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Labyrinth Paperback – 11 Jan 2006

3.2 out of 5 stars 846 customer reviews

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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: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (846 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
What I find most shocking about this novel is how something so obviously bad - and please I really do mean bad - turned into a bestseller. How and why did it get amazingly excellent reviews by "critics" in respectable newspapers, how did Richard and Judy recommended it in their bookclub. Did they actually read this leaden tome, or feel obliged to do the author a favour because of her celebrity status and her connections to the publishing world.
While I'm open to reading badly written books with a good plot, or tedious books that are well-written, being both badly written and having a shoddy story is unforgivable. We can argue all day how this got published, but it still comes down to the same frustrating question. Did the publishers actually read this??
The writing is dire and full of mistakes. Missing words, bad grammar, bad spelling, character's names get mixed up. Awful similes and metaphors. Repititious phrases that should have been cut down during an edit (was it proof read at any stage?). It's the sort of novel a first time author would write, one to go on the fire while he/she writes a better one.
As a so-called champion of women authors, Mosse probably does more damage to female authors than you would think possible. Not only because this highly-recommended book is so bad, but mostly because her women protaganists are so unbelievable and basically stupid. She gives our heroine a Phd, but nothing of any substance to prove how resourceful or intelligent she is. There is sex here, but so coy and again badly written you wish Mosse had just not bothered.
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