Friday, January 16, 2009

The Book was OK, leaning towards good. Here's how.

The basic premise of the book is the search for the Grail (yes, another one!). Of course all ideas are original, just that some are rather less original than others. Keeping snide remarks aside, the book does have its strong points, and one must give credit where it deserves.

Kate Mosse has successfully managed to weave a yarn, stretching over more than 800 years, involving some rather exotic themes and preparing a broth that at times looks like overkill. The story revolves around Alais who, towards the beginning of the 13th century gets involved in the safekeeping of the Grail, and Alice, who in the early part of the 21st century, stumbles (literally!) across the same.

While the plot might look convoluted to many if not most readers, it certainly does manage to hold attention for a majority of the book's 500+ pages. But there are times when the author's attention to detail just doesn't sell. Also, the fact that the story involves latent memory, and some really long-living characters doesn't help either.

All said and done, I would have loved this book if it had:
- been about 300-odd pages in length,
- avoided the 800-year time-span OR at least not drawn (unneccesary)parallels in the characters in the two eras

Be that as it may, the description of France of the 13th century is quite beautiful, and this is one aspect where the use of ten words instead of five (as the Mosse is sometimes prone to using) indeed does justice to the reading pleasure. Also, character development is good and coherent. The war scenes are also well-written and tempered.

The weakest link - the love story of Alice. I was taken off-guard when it happened.