Item description for The Burning Times: A Novel of Medieval France by Jeanne Kalogridis...
Overview A fourteenth-century monk is charged with the task of determining whether a midwife turned abbess accused of heresy by the Inquisition should be dubbed a saint or burned at the stake.
Publishers Description The year is 1357. The Inquisition rages throughout medieval France, searching ruthlessly for heretics. In an epic tale of passion, mystery, and unspeakable danger, one woman faces the flames...and triumphs. Mother Marie Francoise, born Sybille, is a midwife with a precocious gift for magic -- a gift that makes her a prime target for persecution at the hands of the Church. She flees her village and takes refuge in a Franciscan sisterhood. Before long, Sybille's unusual powers bring her under the scrutiny of the Inquisition. Michel, a pious and compassionate monk sent to hear her confession, finds himself drawn more intimately into Sybille's life and destiny than either of them could have imagined. Like a magician herself, Jeanne Kalogridis weaves a tale of star-crossed love, of faith and heresy, of mysticism and witchcraft, against a fascinating historical backdrop -- the Black Death, the Hundred Years' War, and the catastrophic defeat of France at the hands of the English. The result is a page-turning novel about one of the most intriguing periods in history.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.98" Width: 5.18" Height: 0.94" Weight: 0.93 lbs.
Release Date Mar 5, 2002
ISBN 0684869241 ISBN13 9780684869247
Availability 0 units.
More About Jeanne Kalogridis
Jeanne Kalogridis is the author of The Diaries of the Family Dracul, a historical vampire trilogy, and wrote for the bestselling Star Trek series under the pseudonym J. M. Dillard. She lives in California.
Jeanne Kalogridis currently resides in the state of California.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Burning Times: A Novel?
Jeanne Kalogridis is lucky that I read I, Mona Lisa and The Borgia Bride first Mar 19, 2008
I picked this novel up after I finished The Borgia Bride. I LOVED the Borgia Bride and I enjoyed I, Mona Lisa. I thought this book would be of a similar genre, but about medieval France instead of Rennaissance Italy. I was also interested in the inquisition period and the Babylonian Captivity (Avignon papacy). I had read comments that the book was a bit strange, but I was not prepared for how strange it was. I was prepared to suspend belief - after all, I enjoy the magical realism genre and I loved House of the Spirits and 100 Years of Solitude - but unlike the former novels, The Burning Times' plot makes absolutely no sense. It is confusing and plain silly/stupid. I found myself skimming large passages and when it was finished I felt relief that I wouldn't have to sit through any more of this book.
I gave this book two stars rather than one star because I thought that the first 100 pages or so were promising. The middle was mediocre, but not bad enough for my to abandon the book. The last 100 pages were absolutely idiotic, however. I finished the book because I had invested so much time into it, but I would not recommend this book to anyone. If I had read it before The Borgia Bride or I, Mona Lisa, I can guarantee you that I would never have read any other books by Jeanne Kalogridis.
Poorly Written Fairy Tale Nov 19, 2007
I don't recommend this novel. The basis for the plotline is very intriguing and the reason I bought the novel; however, the author ruined a good opportunity. The story is the confession of a witch who has disguised herself as a nun to avoid prosecution. She gives her confession to a monk who sympathizes with her. And if the author would have stayed on this path I think the novel would have been a success.
Unfortunately for the reader, the author tries to make the story go in too many directions. She makes the story into fairy tale / romance novel where the heroine transforms into a goddess's avatar which must find her true love in order to save the Race. Having this novel presented as a historical fiction is a complete ruse. The use of the Knights Templar is a very poor choice that torpedoes a sinking ship. And again the backdrop of the Hundred Years' War adds nothing to the story. The story would have been better served avoiding all historical references possible.
The theme of love and compassion versus fear isn't very compelling either; it even leads to numerous events which left me annoyed and ready to quit reading. The longer the story goes the more ridiculous it gets. The ending was transparent and is left open with the "good" characters walking off into the sunset to continue the fight against evil. I sure hope there is not a sequel.
I didn't have trouble following the book as other reviewers have mentioned. It was a pretty easy read that flowed quickly. I'm sure some readers may enjoy the novel as an easygoing fairy tale, but don't expect to find anything else here.
Kalogridis tries too hard Aug 11, 2007
As a historical fiction fan, I thought this book was right up my alley. However, Kalogridis' writing leaves much to be desired. She must have written with a thesaurus by her side because she unnecessarily replaces adjectives with the largest words she can find. The over-use of words like "ere" and "naught," combined with the overabundacne of pronouns like "Evil" and "Race" bog down the narrative.
The magic instilled by the Goddess of the story seems inconsistent and the heroes are too full of doubt. The only character that felt strong was Sybille's grandmother. The most enjoyable part of the narrative was when Sybille was young and under her grandmother's care. As the book progressed, the events became too urgent and felt scattered. There are so many historical side notes that could have been left out: the war with England, the involvement of the pope, midwifery... It would have been a much better book if it was shorter and more straightforward.
Terror in the Name of God Jun 12, 2007
A graphic recreation of the 14th century Inquisition reign of terror aimed at the political/economic dominance of France by the church - a world ravaged by recurring bubonic plague epidemics and the Anglo/Norman effort to control France. An intense plot, unfortunately fostering the peculiar notion that a "race" of pagan godess worshippers with magical powers actually existed ("devil worshippers," as the christian church charged) and operated in league with the Jews (a calumny perpetuated by the church which is, in fact, utterly nonsensical, considering the exclusivity claimed bt the "chosen people." Equally incredulous is the author's notion that an unshakeable love existed between the male and female heirs to the powers of the godess`, although they had never met. Great historical recreation, rousing characters and plot, but a very silly thesis.
Intriguing read Jun 2, 2006
Abbess Marie Franchise, or Sybille before entering the nunnery is many things to many people. To some she's a saint, to the Catholic church, she's a threat, and because of that, they have accused her of being a witch. To others she's a pagan goddess.
The story revolves around the Abbess's confession to a priest who during the confession realizes that he is inextricably linked to Sybille. To tell how would be to ruin the story.
There seems to be much discussion about what "type" of novel this is. In my opinion it's historical fiction with a healthy dose of either pagan or gothic thrown in. I would not call it fantasy. To me fantasy needs elves, dwarves, or some fantastical creatures like Tolkein's hobbits.
But enough background and analysis aside; it's a thoroughly entertaining book. Through the confession and flashbacks we're given Sybille's life from that as a child, her initiation into the pagan rituals that become her life, her becoming a nun, and her eventual trial and aftermath.
I would not recommend this book to someone who is a fundamentally religious person that might take offense at the idea that there just might be another alternative to Christianity. I would not recommend this book to someone who cannot suspend their belief in the "real" world. But if you like historical fiction and have an open and fanciful mind, you'll probably enjoy this book.
My star ratings:
One star - couldn't finish the book
Two stars - read the book, but did a lot of skipping or scanning. Wouldn't add the book to my permanent collection or search out other books by the author
Three stars - enjoyable read. Wouldn't add the book to my permanent collection. Would judge other books by the author individually.
Four stars - Liked the book. Would keep the book or would look for others by the same author.
Five stars - One of my all time favorites. Will get a copy in hardback to keep and will actively search out others by the same author.