I willingly admit that I don't read a lot of historical fiction. But I will drop everything for a new Kate Mosse novel. She came to global attention with her Languedoc Trilogy, and after a little time away, has returned to France for the first book of a series of four.
Set in France in 1562, Mosse introduces us to Minou, a young Catholic woman battling to keep her family bookshop open, and Piet, a Huguenot urgently needing to leave Carcassonne. As the two meet, they find themselves becoming involved in a much larger, much darker world than either initially imagined.
Kate Mosse has three main skill points as an author. The first is her knowledge. As with her earlier novels, The Burning Chambers clearly shows the time and effort that Mosse has put into researching the history that surrounds her story. She is able to bring to life the towns and communities she writes about so vividly, you can easily picture the scenes. The second is her ability to make you care about characters within the first few pages. I challenge you to read this and not love Minou and Piet almost immediately. She gives just enough information about these characters, and their families, that you will be rooting for them throughout the book. The third is the way she is able to take lots of smaller stories that alone would not be particularly interesting and tie them together to make a glorious, sprawling novel about love, war, religion, loyalty, betrayal, power.
My only problem is I now have to wait for the next book :(
If you like historical fiction, Mosse is an author who should be top of your list.