Considered one of the greatest authors of historical novels, the British Kate Mosse focused on the wars of Religion and the tensions between the catholics and the protestants in France of the XVIe century for his new series. The City of Fire, novel, powerful, extremely rich, and depicts the destiny of a couple who are plunged in the heart of a grand conspiracy.
In 1562, the tension mounts, in France, between the catholics and the protestants. The prince of Condé and the duke of Guise to deliver a combat without thank you. The massacres one after another, and thousands of huguenots are persecuted.
In Carcassonne, fortified city in the south of France, a young bookseller, catholic, Marguerite Joubert, meeting a protestant converted whose life is in danger, Piet. While the violent events are increasing in this region, the couple embarks on a quest related to a holy relic. They will have to explore an old fortress, where an important secret is for a long time.
Kate Mosse is passionate about historical research, has spent a lot of time to this new novel. “For each of my books, I spend more time doing research than to write,” she says in an interview.
“I spent a lot of time in Carcassonne, Toulouse and Puivert and in this region of France, not only in libraries and archives, but also to walk through these landscapes. I spent a lot of time in these ancient cities.”
The amount of detail woven through the narrative demonstrates the extent of her research : she is effectively his readers several centuries back, and draws them into a thrilling adventure.
“I imagined what had the air of these narrow streets, in the Sixteenth century. For example, I bought a recent map of Carcassonne, and I compared it to a map dating back to 1562. This way, when I walk, as a writer I have a good idea of what living my characters, what they could see. These two eras overlap in my head and this is very important.”
She has not chosen Carcassonne at random : it is a historic city in the rich past that she knows very well. “I went there for the first time 30 years ago. When I saw the medieval city for the first time, I simply fell in love. From there, it became a special place for me. I had a small house, in the shadow of the walls of the fortress. And I started reading everything I could find on its history.
“This is the kind of place where the echoes of history are still present : in the cross edge of the path, the towers, near the river where the people lived and worked. For me it is a place of living history. My job is to invent a story to revive this story. My characters are actors, if you will, placed at the heart of this story. I became a novelist because I went to Carcassonne.”
Stories of women
Kate Mosse, whose family’s roots date back to the time of William the Conqueror, in 1066, note that the history of the north of France has a dynamic similar to that of the south of England, but that it is otherwise in the south of France.
“In Carcassonne, it was different : women had a stronger voice than that of men. They had the right to own land. As a writer, I find that the history of south-west France has much more potential because I love to tell the stories of forgotten women.”
- Kate Mosse lives in Sussex, in the United Kingdom.
- It has already operated an inn in the south of France.
- Maze, his previous novel, has been sold several million copies.
- She is currently writing the sequel to this novel.
The City of fire
“It was the worst time of the year to travel. The cold had given place to an endless rain, and the ground under the hooves of his horse was slipping, empoissé of mud. Francis, duke of Guise, took his leather glove, wet at the gash fresh on his cheek and leant over, to try to make the pain go away.”