted with one of the grail secrets because of his fine qualities, because he could be relied on to protect it against all odds. But as soon as the time comes when he needs to act he buries his head in the sand, procrastinates like a child, and ultimately completely fails in his duty. We are told he is a noble person, but his behaviour in general is short-sighted, bullying, and dense, making it completely implausible that anyone would trust him with a secret and duty of that magnitude.
Her general narrative is no better. She doesn't manage to make anything that happens make sense. I felt throughout that she had planned a string of events that wanted to happen without considering whether they made sense either in their context or in terms of her characters' intentions and personalities.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Great read couldn't put it down. Full of twist and turns. Nice to have a book that puts past and present together.
Published 1 minute ago by Janbean75
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I was captivated by this book - so much that I had to visited Carcassonne for myself!
Published 1 hour ago by DennyB
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a brilliant book, but having visited the city even more ...
Have just returned from Carcassonne and re- read Labyrinth. Still a brilliant book, but having visited the city even more meaningful. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Songstress
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A really good read if you like history
Published 20 days ago by Diane Bartholomew
5.0 out of 5 stars Kate Moss fan
I enjoy reading Kate Moss as a change from my other choices. She is able to build a stoty well with good characterisation.
Published 27 days ago by pete
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this book
Good read - liked the jumping between time zones, kept reader interested looking forward to reading more of this author
Published 1 month ago by Jinty
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good quality
This book arrived very quickly, in excellent condition. Brilliant gift for my dad who really enjoys reading, and found this particularly interesting after visiting the Carcassonne... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Zoe Muskett
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get into this at all!
I only read the first chapter, really slow and difficult to get on with. I hate not finishing a book but life is just too short to work this hard!
Published 1 month ago by KWF
5.0 out of 5 stars this story had me gripped
Fantastic story, couldn't stop reading and once I'd finished the book still thinking about it. I read the other two books in the trilogy.
Published 2 months ago by debs.b.
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I liked this but make sure you are used to stories that are like the Matrix because the timelines are confusing.
Published 2 months ago by SMcE
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