The Fire and the Light
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In medieval France, heretics protect an ancient scroll that holds shattering revelations about the origins of the Roman Catholic Church. Swept up in the brutal Albigensian Crusade, a charismatic Occitan noblewoman defies a powerful pope and champions her persecuted Cathar faith in this historical epic of religious intrigue, crusader knights, troubadour valor, and star-crossed love.
As the 13th century dawns, Latin Christendom is shaken by spiritual upheaval. In Rome, Pope Innocent III plots to crush a growing new sect whose members are called Albigenses. In the Holy Land, crusading warrior-monks make a disturbing discovery about Jesus of Nazareth. In southern France, roving troubadours sing of a mysterious Holy Grail that offers salvation through the intercession of a worthy lady.
And in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains, a charismatic noblewoman will challenge the most powerful pontiff in history and hurl the Church into its greatest crisis of authority.
Esclarmonde de Foix is the most popular maiden in Occitania’s fabled courts of love. But her life is thrown into turmoil when she encounters a sect of heretics called Cathars. As the viscountess of her small domain, Esclarmonde must choose between her love for a mysterious Knight Templar and her calling to lead these persecuted descendants of Christ’s first followers. In the tradition of Mary Magdalene, she ordains women, teaches pacifism, and debates the future leaders of the Inquisition. Desperate to suppress her popular preaching, Pope Innocent III launches the only crusade ever declared against fellow Christians.
The outnumbered Occitan defenders of Esclarmonde's Cathar family and followers make their final stand atop Montsegur, a haunting mountain fortress where they protect a precious treasure thought by some to be the Holy Grail. Their heroic resistance against the French crusader army evokes the legendary defiance of the Jews against the Roman legions at Masada.
The Fire and the Light is the sweeping saga of crusading fanaticism, courtly romance, religious conspiracy, and esoteric mystery set during the persecution of the Cathars and the infamous Albigensian Crusade.
* Foreword Magazine Book-of-the-Year Finalist/Honorable Mention Winner for Historical Fiction
* Nautilus Silver Award Winner
* IPPY Silver Award Winner
* NIEA Award Winner for Best New Fiction
* Eric Hoffer Finalist/Honorable Mention Winner
* Da Vinci Eye Award Finalist
"I loved this book! Mr. Craney has woven a wonderful story around the little known facts and the many myths that surround St. Esclarmonde de Foix and the Cathars at Montsegur. Get thee to a bookseller!" — Rev. Mother Anastasia, Abbess of the Order of St. Esclarmonde
"This book is clearly well-researched, but more importantly for a novel, it tells a thoroughly engrossing story... This book would appeal to those interested in medieval French history and readers who were intrigued by some of the historical underpinnings of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and it is a well-told epic story of faith and love." — Ann K. D. Myers, The Historical Novel Society
“What is a masterfully orchestrated novel? One like this one that tells a spellbinding tale.” — ThoughtsandPlaces Reviews
"Tenets of the Cathar faith are explained and many of Esclarmonde’s mystical experiences beautifully rendered." — Bookcrossing
- Category: Historical
- Published: Mar 05, 2015
- Publisher: Brigid's Fire Press
- Seller: Draft2Digital, LLC
- Print Length: 754 Pages
- Language: English