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Labyrinth [Paperback]

Kate Mosse
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (709 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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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: 12.8 x 4.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (709 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,453 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
10 of 10 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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16 of 17 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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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Richard & Judy are wrong about this one 22 Jan 2006
By A Customer
Oh how I wanted to like this book. It sounded just like my sort of thing. Instead I struggled to the halfway point, then skipped to the last few chapters and skim-read to find out what happened in the end. The ending was just as boring as I feared it would be. The use of Occitan words immediately followed with the English translation drove me mad. Poorly constructed, clumsily written and not one character to care about. That's about a day of my life I won't get back.
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135 of 150 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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142 of 158 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing 26 Jan 2006
I like thrillers, crime, historical novels and books with feisty female leads. From the first newspaper articles and reviews I've been waiting for this book to come out in paperback and was looking forward to wallowing in a great read. Unfortunately it wasn't.
The historical stuff was mostly good. Carcassone zinged to life and I want to go and visit. But I got so annoyed at the constant used of Occitan words followed by the translation. So you've got an Occitan dictionary Kate? Big deal. Ever heard the phrase "your research is showing"? So many times someone said "Ben", and we were given the translation "good". Once is enough: it's not that difficult to guess anyway!
Modern-day stuff was awful. Really poorly written, with poorly-delineated unexplained characters rushing all over the place. No thrills at all. I started counting the number of chapters that ended with someone being whacked over the head and "that was the last thing he heard before darkness overwhelmed him.." I would guess that this book was written and edited in a tearing hurry to capitalise on the Da Vinci effect, but it does Kate Mosse (who always seems very intelligent on Radio 4) no favours at all.
And as for the ending. What was that all about? Can anyone explain to me what happened? What was the secret of the grail? What was the secret of the books and the parchment? What did it all mean? Who had captured whom? Who was working for whom? It just felt like a random bunch of people in a cave, some of them wearing robes, some of them with guns (and I'm not giving anything away here). Very flat indeed.
And as for the love interest between Alice and - whatever his name was... well, there was none.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
cant believe there are so many negative comments about this fantastic book. I was hooked from the start and couldnt put the book down. Go on try it ignore the negative remarks.....
Published 19 days ago by trixie
4.0 out of 5 stars Kate Mosse triumph
It took a while to get used to the jumping about from the present day to the medieval parallel. Did not enjoy it quite as much as "Citadel ".
Published 1 month ago by Mary Kirkwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab
I hope Kate Mosse never stops writing - her novels are so well researched and this is no exception. Read the trilogy!
Published 1 month ago by JaneH
2.0 out of 5 stars I had such high hopes for this book.
I love the idea of this book. The plot line is intriguing. The balance between the past and the present day interesting, though possibly sometimes a bit confusing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jen
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
An excellent series thoroughly enjoyed them all. You are taken back in time and have a real feel for the era
Published 1 month ago by Mrs D Mcdonald
4.0 out of 5 stars Labyrinth by Kate moss
a good story that kept you on your toes. Would recommend this book to anyone.looking forward to reading the next boom.
Published 2 months ago by pollypocket
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm going to be brave!
Despite all the Labyrinth-bashing here I'm stating for the record - I liked this novel.

Yes, you do have to pay attention, and I quickly learned that as a late-night... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars A M A Z I N G !!
What more can I say?? a real novel, with something for everyone. It's one of those books that you never want to finish, but when it does you feel rather sad that it's over. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lean
5.0 out of 5 stars Very satisfied
Very satisfied
Thank you, all came on time,we where all pleaded with the items we received recommend to all my family and friends
Published 2 months ago by sheila clarke
1.0 out of 5 stars Sacked it
First book I haven't ever finished. It was sooo boring, long and drawn out. The wishy washy characters were hard to get into, and although the idea of the story seemed adventurous... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jaxhida
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