A searing look at religious intolerance with chilling parallels to our own time div
Gr 7-10-Legend has it that the Blue Flame was lit upon the moment of Christ's death, and whoever has it in his possession will have victory over his foes. But for Parsifal, who was only a child when charged with keeping the flame, the burden is overwhelming, and he retreats into solitude and madness. However, the Flame refuses to be hidden-one evening it flares, illuminating the land of the Occitan with an unmistakable glow. As a result, the Catholics and the Cathars, who once lived together in peace, are now at odds. An inquisition begins. Yolanda, the daughter of a Catholic count, and her childhood friend Raimon, the son of a Cathar peasant, who have fallen in love, become divided by violence. Although it has a promising premise and a potentially exciting story line, this book, set in 1242 France, fails to deliver. Because the point of view shifts from one character to another (including the land of the Occitan itself), it is impossible for readers to become connected with anyone in particular. In addition, this fractured narrative makes it difficult to tell what is happening to whom. The plot progresses in strange leaps, particularly toward the end of the novel, and events that need depth are summarized. The historical detail of the narrative is what saves this novel. Students who are able to read past the awkwardness will find the background information fascinating and will want to know which parts of the story are true and which have been fictionalized.-Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Walker & Company
August 04, 2009
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