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Sepulchre. by Kate. Mosse
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Sepulchre. (original 2007; edition 2009)

by Kate. Mosse

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1,806None3,863 (3.42)81
Member:Gracelesslady
Title:Sepulchre.
Authors:Kate. Mosse
Info:Berkley Books (2009), Edition: 1st PAPERBACK, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Sepulchre by Kate Mosse (2007)

19th century (17) audiobook (9) Carcassonne (17) Cathars (8) Debussy (9) English (7) fantasy (43) fiction (212) France (86) hardcover (7) historical (36) historical fiction (104) history (17) kate mosse (8) Languedoc (10) mystery (70) novel (29) occult (10) own (16) Paris (13) read (14) read in 2008 (17) Rennes-les-Bains (7) supernatural (22) tarot (47) tarot deck (10) thriller (22) time travel (7) to-read (52) unread (22)
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English (50)  French (3)  Dutch (3)  Finnish (3)  Norwegian (2)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Tagalog (1)  All languages (66)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
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 |
I enjoyed reading Sepulchre, and I read it quite fast, but it was somehow less satisfying than Kate Mosse's previous novel, Labyrinth. It's awkward how the first part of Léonie's story is so long when it actually takes place in quite a short time, and the last few years of it are squashed into much fewer pages. More editing would definitely have helped. Meredith's character wasn't as well drawn as I would've liked -- honestly, I didn't care much about her personal quest, although I was interested in how it linked up with Léonie's life; I was much more interested in Léonie. It was interesting to see characters from Labyrinth drawn in, but...

I think perhaps Kate Mosse should have found another way to tell a story, rather than stretching the casual reader's disbelief so far with another story in which wrongs are righted by a descendant who just-so-happens to be sort of the wronged person's reincarnation. It was interesting to see her do it once, but she shouldn't rely on that as I feel she has in this book.

Fun enough for a casual read, but not something I'll be rereading. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
This was a kind of unique reading experience for me. I really enjoyed Mosse's Labyrinth, and so I was looking forward to reading this book as well. I finally picked it up from the library and read it, but it didn't really live up to my expectations. I found that I was constantly comparing it to Labyrinth, because the storytelling was so similar, and it just seemed to fall short for me. My star rating here is exactly as Goodreads describes it: This book was OK.

I think that this could be something to do with my own preference when reading historical fiction, which is that the further back in time it is, the more I like it. Labyrinth took place in medieval times, and was just more of an escape for me than Sepulchre set in late 19th century France. Add to that the fact that Labyrinth was a kind of Holy Grail quest, which I find fascinating, and on the whole, I just preferred Mosse's first Languedoc book more.

This book seemed to have so much potential. Loosely focused on the Occult, with an emphasis on Tarot, I had high hopes for this being the kind of dark and superstitious mystery that would stick in my mind and leave me counting the minutes for Mosse's next installment. But it didn't. It seemed to me that there were a lot of areas where the story could have ratcheted up a level in intensity, and that just never happened. It was like the story was planned, written, and then told. It just felt like it lacked personality and depth, and worst of all, HISTORY.

The story centered around a sepulchre on a property in what is today southern France, and the mysteries that are contained within. We jump back and forth between present day (2007) and 1891, and in the intertwining of these stories, we begin to learn about the mystery of the sepulchre. But I don't really feel like we ever did learn about it. I feel like the link between the two times was forged, so one mystery -who our present day heroine is - was solved, but the actual history and mystery of the sepulchre was never addressed.

It also seemed to me that a minor plot device meant to get the Verniers (1891 time) to south France turned into a major storyline that just left me confused. I don't see how the land and the family were tied together BEFORE the Verniers got there, but it seems that there is supposed to be a link because there are so many parallels.

Also, the modern day romance just felt... awkward. They met in a bar, chatted a while, set up a casual "date" to spend the following day together gathering research for our heroine's project, and then apparently somewhere in the course of that casual research date, they become a couple. I probably blinked and missed it. Weird.

Lastly, the tie-in characters from Labyrinth didn't feel like they were real characters that fit THIS book. More like they were just thrown in to tie the two together. One character makes sense in his appearance, but should have had more background. Granted, when his story takes place, it's a middle-ground area that fits inside the times found in Labyrinth, so there's not a lot that could be told there without giving away too much, but it felt like if you hadn't read Labyrinth, that the character would just fall flat and become two dimensional, and that should never be the case.

There were things that I liked about the story. I was curious to see what would happen, and I did enjoy reading it, for the most part. I liked the overall feel of the story, the broodiness of it. I even liked the plot-device-turned-storyline part as well, but it just felt a little weak in terms of the overall story that was being told, and I didn't see how it fit with the history. I liked the characters, specifically Leonie and Anatole, and I love the idea of a spooky country house. I liked the superstitious mythology as well.

But mainly, I couldn't help drawing comparisons between this book and Labyrinth, and finding that I preferred Labyrinth. This wasn't a BAD book, I just didn't feel like it had the same depth and history as Labyrinth did, and I felt a little let down by it in comparison with the first book of the trilogy. ( )
  TheBecks | Apr 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Mosseprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peters, DonadaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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.
Publisher's editors
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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)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

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