Book Review – The Burning Chambers

The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse (Mantle) ISBN: 9781509806843

Kate Mosse has an extensive oeuvre. She wrote the trilogy set in the South of France, Labyrinth, Sepulchre, and Citadel.

Her newest novel, the first of a sequence, is also set in the Languedoc and starts in 1562. The prologue, set in a Franschhoek graveyard in 1862, promises to uncover the diaspora of the Huguenots to South Africa. But first, this novel, is about the Wars of Religion, notorious for the massacre of the protestant Huguenots.

Minou Joubert receives a mysterious letter at the bookshop of her Catholic father Bernard, but before she can decipher the cryptic message she runs into Piet Reydon. Piet has his own mission. He is a Huguenot leader, trying to flee from Carcassonne to Toulouse and Minou helps him. When they come under threat Bernard sends Minou and her brother to stay with their aunt in Toulouse. He is keeping a secret from the past from his daughter.

A stolen shroud, a missing will, and a family secret provide for an action packed story. However, in the first chapters I felt slightly overwhelmed by the many characters and viewpoints and the complexity of the political and historical events, but that changed gradually. I learned a lot from a historical period that I knew so little about.

Pauline Vijverberg