Posts Tagged With: Kate Mosse

The Cave (Quick Read) by Kate Mosse

the cave

Synopsis from Amazon:

A QUICK READ – part of the WORLD BOOK DAY 2009 literacy initiative for emergent readers. March 1928. Freddie Smith is on a motoring holiday in the mountains of south west France. He is caught in a violent storm and his car crashes. He is forced to seek shelter in a boarding house in the nearby village of Axat. There he meets another guest in the tiny hotel, a pale and beautiful young woman called Marie. As the storm rages outside, she explains how the region was ripped apart by wars of religion in the 14th century. She tells how, one terrible night in March 1328, all the inhabitants of Axat were forced to flee from the soldiers into the mountains. The villagers took refuge in a cave, but when the fighting was over, no one came back. Their bodies were never found. Axat itself became a ghost town. When Freddie wakes the following morning, Marie has gone. Worse still, his car will take several days to repair and he has to stay at the boarding house for a few days more. To pass the time, he explores the mountains. Then he realises it is almost 600 years to the day since the villagers disappeared. He decides to go and look for the cave himself. Perhaps, he thinks, he might even find Marie? It is a decision he will live to regret.

This is a Quick Read book and only 97 pages. It is typical Mosse though, with secrets hidden in caves, disaster striking to keep Frank in this ghost town and someone from the past communicating to him so he finds the caves.

I found this book fairly predictable. When Frank met Marie you knew it was her ghost from the fourteenth century. And of course you knew he was going to head up the mountain to find the cave. There were a couple of surprises but it is such a short book that not a lot can happen in it.

Being so short, the characters didn’t have time to develop so I didn’t feel anything for them. It was an OK read but in hindsight it was nothing special. It was just so short and predictable. I enjoy Kate Mosse books and feel a bit let down by this book. It has left me unsatisfied really.

5/10

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The Cave by Kate Mosse

Synopsis:
March 1928. Frederick Smith is on a motoring holiday in the mountains of south west France. He is caught in a violent storm and his car crashes. He is forced to seek shelter in a boarding house in the nearby village of Axat. There is only one other guest in the tiny hotel, a pale and beautiful young woman called Marie. As the storm rages outside, she explains how the region was ripped apart by wars of religion in the 14th century. She tells how, one terrible night in March 1328, all the inhabitants of Axat were forced to flee from the soldiers into the mountains. The villagers took refuge in a cave, but when the fighting was over, no one came back. Their bodies were never found. Axat itself became a ghost town. When Fred wakes the following morning, Marie has gone. Worse still, his car will take several days to repair and he has to stay at the boarding house for a few days more. To pass the time, he explores the mountains. Then he realises it is almost 600 years to the day since the villagers disappeared. He decides to go and look for the cave himself. Perhaps, he thinks, he might even find Marie? It is a decision he will live to regret.

Review:
At just under 100 pages, this little gem of a novella lives up to its Quick Read origins very well – you can easily read it in your lunch hour and it would certainly entertain you admirably well through that time, so it’s probably just as well it’s short or you might forget to go back to work!

It’s very predictable, especially to those who have already read Labyrinth, and as the reader you are constantly several steps ahead of the protagonist, but it doesn’t matter – events unfils exactly as one hopes they will. The Cave reads like a classic ghost story, but that isn’t a bad thing, as setting even the “modern” part of the story a little in the past gives it a slightly more mysterious air and actually adds to its appeal.

Definitely one for fans of Kate Mosse, historical fiction, traditional ghost stories and France – The Cave has it all covered within 97 pages of delightful prose that quickly gets into the action and carries the reader along smoothly and swiftly to the perfect conclusion.

Rating: 7

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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Sepulchre ~ Kate Mosse

Synopsis:

An elderly priest brutally murdered. The body of a young man floating in the River Aude. A nervous woman sitting in a damask-draped room. A smiling man in the shadows. Four different people, scattered across France, scattered across the ages. The only link, the painted tarot cards they hold… SEPULCHRE is a spellbinding adventure that carries us back from the present day in the French spa-town of Rennes-les-Bains, first to the 19th century, and then further back into the stories of the ancient kings buried there with their treasure. For those who stumble upon the cards, unravelling the mystery of the painted deck will take them on a treacherous journey of forbidden knowledge, the power of the church and the pull of the occult. A tale of strange music, personal ruin, murderous greed and age-old secrets – prepare yourself to turn over the cards…
 
My thoughts:
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! I couldn’t put this book down. At a whopping 739 pages I was hooked right until the end.
 
The characters were brilliant and the two stories of Meredith and Leonie merged wonderfully. Lots of twists and turns and even though some of them were predictable it was still a very enjoyable book.
 
Fab!
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Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

Three secrets. Two women. One Grail.

The premise is simple – a woman stumbles upon a secret that could change the world, but she has no idea what it, or what her connection to it, actually is. She must unravel a mystery that transcends time and prevent the knowledge falling into the wrong hands. But who can she trust? It is a journey that will take Dr Alice Tanner not only back and forth across France, but time itself. Destiny can only take you so far before you have to make the decision to take the final step for yourself…

Have you ever been on a really big roller coaster? You sit there, strapped into your seat, and you slowly make your way to the top, but you don’t notice, because you’re too busy taking in the scenery. Then suddenly, it’s all whooshing past at a whizzy-fast pace and you’re clinging on for dear life.

That’s exactly what it’s like to read Labyrinth: At 525 pages in hardback, this is a long book that slowly winds its way through the story at a steady pace, getting you hooked on the perfectly executed intricacies of the story and then suddenly, you’re at the pinnacle and everything is happening at once.

Yet it never once lost me.

Mosse has created a wonderful cast of characters set in two very distinct times: The 13th century, and the modern day, with a unique blurring of the two which is quite exquisite. The focus of the modern-day tale is Dr. Alice Tanner, who is a volunteer on an archaeological dig in France and unwittingly discovers a link with the past via a cave in the Sabarthe mountains. Our 13th century heroine is Alais Pelletier du Mas, living in Carcassona in the Pay d’Oc. The two share a fate which has been labyrinthine in the making.

I got completely involved in the lives of both the historical- and modern-day characters; so much so, that they began to feel like old friends and I wanted my visit with them to continue. Before I realised it, I’d managed to spread my reading over little more than a week – I didn’t want it to end! I know I’ll want to revisit this book again and again.

The mystery is compelling; the writing, sublime.

The front cover carries a quote from Val McDermid, which says, “Eat your heart out, Dan Brown, this is the real thing.” I’d like to take that further. If The Da Vinci Code is like whipped cream – tasty, but light, Labyrinth is like the finest Jersey clotted cream – rich, delicious and a treat of substance. This is truly a book for book-lovers.

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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