"1357 France, the Inquisition - she flees to hide her pagan ways"
In 1357 France, the Inquisition agents of Cardinal Chretien
arrest Franciscan Abbess Marie Francois. They charge her
with heresy for practicing pagan rituals and magic, and for
communicating with the devil. They plan to burn Marie at
the stakes so she can serve as an example to those who
stray from the right path of worshipping God.
The reluctant Dominican scribe, Michel, who prefers to save
souls, rather than dispatch people to the next life, is
chosen to obtain Marie's confession. However, Michel feels
Marie is pure, good, and holy instead of an evil witch. He
decides to prove her innocent of the charges even after she
admits her grandmother taught her the pagan ways. Forced
to flee Marie whose birth name is Sybille joins the "Race"
and seeks out her lover Luc de la Rose for the good of
THE BURNING TIMES is at its best when it stays with
fourteenth century realities like the Black Plague, the
French Inquisition, the burning of witches at the stakes,
and the pagan religions. When the plot veers into
fantasyland, it loses speed as a different type of tale
emerges. Likewise, key characters are impacted especially
the heroine. As Marie she is an incredible individual
struggling against a rising tide, but as Sybille she seems
mythological as if she truly is Diana the Huntress. Known
for her vampire tales, Jeanne Kalogridis has written an
intriguing historical fiction that will attract readers,
but the talented author took too big of a bite with this
Harriet Klausner © Copyright February 2001
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted January 20, 2002
A Novel of Medieval France
Of the Black Death, they said it was the end of the world; I knew better. The world can withstand the sickness of the body, but it remains to be seen whether it will survive the sickness that eats at the souls of our persecutors...
So professes Mother Marie Françoise, born Sybille, a poor midwife who is taught pagan ways and magic by her grandmother and is forced to take refuge among the Franciscan sisterhood as the Inquisition threatens. Her extraordinary life story unfolds when a monk is charged with determining whether the mysterious abbess is a saint or a witch.
Sybille is possessed of exceptional powers, and she is in full command of them -- practicing white and black magic, winning the hearts of people with her wisdom, and terrorizing church authorities with her cunning. But even witches are not immune to earthly love, and Sybille embarks on a passionate, dangerous quest to be reunited with her beloved. As she confronts an exceptional destiny -- one that will require her to face the flames in order to save others like her -- she relates a tale of impossible triumph that forever changes the inquisitor who hears it.
The Burning Times brilliantly weaves the mythology of the Knights Templar, witchcraft, and gnosticism against a backdrop of actual historical events: the Black Death, the Hundred Years' War, and the catastrophic defeat of France by England. Demonstrating the same meticulous research and page-turning plotting that made her Diaries of the Family Dracul series a success, Jeanne Kalogridis crafts a vivid portrait of this turbulent and fascinating period in world history and, at the same time, delivers a searing love story with a redeeming moral of its own: The greatest magic is that of compassion.
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Historical Medieval Romance