“Eat your heart out, Dan Brown, this is the real thing” says Val McDermid on the cover of this voluminous book. And who wouldn´t love to read a novel that makes Dan Brown do just that.
Disappointingly, that is about the only good thing to say about this elaborate, mostly boring fat book. Mosse is a “Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts” and in 2000 was named “European Woman of Achievement”. I wonder why it doesn´t show in her writing. She lives in Sussex and Carcassone and obviously had the idea to make use of her southern France surroundings by coming up with a Dan-Brown-like thriller. To show her erudition, she throws in old Languedoc French words and precise descriptions of the countryside round Carcassone. Well, a good tourist guidebook does just that.
The story is a crude mixture of Indiana Jones and Outlander, with a British heroine who does voluntary work at an archaeological excarvation site and discovers in due course the ultimate secret of the Grail together with her counterpart in the early 13th century. I´m sorry to say, this reader here somehow lost track of the weird plot and the importance of finding the Grail. What a waste of time!