Amy Reads Books


Sepulchre  - Kate Mosse I read Labyrinth on summer holiday years ago and really enjoyed it, but have only just gotten round to reading Mosse’s follow-up novel Sepulchre. Although advertised as a series, I will say now that there was nothing in this novel that will be confusing if you have not read Labyrinth, there’s a reference to the modern strand of that novel at one point, but Sepulchre is a compelling story on its own. The first thing that really stood out to me with this novel was Mosse’s ability to build up tension. In both the 1891 and 2007 strands of Sepulchre things are not all what they seem, and Mosse does really well at creating an impending sense of doom throughout the novel. This was only slightly undermined by the fact that my copy of the novel has pictures of the tarot deck in the front, so the plot came quite clear to me once certain characters were described. Speaking of description, Mosse really bought both Paris and rural France to life (I now want to go to Paris more than ever). My only slight problem with her descriptions was that she literally would describe the placement of everything in a room, and sometimes it’s nice to have a little more imaginative leeway. Character and plot wise, Sepulchre is pretty strong. As is often the case with two strand novels, I found myself wanting to know the story of the Vernier’s more than the modern mystery that Meredith gets wrapped up in. This is in part because the modern story just was not really as interesting as the historical one; and Meredith, Hal and Julian just were not quite as interesting as, say, Leonie, Anatole, Isolde and Victor Constant. Sure, the bad guys in both plots were full-on bad guys; one with a thing for possessing & killing women, the other equally prone to randomly killing people, but sometimes it’s nice to read a book where the lines are pretty black and white. I will say that the fact that pretty much all the characters in the novel were described as ridiculously good-looking was a little annoying; but I guess it heightened the sort of semi-supernatural element of the tale. This was bought out through the tarot cards; something that I didn’t really know much about before I started reading the novel. Although I wouldn’t say Sepulchre really teaches one that much about how they work, the creepy, almost paranormal element to the deck of cards that drives both strands of the tale is certainly compelling.Whilst I don’t think I enjoyed Sepulchre as much as Labyrinth, the latter of which has stayed with me since I read it (and will be made into a TV series starring Tom Felton [Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films] and Jessica Brown-Findlay [Sybil in Downton Abbey), it is by no means a weak or boring book. I’m going to look forward to the final companion novel, Citadel.