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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful first book in a new Trilogy, 3 Sep 2008
L. J. Roberts (Oakland, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Last Troubadour: Song of Montsegur (Hardcover)
THE LAST TROUBADOUR (Hist/Mys/Susp-Ramon Troubadour-France-1241) - Ex
Armstrong, Derek - 1st in Trilogy
Künati, 2007, US Hardcover - ISBN: 1601640102

First Sentence: The approaching Mayday festival drew larger than normal crowds to the unholy city of Carcassonne.

It's 1241, Pope Gregory is soon to die and the Inquisition is responsible for the torture, murder and burning of those deemed heretics. Dame Esclarmonde de Foix, the High Lady of the Carther Christians has been captured and brought to Carcassone to be tried as a heretic.

Ramon is a Troubadour whose mother had been burned at the stake. With the aid of a scores, a Templer, the Baug Balar entertainers and other friends and allies, Ramon has a plan has a plan to rescue the Lady.

What a remarkable book. Armstrong symbolizes each of the main characters with a card from the Tarot deck, but each character is also taken from history and the events of the time. It is not necessary to have any knowledge of the Tarot to understand or enjoy this story, yet I found it interesting to learn how old it is.

It's hard to say enough about the characters. Many of them develop as the story progresses. There is Ramon, the talented, fair and roguish troubadour; Arnot, the strong and tattered Templar, Nevarra, an albino woman with a white owl who can cast magic; and many others. They become real; you cheer for the heroes and heroines and you despise villains.

The story is set after the Crusades to the Holy Lands and the Cathar Crusade, during the time of Inquisition. Armstrong, through his sense of place and the characters, illustrates the brutality of the period. The descriptions of the battles, torture and deaths are graphic and horrible. These are offset these with scenes of humor, charm, romance and a touch of magic; black and white. The action in the book escalates with each chapter to a wonderful conclusion.

But it's not the end. Book 2 of the trilogy, "The Last Quest," is due out October 1st and I've placed my order.
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The Last Troubadour: Song of Montsegur
The Last Troubadour: Song of Montsegur by Derek Armstrong (Hardcover - 1 Sep 2007)
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