by Kate Mosse (2005). A 500 pages long rousing mystery-historical novel, similar to the Da Vinci Code but more intellectual and of higher literary quality. It weaves back and forth between modern France and the early 13-th century in the Languedoc region of the South of France. The 500 page novel vividly describes the events surrounding the violent suppressions of the Cathars, a religious sect that had strongly Manichaean beliefs that put them at odds with the Catholic Church. A confluence of political and religious forces lead to the Albigensian Crusade, during which up to one million inhabitants of these regions were slaughtered, and Occitania lost its independence to the French crown. The storyline is sweeping – even though the denouement at the end is a bit too mystical for my taste. A great read.