The Burning Chambers review – Kate Mosse’s latest tour de force

The Labyrinth author’s new historical adventure, set amid the wars of religion in France, is ambitious and skilfully constructed

Kate Mosse’s multimillion-selling 2005 novel Labyrinth reinvented her as a novelist, and reinvigorated the historical adventure genre by putting women’s stories firmly at its heart. After the two subsequent novels, Sepulchre and Citadel, that completed her Languedoc trilogy, and a brief diversion into gothic fiction, Mosse has returned to the geographical and historical terrain of Labyrinth and the epic form that suits her storytelling so well.

The Burning Chambers is the first in a planned series charting the Huguenot diaspora from the wars of religion in 16th-century France to 19th-century South Africa, and here a prologue set in a Franschhoek graveyard in 1862 hints at the sweep of the story to come. But this volume is rooted 300 years earlier in the Languedoc, in the city of Carcassonne that Mosse ...