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4.7 out of 5 stars
46
4.7 out of 5 stars
Daughters Of The Grail
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on 6 September 2017
This is probably my least favourite of all Elizabeth Chadwick's books, that being said it's still a great read. It focuses on the Albigensian Crusade in France in the early thirteenth century, this part I loved as I knew nothing about it before reading this. I think the bit I wasn't as keen on was the mysticism and magical powers Bridget and Magda seem to have, I like the history Chadwick presents in her novels but this was straying into fantasy in parts and it just got a bit weird.
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on 17 October 2017
Wonderful. I have read a lot about the Cathar suppression, the brutality. This novel def. brings the whole dreadful historical politically based slaughter to life.
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on 25 July 2017
A good read
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on 25 August 2017
Not her best. I've read a few Elizabeth Chadwick and normally really enjoy them. But this one felt went on a bit too long, and I was glad when it was over.
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on 22 December 2012
Another spectacular novel by Elizabeth Chadwick, whose lengthy series of books on medieval England is truly outstanding, containing such depth and detail within. This beautiful book is about religious contention and rivalry amongst those within the church and those within court; whose ambitions lead to catastrophic changes. The author skillfully blends authentic period details with modern convention to produce such emotional drama, which is both intense and powerfully stirring. The historical detail within this book is exquisite, thus producing such atmosphere and realism within the narrative. The characters are totally beguiling, within a most intriguing and enjoyable storyline that fascinates one throughout. I would like to ask that you prepare yourself to be dazzled by this historical masterpiece that evokes its genre perfectly, as a great representation of the medieval era. Convincing and compelling you will be swept away by the conflict, the shocking drama and the glittering details to our past that add a touch of nostalgia to a reminiscent, evocative narrative.

Thirteenth-century France: Bridget has grown up mastering the mystical gifts of her ancestor Mary Magdalene, whose unbroken female lineage has kept the legacy of wisdom alive for thousands of years. But the all-powerful Catholic Church has sworn to destroy Bridget for using her healing talents and supernatural abilities.
Bridget's duty to continue the bloodline leads her into the arms of Raoul de Montvallant - a Catholic. But when the Church's savage religious intolerance causes Raoul to turn rebel, a terrible vengeance is executed by Simon de Montfort, the unstoppable Catholic leader...

As a fan of historical fiction and works such as `The Pillars of the Earth' and `World without end' by Ken Follett, that both contain references to the church, I was naturally intrigued to read this book. I personally feel that the past is brought to life more vividly when the storyline is based upon the power of the church and in particular the Catholic Church, that for so many years held such sway over the ruling of monarchs and the governing of such a great nation. It was a time of selfish ambition, of conflict and disagreement within the church, of harsh ruling and betrayal. Reading from around the time of King Henry VIII and backwards to the Thirteenth-century, within this great timeline is such change and revolution that it is something I greatly enjoy discovering through literature. There was still animosity against `magic' and the unexplained, such as Witchcraft or supernatural abilities that went against the Catholic ruling - hence as an example for the character Bridget.

This is such a fascinating, interesting read and one that will certainly appeal to those who not only enjoy this genre but who are also interested in the Church. The writing is just spectacular and this is a series that I urge you to discover, for books by Elizabeth Chadwick do really take your breath away!
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on 27 December 2007
I'm a huge fan of historical fiction and this is one of my favourite novels, on par with MISTS OF AVALON and PILLARS OF THE EARTH, if not in scope (this one is only 500 pages long) then in literary experience.

Set in 13th century France, DAUGHTERS OF THE GRAIL (also known as CHILDREN OF DESTINY) tells the story of the Cathar faith, a spiritual movement of Christian origins that opposed the corruption, violence and materialism of the Catholic Church. As the Cathar movements gains momentum, the Catholic leaders organize a bloody crusade (now known as the Albigensian Crusade) to wipe out all "heretics".

Bridget, a powerful healer and psychic descended from Mary Magdalene, is at the heart of the story. Her role is to carry the on the spiritual blood lineage (the Holy Grail) and pass on her healing talents, while evading persecution by the Catholic Church. Other characters include Luke, a Templar Knight, Raoul, a noble Cathar sympathizer, Claire, his wife, Friar Bernard an over-zealous Catholic and Simon de Monford, the vicious crusade leader. All characters are intertwined in a delicious web of drama and adventure, sprinkled with a few romantic sub-plots.

On her website, Chadwick describes how she uses social re-enactment to immerse herself in a specific period of history - this is evident in her writing. The descriptions are so vivid, the characters so believable and the details so engrossing, you forget you are reading fiction.

I heartily recommend this book!
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on 20 February 2017
I have been reading later work by Elizabeth Chadwick, but this earlier work is definitely up to her usual standard. The setting for this tale of the Languedoc region of France during the so called Cathar 'heresy' is gripping and character driven. The Cathars grew from a small sect who sought to live by simpler religious precepts and rejected the absolutism of the Catholic Church, into a popular movement. Their growing influence in the region brought them into conflict with Rome and with other territorial and political agendas at play, a crusade against them was launched, lasting for decades and enacted with great cruelty. Simon de Montfort in pursuing the Cathars, comes into direct conflict with the people of the region both noble and otherwise, who are tolerant of this form of faith, happily co-existing.

Raoul and Claire are newlyweds at the outset of this religious war, Bridget is the direct descendent of Mary Madgalene and seeking a father for the daughter who will inherit her lineage and considerable powers of healing and prophecy. Chadwick has created a vivid cast of characters on both sides of this increasingly vicious divide and the reader comes to care deeply for them over the years as their lives converge. The Cathar stronghold of Montsegur, the cities of Carcassone, Bezier and Narbonne are all victims of de Montford's ethnic cleansing. In one military action, his troops wonder how to tell heretics apart from ordinary Catholics: kill them all is the brutal instruction as "God will know his own".

There is an echo of Dan Brown here in the suggestion that the Holy Grail may be a person, rather than an object. The sense of time and place is acute, and all the characters have great emotional as well as physical struggles to reach a form of personal peace, however that comes to them.

A terrific read.
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on 17 November 2003
From the back cover: "Thirteenth-century France. Bridget has grown up mastering the mystical gifts of her ancestor, Mary Magdalene, whose unbroken female lineage has kept a legacy of wisdom alive for a thousand years. But the all-powerful Catholic church has sworn to destroy Bridget for using her healing talents and supernatural abilities.
Bridget's duty to continue the bloodline leads her into the arms of Raoul de Montvallant-a Catholic. But when the Church's savage religious intolerance causes Raoul to turn rebel, a terrible vengeance is exacted by Simon de Montfort, the unstoppable Catholic leader of a crusade against peaceful "heretics."
As the war rages on, it is the children of these passionate souls, Magda and Dominic, who must strive to preserve the ancient knowledge for future generations-and find the love and courage to endure..."
This is a highly engaging and exciting read! I'm not usually one for anything even remotely related to a French storyline, but this book is definitely an exception! It is an out-of-print title but I found a copy on the internet quite easily. READ IT, YOU WON'T BE SORRY YOU DID!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 January 2007
This is really one of the best books I have ever read. It's not Gone With the Wind or the Far Pavilions, but it's pretty darn close. So much of the historical fiction I read is centered in England, Scotland and Wales, and I enjoyed reading about this period in history in southern France and about a religion I knew nothing about (having not yet read The DaVinci Code).

This was an exciting tale of Cathars, Knights Templar, evil evil priests, Bridget and her daughter Magda - descended from Mary Magdelene, all battling the Roman Catholic Church that is bent on destroying them, and finishes with a heart-stopping page turning, can't put it down until it's done finish. It always astounds me the evil that men will do in the name of "god", and that it continues to this day.

I had found this book used in the US last year, and the first time I read it I knew nothing about Simon DeMontfort (the second) and what he tried to accomplish for England before his tragic end. Although I know the part he plays in this novel, with his bastard half brother Dominic, is just a story, it was nice to see some glimpses of him in a minor role as a young boy and then a young man. To learn more about this incredible man, please read Sharon Kay Penman's Welsh Trilogy, Here be Dragons, Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning.

I am always amazed at how this author so effortlessly sucks you into another century with her descriptions of the sights, sounds, food, clothes and battles of another time. Highly highly recommended, and well worth the cost of shipping from the UK.
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on 11 October 2012
This is the sort of novel I think you will either love or hate, no inbetweens. Set in 13thC France it tells the tale of Briget and her daughter Magda ( said to be a descendant of Mary Magdalene) and their battle with the Roman Catholic Church who are against their claims to be healers, psychics and spiritual leaders. Its quite heavy in parts reminding me of DV Code but the author has such a deft hand at descriptive prose you can almost feel you are there: the battle scenes, the costumes, sights, sounds, smells it all adds to the making of this story. I thought it was fantastic and would recommend it highly. Elizabeth Chadwick at her best so go on, give it a try!
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