Kate Mosse – Sepulchre Book Review

I bought this in a charity shop and I think I will return it there now that I’ve finished it.

The story focuses around two years, 1891 and 2007. In 1891 we follow seventeen-year-old Leonie Vernier and her brother, who abandon Paris for the sanctuary of their aunt’s isolated country house near Carcassonne, the Domaine de la Cade. There is talk of revolution and the people are hostile against the Prussians, going so far as to attack plays and operas originating from that area. Among the social unrest, Leonie stumbles across a ruined sepulchre – and a timeless mystery – whose traces are written in blood.

The book jumps forwards to 2007 where Meredith Martin arrives at the Domaine de la Cade to do research on a biography. We follow her on her daily routine as she boards a train, has breakfast, gets dressed and then finally starts looking for the key to her own mystery.

The book bored me to tears! There is a lot of meaningless and detailed padding and at a staggering 784 pages, I feel that some of the descriptions and settings could have been left out.

If you’re a huge fan of gothic fiction, then you’ll really enjoy this book. It’s not really aimed at young adults, but the same breathy atmospheric elements you’ll find in books like Lauren Kate’s Fallen are there.

SEPULCHRE could’ve been half the length & twice as interesting without the meandering travelogue descriptions & boring-as-hell contemporary sections.

Good Bits:

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

Bad Bits:

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. Thank God I know French, otherwise I’d have been lost.

Example of writing:

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.

I found it too complicated and there was far too much about the meaning of the various Tarot cards. I somewhat enjoyed reading about the lifestyle in the 1890’s and the way places had changed over time, but the ccnstant reference to the Tarot cards wore me out. If only they’d had included some images too!

1/5 would not recommend. Boring.

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