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Sepulchre. by Kate. Mosse

Sepulchre. (original 2007; edition 2009)

by Kate. Mosse

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Sepulchre by Kate Mosse (2007)

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Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
A couple of years ago I read Mosse's previous book Labyrinth which quite frankly left me markedly underwhelmed (I felt that it was a poor rip off Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code which incidentally I personally think,despite the millions made by the author out of it,was over-hyped clap-trap. So it was with some trepidation that I approached this book,especially given that it is over 700 pages long,however it had cost me nothing so felt it only right to at least give it a go. Unfortunately my initial thoughts proved correct. It just wasn't that impressed.

Firstly the so called heroine Leonie was just plain annoying.She was 17 years old,wanted to be treated as an adult but acted totally the opposite having childish tantrums when chastised by her brother and things didn't go her way. She was supposedly a bit of a bookworm who grew up in suburban Paris but seemed ignorant of the world about her and in the end I found it hard to care anything about what happened to her. Personally I felt that Isolde's back story had more to offer. Then there is the devilish 'villain' Constant who despite doing or at least ordering some pretty despicable acts ends up two dimensional,a mere syphilitic psychopath.

However my main complaint with the book was that it was just far too long and chock full of superfluous nonsense. For instance what did Meredith's so called research into Debussy really add to the story? Would it not have been simpler just to have had her checking out her long lost family origins in France? After all from the Coda it seems that the information was reasonably available even in 2007.Then there is the question of the Tarot cards,a relatively interesting diversion but again,for me,added little to the overall plot.However my real complaint was the over-zealous use of details in the description of not just the countryside about but also the clothing that each character was wearing and even what they were eating.Then there were the un-interpreted French phrases that cropped up at seemingly random intervals.I can only assume that the author was getting the advance for her next book from the French tourist board and that her editor was on holiday when she finished the manuscript.This cloying attention to detail stunted the flow of the plot and made the author seem as she was trying too hard to prove that she'd down her research.Either that or she was being paid by the page. This book could have been about 200 pages shorter and not lost anything IMHO.

That said I not really into all this conspiracy theory mumbo jumbo and did manage to finish the book so not the worst book I've ever read but certainly a long way from the best and I won't be dashing to the book store to hunt out the author's further offerings in the morning. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Oct 23, 2014 |
I love stories like this one - stories told over centuries, using common places, families, or even objects. When I read Kate Mosse's Labyrinth a couple of years ago I really enjoyed it, so I was excited to get my hands on Sepulchre. Kate Mosse is a master at creating a haunting, atmospheric novel and this was no exception.

Sepulchre is not for everyone. This is a dense peice of historical fiction, not at all like the fluffier HF that seems to have flooded the book market in the last few years. The complexities of plot and characterization in combination with the extensive descriptions in Sepulchre make for a somewhat arduous read. That was no detraction for me however, I was completely absorbed from page one.

I highly recommend Sepulchre for fans of historical fiction. The writing is top-notch and the story is entertaining - a combo that seems to be increasingly difficult to find in HF these days. Sepulchre is an excellent read. ( )
  susanbevans | Jul 1, 2014 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.
Kate Mosse's Sepulchre is a historical fantasy -- historical fiction with fantastic elements. I enjoy both genres, and this novel features a female graduate student (somebody I can relate to) as one of the main characters, and it's available on audiobook, so I thought it would be good entertainment on my commute. I got about ten chapters in before quitting.

The book seems well-researched, is competently written, the tone switches easily and successfully from past to present and back, and the characters are interesting enough. Here is the problem: It is full of enormous amounts of tedious descriptions of ancient and current French landmarks, French historical events, French historical figures, and untranslated French dialogue. I realize, of course, that France is the setting of this historical novel, but the effect of all of this name-dropping is to make me think that Ms Mosse feels the need to prove she did her research -- she's trying too hard, and it comes off as pretentious. And obnoxious. Especially when I'm listening to it in audio format and I can't just skim over the French words. Here are some examples (some are from later in the book):

"It was not quite dawn, yet Paris was waking. In the distance, Anatole could hear the sounds of delivery carts. Wooden traps over the cobbles, delivering milk and freshly baked bread to the cafes and bars of the Faubourg Montmartre. He stopped to put on his shoes. The rue Feydeau was deserted; there was no sound except the clip of his heels on the pavement. Deep in thought, Anatole walked quickly, to the junction with the rue Saint-Marc, intending to cut through the arcade of the Passage des Panoramas. He saw no one, heard no one."

"By the time a smoggy and hesitant dawn broke over the offices of the Commissariat of Police of the eighth arrondissement in the rue de Lisbonne, tempers were already frayed. The body of a woman identified as Madame Marguerite Vernier has been discovered shortly after eight o'clock on the evening of Sunday, September 20. The news had been telephoned in from one of the new public booths on the corner of the rue de Berlin and the rue d'Amsterdam by a reporter from Le Petit Journal."

"In the next stack she discovered a first edition of Maistre's Voyage autour de ma chambre. It was battered and dog-eared, unlike Anatole's pristine copy at home. In another alcove she found a collection of both religious and fervently antireligious texts, grouped together as if to cancel one another out. In the section devoted to contemporary French literature, there was a set of Zola's Rougon-Macquart novels, as well as Flaubert, Maupassant and Huysmans --indeed, many of the intellectually improving texts Anatole tried in vain to press upon her, even a first edition of Stendhal's Le rouge et le noir. There were a few works in translation but nothing entirely to her taste except for Baudelaire's translations of Monsieur Poe. Nothing by Madame Radcliffe or Monsieur Le Fanu . . . The first was Dogme et rituel de la haute magie by Éliphaas Lévi. Next to it was a volume titled Traité méthodique de science occulte. On the shelf above, several other writings by Papus, Court de Gébelin, Etteilla and MacGregor Mathers. She had never read such authors but knew they were occultist writers and considered subversive. Their names appeared regularly in the columns of newspapers and periodicals."

At first, I found myself rolling my eyes at every French phrase and name-drop, but since that started to become a driving hazard, I just quit listening. I would much rather read a story whose purpose is to entertain me, not to enlighten or impress me. Sadly, Sepulchre did none of these things.
Read this review in context atFantasy Literature . ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
I liked this book, great story that is set partially in 1891 and partially in 2007. There is mystery, occult, love, discovery and revenge. ( )
  debbie.menzel | Feb 6, 2014 |
A tour de force with such detail that the suspense grows with each page! Mosse is expert at interweaving a tale from the 1890 and 2007 together. I was surprised at the suspense, the detail, the emotion and the sense of history that was included in this novel. Her use of the tarot as a character in it's own right was also a welcome surprise. I have never read a book quite like this one and look forward to reading some of her other works in the future. ( )
  JEB5 | Oct 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Mosseprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peters, DonadaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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L'âme d'autrui est une forêt obscure où il faut marcher avec précaution.
The soul of another is a dark forest in which one must tread carefully.
Letter, 1891
Claude Debussy
The true Tarot is symbolism; it speaks no other language and offers no other signs.

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, 1910
Arthur Edward Waite
To my wonderful mother, Barbara Mosse,

for that first piano

And, as ever, my beloved Greg —

for all things present, past and yet to come
First words
This story begins in a city of bones.
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
L' âme d'autrui une forêt obscure où ik faut marcher avec précaution.
De ziel van een ander is als een donker bos waar je voorzichtig moet lopen.
Brief, 1891 Claude Debussy
Het echte Tarot is symbolisch: het spreekt geen andere taal en biedt geen ander tekens.
The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, 1910
Arthur Edward Waite
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please distinguish between Kate Mosse's 2007 novel, Sepulchre, and James Herbert's 1986 novel of the same title. Thank you.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399154671, Hardcover)

1891. Seventeen-year-old Leonie Vernier and her brother abandon Paris for the sanctuary of their aunt's isolated country house near Carcassonne, the Domaine de la Cade. But in the nearby woods, Leonie stumbles across a ruined sepulchre - and a timeless mystery whose traces are written in blood. 2007. Meredith Martin arrives at the Domaine de la Cade as part of her research for a biography she's writing. But Meredith is also seeking the key to her own complex legacy and soon becomes immersed in the story of a tragic love, a missing girl, a unique deck of tarot cards, an unquiet soul and the strange events of one cataclysmic night more than a century ago...

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:13 -0400)

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The stories of two women separated by more than a century are brought together by a series of visions that are related to the tarot and a small church, known as a Sepulchre in the grounds of the Domaine de la Cade.

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