When the English capture Calais, the war with France is suspended by a truce. But Thomas of Hookton still has to pursue the grail and confront his deadliest enemy: his cousin, Guy Vexille.
Thomas and his men become raiders, but when he releases a girl condemned to burn as a heretic, his campaign is attacked by the church and Thomas himself becomes the hunted.
Thomas goes to the valley of Astarac, where he believes that the grail may still be concealed, but there are many others apart from Thomas who are searching for it. The prize will guarantee victory in battle and the games of hide and seek are deadly.
When Thomas finally succeeds in meeting his enemy, fate takes an unexpected hand. What had been a landscape of castles, monasteries, vineyards and villages, becomes death's kingdom and the need for the grail, as a sign of God's favour, is more urgent than ever.
...... From the outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (from the prologue): The road came from the southern hills and crossed the marshes by the sea.
MEMORABLE MOMENT: The four dread horsemen were riding. The rider on the white horse was God's revenge on an evil world, the red horse carried war, the black horse was saddled by famine while the pale horse, the worst, brought plague and death.
Set in a time of much turmoil and superstition, Heretic is the 3rd book in the GRAIL QUEST SERIES. I haven't read the first two and was worried that I might not be able to follow the story but had no problems as, apart from a few flashbacks, this was a good read as a stand alone novel.
So, love it or hate it? On the whole it has to be said I enjoyed it. Great were the parts touching on religion - and in particular the buying of holy relics (I loved the idea of having a piece of the straw supposedly from the stable birth place of Jesus) - fascinating the insight into the weapons of the time and gruesome the details about the plague which was sweeping Europe. Not so good were the often mentioned very gory and, I can imagine, realistic battle scenes - I should imagine the book would have been 100 or so pages shorter if these had been cut.
Perhaps more a book for men, Heretic is never-the-less an interesting read with a good story and well rounded characters - Genevieve, the heretic of the title, being a favourite of mine. The only female character of any real note, she is surprisingly well written and adds a whole other dimension to a story that is woefully lacking female input, giving an informed insight into just how many women lived/were judged during this period in time.