Minggu, 06 November 2011

Labyrinth: Perempuan-Perempuan Pelindung Cawan Suci (Languedoc Trilogy #1)

by Kate Mosse (Author), Ridwana Saleh (Translator), Winny Prasetyo (Translator), Prisca Primasari (Goodreads Author) (Editor)

Alice Tanner, seorang ilmuwan dan relawan arkeologis, menemukan gua yang menyimpan rahasia besar Grail. Penemuannya menyebabkan ia diburu oleh anggota Noublesso Véritable, sekte yang telah lama mengincar rahasia itu. Dalam pelariannya, Alice tak henti-hentinya dihantui hal-hal mengerikan yang belum pernah dilihatnya; Buku Labirin, Perang Suci, dan seorang gadis bernama Alaïs.

Namun, apakah masuk akal bila gadis misterius itu ternyata hidup delapan ratus tahun silam? Terlebih setelah Alice mengetahui bahwa Alaïs adalah putri Penjaga Rahasia Grail. Seiring hari-hari kelam yang berlalu, Alice pun sadar akan takdir yang menimpanya, tapi tak pernah diinginkannya. Ia harus menjaga rahasia Grail agar tidak jatuh ke tangan yang salah. Bahkan bila ia harus berakhir menjadi tulang-belulang yang terkubur di gua Labirin seperti Alaïs.

Qanita 2011

Saya: Novel ini kelihatannya berat. Menggunakan bahasa-bahasa kuno yang seharusnya dibaca saja, jangan disibukkan dengan kegiatan googling. Alais, seorang perempuan 17 tahun, baru menikah, menemukan mayat lelaki yang mengambang di sungai.

200: Alais memutuskan untuk PERGI dari Chateau Comtal. Dia meminta kuda dari pemelihara kuda, Amiel yang baik hati, dan mengasah pedangnya di bengkel besi dekat San-Miguel. Lalu melintaslah dia keluar gerbang. Tugas berat ada di pundaknya, sebagai seorang yang mengetahui rahasia--yang hanya diketahui 3 orang lainnya: Ayahnya, Simeon, dan seorang perempuan lainnya. Akankah dia berhasil?

"Alais dan iring-iringan Viscount Trencavel sudah kembali ke Chateu Comtal. Sekarang mereka akan merayakan ibadat di Gereja Katolik Roma untuk "kemenangan" itu. Alais tidak suka hadir dalam gereja itu sebab menurutnya, para imam dan uskup di gereja itu munafik. Alais lebih suka ke gereja baru, Bons Homes. Tapi "bahaya", gereja katolik sedang "membakar" para bidaah dan aliran sesat."

"Viscount Tranceval telah ditangkap oleh Laskar Perang Salib. Ayah Alais, Peletier, telah meninggal dengan tenang. Saatnya penduduk Chateau Comtal harus menyerah. Orien, kakak Alais yang ambisius hendak mengambil Trilogi Labirin dari Alais demi kepentingan kemuliaannya. Alais menyamar, dan berkat bantuan Sajhe, situasi dapat diatasi dan mereka berdua lolos dari sergapan Orien dan anak buahnya."

"Bulan Maret 1244, di Pic de Soularac, di dalam pegunungan itu, ada gua dan orang-orang yang berkepentingan pergi kesana. Ada Guilhem, yang bertemu dengan Alais, ada Bertrande anak mereka, ada Sajhe, kawan mereka, dan ada Orien, saudara sekaligus musuh yang mau menguasai Trilogi Labirin. Orien menyandera Bertrande dan memaksa Alais membuka sebuah ritual menuju ke keabadian untuk Orien."

I'm finished with Labyrinth: Los Seres 8 Juli 2007 Sudah 2 tahun Sajhe/Audric meninggal. Awalnya berat namun mungkin itu lebih baik mengingat Sajhe sudah hidup bergitu lama. Dan "urusannya" sudah kelar. Trilogi Labirin terkubur bersama orang-orang jahat dan sekarang Alice melanjutkan hidup dengan Will.

Beth: I was reading this I greatly disliked it at some times and was really into it at other times. It was hard to get into, but overall I liked it more than not.

Mosse's writing made me cringe at times. So much unnecessary description. (Who did her editing? They should be ashamed.) And the passiveness of characters telling each other the story while the reader "listens in" bugged me.

I would have preferred just to have the historical storyline. But I understand why the author needed to have the present day involved in her story as she wanted to write it.

I loved reading about the Cathars. Any enemy of the Crusades is a friend of mine. Although, come to think of it, there wasn't a whole lot of detailed discussion about the Cathars in "Labyrinth," but I have been inspired to do a little reading on my own. And that's been interesting.

Jim: For a long time, The Da Vinci Code put me right off books about the Cathars or the Holy Grail, so I was hesitant to pick up Kate Mosse's book. Still, I gave this book a chance, as I'd been impressed with Kate Mosse's work as an interviewer on the BBC's Radio 4. I'm glad that I read it.

This book focuses on the Cathars, a gnostic sect centered in the Pays d'Oc, (modern southwestern France). Several legends have been told about the Cathars, including that they practiced ancient mystical rituals and that they were the guardians of the Holy Grail. What is known is that the Cathars rivaled the established church in parts of Western Europe. In the 13th century, Catholic churchmen and French nobles led an invasion of the Pays d'Oc and a bloody suppression of the Cathars, whom they regarded as heretics.

Mosse combines two stories: a historical fiction, set against the invasion of the Pays d'Oc; the other, a modern thriller set in the Languedoc region of France. In these parallel stories, bad people with suspect motives are searching for the treasures that embody the secret wisdom of the Cathars (symbolized by a labyrinth). In both stories, the protagonist is trying to figure out what these treasures can be, along with how to stop the villians, without getting killed in the process.

The Labyrinth dealt with many of the same themes as The Da Vinci Code, but it was superior in so many ways. I'll mention four: 1)Mosse does a good job of maintaining a sense of suspense. I wasn't able to guess what was going to happen three chapters ahead. (I always thought the Da Vinci Code's protagonist was a bit thick.) 2)Mosse doesn't make careless, glaring factual historical errors. 3)I got the feeling that Mosse knew the locales in which she set her story. 4)She's a good writer, one who doesn't rely on cliches and cheap narrative tricks.

All in all, a good read, one that has got me digging through my old Medieval history books.

Kristen: Most of the other reviewers have compared Kate Mosse's "Labyrinth" favorably to The Da Vinci Code. I didn't read The Da Vinci Code, but given that it was impossible to avoid or ignore, I understand both books tackle some similar themes. The strongest aspect of "Labyrinth" is that the plot is well-paced and engrossing. The back-and-forth between the medieval era and the present day generally works nicely, and the transitions are smooth, or make sense in their placement and timing. Most of the characters are well-drawn, although I do think it gets quite confusing keeping track of all of them, and a few could have been dropped or at least had their plot lines great reduced (such as Noubel, the policeman).

I enjoy novels set in the medieval era as a guilty pleasure, as I often find they are saddled with ridiculous, stilted language and rather heavy-handed, melodramatic plots. While parts of "Labyrinth" are a bit silly (such as the sex scenes, oh brother), overall the plot is actually quite moving. The persecution of the Cathars, a heretic sect in thirteenth-century France, is handled deftly and movingly. Some of the material about the Grail was a bit complicated, I thought, and unnecessarily so.

This is a far from perfect book--as others have noted, this really could have been edited into a much leaner story. But the author clearly knows her material, and overall the history and religion are handled intelligently. This is an enjoyable read that you don't have to feel guilty about indulging in, as you actually come away having learned some medieval history.

BookBanter: LABYRINTH BY KATE MOSSE: If only Kate Mosse had published her novel not in 2006, but shortly after the astonishing success of the Da Vinci Code, it perhaps would’ve received the literary respect it deserves, instead of coming last in a slew of novels involving the subjects of the Holy Grail, the Knights Templar, and what they mean in the present day. The quote on the back of the paperback edition from the Kirkus Review really says it all: “A quickly paced adventure that wears its considerable learning lightly – and of higher literary quality than The Da Vinci Code, to which it will inevitably be compared.” And yet Labyrinth goes more than a few steps further, not just adding new and original twists to the myth of the grail, but adding a new depth and level that hasn’t been seen before. As for the truth behind it all, Mosse doesn’t offer a note of explanation, but leaves it to the reader’s imagination.

Labyrinth opens with one of the two main characters, Alice, working on an archaeological site in southern France, where she finds a hidden cave and two skeletons within. She also finds a unique ring bearing an unusual symbol: a labyrinth. Notifying the authorities of the discovered site, with the skeletons it suddenly becomes a crime scene, and the archaeologists are kicked off the site. The reader is then taken back in time to the thirteenth century, where they meet the other main character, Alaïs, a young girl held back by tradition and ritual in a chivalric society where the knight and the priest are strongest. For the duration of the book, the reader follows these two characters, as they live their lives in parallel.

As Alice returns to her hotel, strange things start to happen, as strangers contact her about what she found in the cave, police telling her to describe exactly what she saw and confiscating her sketches. Members of the dig go mysteriously missing, as people begin to die for unknown reasons. Finding pieces of evidence, Alice weaves together the story bit by bit, and as she does she discovers that she is intrinsically linked to it all, and most importantly to Alaïs. Her strange dreams of this unknown girl from the late Middle Ages are the least of her worries.

Alaïs finds herself caught up in the changing and challenging times when the pope launches a crusade against the Cathars, a declared heretic group who believe that while God is absolute and utmost, the work they do in their lives is by their doing and not God’s. It is a time when Christians are fighting Christians overtly because of their supposed heretical ways, but subversively because the northern French want the rich southern land of the langue d’Oc.

Wrapped in this dense plot is the story of the Grail, which every Christian of every group seeks, and it is only when the three ancient texts with the strange hieroglyphs are brought together, that the true way to the Grail will be shown. But the story of this Grail is not the one that we all think we know, but something deeper and more ancient that is tied in with this mysterious symbol of the labyrinth, and reaches back into Ancient Egypt and the founding of civilization.

While the last third of the book seems somewhat rushed, as Mosse forgoes the back and forth chapters through time, and relies on present day characters telling what they know of the past; there is an inevitable building that results in a climactic ending of not just character realization, but eye-opening shock on the reader’s part, as they finally know the whole story. Like the symbol, Labyrinth is a story that begins simple and straightforward, but grows more and more complex, until the denouement when all is revealed and finally understood. Check out for more information.

For more book reviews, and author interviews, go to BookBanter.

Celia: Andava com este livro debaixo de olho desde que saiu, mas só há pouco o comprei por 10€, aproveitando uma promoção. Tanto as opiniões que li, como o próprio livro, comparam-no com o Dan Brown, com a referência que este é mais bem escrito e baseado numa pesquisa mais bem feita. Se é certo que o livro versa sobre a já eterna questão do Santo Graal, tal como "O Código Da Vinci", não é menos verdade que é muito mais histórico que o livro de Dan Brown.

Tal como indica a sinopse, a acção deste livro decorre em duas épocas distintas: o presente e a época medieval, no início do Séc. XIII. O elo de ligação entre as duas épocas são as mulheres que protagonizam cada uma das histórias, Alaïs e Alice, e o mistério que rodeia o Santo Graal. Nas partes do livro dedicadas à época medieval, temos oportunidade de tomar conhecimento das várias lutas existentes no Languedoc, onde viviam os Cátaros, que nessa época começaram a ser perseguidos como hereges. A situação política é muito bem descrita e os detalhes históricos muito bem apresentados. Para além da envolvente, a história é também muito conseguida, tal como as personagens - com destaque para a protagonista, Alaïs. Apesar de, à partida, me sentir tentada a afirmar que gostei mais da parte do livro que decorre no período medieval, não deixa de ser verdade que os elementos policiais e de suspense que povoam o segmento passado na actualidade foram muito interessantes e nunca deixaram que o ritmo do livro diminuísse. Só foi pena a previsibilidade de alguns factos, mas de resto nada a apontar.

Kate Mosse tem uma escrita agradável e competente, talvez um pouco descritiva a espaços. Julgo que as quase 700 páginas deste livro poderiam ter sido reduzidas, que o interesse da história não se perderia. De qualquer forma, recomendo!

_Asah Selalu Pena Bulu-mu_