Book Review: The City of Tears by Kate Mosse

The City of Tears…

About the Book:

Following on from the Sunday Times number one bestseller, The Burning Chambers, Kate Mosse’s The City of Tears is the second thrilling historical epic in The Burning Chambers series, for fans of Ken Follett and Dan Brown.

June 1572: for ten, violent years the Wars of Religion have raged across France. Neighbours have become enemies, countless lives have been lost, the country has been torn apart over matters of religion, citizenship and sovereignty. But now a precarious peace is in the balance: a royal wedding has been negotiated by Catherine de’ Medici and Jeanne d’Albret, an alliance between the Catholic Crown and Henri, the Huguenot king of Navarre. It is a marriage that could see France reunited at last.

Meanwhile in Puivert, an invitation has arrived for Minou Joubert and her family to attend this historic wedding in Paris in August. But what Minou does not know is that the Joubert family’s oldest enemy, Vidal, will also be there. Nor that, within days of the marriage, on the eve of the Feast Day of St Bartholomew’s, Minou’s family will be scattered to the four winds and one of her beloved children will have disappeared without trace . . .

A breath-taking novel of revenge, persecution and loss, sweeping from Paris and Chartres to the City of Tears itself – the great refugee city of Amsterdam – this is a story of one family’s fight to stay together, to survive and to find each other, against the devastating tides of history . . .

My Thoughts:

Spanning twenty years across the Wars of Religion, from 1572 through to 1594, The City of Tears is the second novel of The Burning Chambers series. It picks up the story of Minou and Piet ten years on from the close of The Burning Chambers. While there is some referencing back to the first book, it by no means recaps everything so I would not recommend this one as a standalone; it’s firmly a second in a series by way of following the whole story.

Once again, the history is sublime and the action plentiful. For a novel covering such a turbulent and religious/political period of history, it does so with ease. As was the case with The Burning Chambers, the story is accessible and entertaining as well as emotionally gripping. I love these characters and the way Mosse has crafted their family history against the back drop of an extensive greater European history. I’m not entirely sure how many books are planned for this series but I hope there’s a few more yet to come. The period in which this series is set is a little further back through time than the historical fiction I usually read, but I am really loving the world that Mosse has brought to life, with its blend of fictional characters and real people from history. The City of Tears is a stunning follow up to The Burning Chambers; the two together a must read for fans of historical fiction with substance.

‘In the space between one beat of her heart and the next, Minou allowed herself to stand momentarily in the company of the ghosts of the past, with those she had loved and lost, the missing and the dead.’


About the Author:

Kate Mosse is a number one international bestselling novelist, playwright and non-fiction writer. The author of several novels and short-story collections – including the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy (Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel) and Gothic fiction The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter, which she is adapting for the stage – her books have been translated into thirty-seven languages and published in more than forty countries. She is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and a regular interviewer for theatre and fiction events. Kate divides her time between Chichester in West Sussex and Carcassonne in south-west France.

The City of Tears
Published by Mantle
Released 12th January 2021

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