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Labyrinth [Paperback]

Kate Mosse
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (735 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.


Frequently Bought Together

Labyrinth + Sepulchre + Citadel
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  • Citadel £8.36

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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 (735 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kate Mosse is an international bestselling author with sales of more than five million copies in 38 languages. Her fiction includes the novels Labyrinth (2005), Sepulchre (2007), The Winter Ghosts (2009), and Citadel (2012), as well as an acclaimed collection of short stories,The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales (2013). Kate's new novel, The Taxidermist's Daughter, will be published in autumn 2014.

Kate is the Co-Founder and Chair of the Board of the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction (previously the Orange Prize) and in June 2013, was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to literature. She lives in Sussex.

Product Description

Review

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
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Compelling but ultimately disappointing 27 Feb 2013
By Tina
Format:Paperback
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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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some good ideas, but a frustrating pace 25 Aug 2006
Format:Paperback
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a good read 19 May 2008
Format:Paperback
This book does not even deserve ONE star but as there is no provision for this rating, it has the lowest possible from me.
I was lead to believe, from various sources, (several on the cover, writers of which are either sycophantic or well paid to give favourable reviews) that this is a good book - sadly, they are all WRONG! The characters are shallow and everything is a disjointed mish-mash and among the more annoying things in the book is the use of the esoteric language to describe various happenings and every day items; sometimes they are translated but not always and you either have to guess or look it up in the glossary (where, incidentally, not everything appears!)
Obviously, a great deal of pain-staking research had to be done for this book, but it should have been put to much better use.
All in all a waste of reading time - I did not even bother to finish it because I could not have cared less about the eventual fate of the various un-interesting characters.
This is the first of Mosse's books I have read - don't think I'll bother with any more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect literature - or much else 10 Dec 2005
By Jane
Format:Paperback
This book makes use of a great subject that's been done to death, mostly badly. That's why I bought it - forever optimistic. However writing doesn't come much worse than this. It's like teen fiction with the occasional french phrase thrown in, presumably for authenticity although even that fails as the author can't speak french.

We're all looking for a good, well-told yarn with believable characters, evidence of historical research, and above all a good story. Aren't we? I urge anyone who might be considering buying this book because they're looking for a stonking good read set in a fascinating period in history to give this a miss. Instead read the reviews for a novel called As Meat Loves Salt - a beautifully written book that wasn't as lucky as this one so never got hyped.

If you insist on getting this then don't take it on holiday - it weighs a ton.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why is this book a bestseller? 8 April 2006
Format:Paperback
My book club hated this book, and 3 of us couldn't finish it. I couldn't remember when I last read anything so lacking in characterisation, descriptive powers, or a coherent plot. What was most disappointing was the failure to make medieval Carcassone truly come alive. The author's way of conveying busyness and noise is to give lists: 'The narrow streets of the Cite were now flooded with hawkers, merchants, livestock, soldiers, farriers, jongleurs, wives of the consuls and their servants and preachers.' The main characters were all ciphers (Alais, small and plain, her father, big and shouty), and we found Alice quite unbelievable - surely no one could be so utterly selfish, unprofessional and stupid? Who were all the sinister men in light suits? Why on earth does Alais leave the ring on her father's body? My overwhelming impression was that this was a book originally written for teenagers, and a canny editor told the author to put in some sex and violence so that it could be aimed at the chick-lit market. This book is a waste of time.
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