The history of the Languedoc-Roussillon region is fascinating - espeically during the medieval period, and has inspired a growing list of historical novels set in the area - from Dan Brown's Davinci Code to Kate Moss' Languedoc Trilogy. You'll also find some great history books below - both about the Languedoc region and also about France in general.
Catherine Parr (15 Sep 2013) - 366 pages
When wealthy Prinny de Rouget unwillingly swaps a life of shopping and socializing in London for changing her mother-in-law's incontinence pads in the South of France, the change proves all too much until gîte owner Liz McGuire steps in. Can she or her son Martin help the alcoholic Prinny, the stage struck Susannah Wade or recovering anorexic Orla O’Sullivan? But Liz has problems of her own. She and her husband Peter have spent nearly all their savings on renovating their gîtes near the famous city of Carcassonne. Will they be able to make enough money renting them out or will the lack of bookings force them to abandon their dream and leave France for good?
Clouds over the Montagne Noir
Catherine Parr (13 Oct 2012) - 344 pages
When tragedy strikes Lynne and Alex Stevens they decide to make a fresh start in an idyllic wine producing village in the South of France. But even before they move in they unwittingly make enemies. Who hates them enough to vandalise their property? Lynne takes classes in the local Lycée, and her influence will change the course of one of her pupil’s lives forever. In the village, falling wine sales force one château owner to choose between the woman he loves and financial security, and when the owner of the local shop discovers a terrible secret about her brother she faces an agonising dilemma. A compelling story of the hopes and aspirations of a community in the Languedoc region between the Montagne Noire and the Pyrenees.
L A Kent. 264 pages.
A lawyer’s body is found on the beach in the small Cornish village of Porthaven, staked out with a tarred bag over its head, just as the peak summer season gets underway. When a second body is found bizarrely fixed to the floor of a nearby building not long afterwards, the laconic police surgeon remarks ‘Well, psycopaths need holidays too’. Detective Inspector Treloar, a maverick to some bosses but a driven, committed investigator to his fellow officers, takes charge. When more bodies turn up, in flagrante, Treloar and his team are at first unsure - accident or murder?
There seems to be no connection between the victims whose murders are violent and sexual, with escalating viciousness. What is going on? Could they have brought their fate with them; festering secrets from the past? Could either of the two mysterious men staying at the camp site be involved? Is it one or more doing the killing? What about the rabble of students in the big house or the local recluse and his enigmatic brother? What about the embittered locals resentful of incomers buying up the village? And who is the extraordinary female, institutionalised in the South of France as a child, who reflects on her past as the story unfolds?
Then a brutal attack on one of their own shocks Treloar’s team, switching their focus in an unexpected direction and a long-held grievance based on a heartfelt, perceived injustice surfaces.
That Sweet Enemy: Britain and France, The History of a Love - Hate Relationship
Isabelle Tombs. 816 pages. 2007.
This magisterial book, by turns provocative and delightful, always fascinating, tells the rich and complex story of the relationship over three centuries, from the beginning of the great struggle for mastery during the reign of Louis XIV to the second Iraq War and the latest enlargement of the EU. It tells of wars and battles, ententes and alliances, but also of food, fashion, sport, literature, sex and music. Its cast ranges from William and Mary to Tony Blair, from Voltaire to Eric Cantona; its sources from ambassadorial dispatches to police reports, from works of philosophy to tabloid newspapers, from guidebooks to cartoons and films.
The Perfect Heresy: The Life and Death of the Cathars
Stephen O'Shea, 2003
Eight hundred years ago, the Cathars, a group of heretical Christians from all walks of society, high and low, flourished in what is now the Languedoc in Southern France. Their subversive beliefs brought down on them the wrath of Popes and monarchs and provoked a brutal 'Crusade' against them. The final defeat of the Cathars was horrific with mass burnings of men, women and children in the village of Montaillou in the Pyrenees.
The Discovery of France
Graham Robb. 480 pages. 2008.
A revealing biography of ordinary French citizens and a portrait of the world beyond Paris and the urban elite.' -- Time Out
'Captivatingly full of the author's own discoveries - exotic landscapes, weird customs, remarkable individuals and events overlooked by history' -- Guardian
The Friar of Carcassonne: The Last Days of the Cathars
Stephen O'Shea. 304 pages. 2012.
In 1300 a great orator emerged who brought together the currents of resistance. Three years later the terrible prisons were stormed and the inmates set free. The orator was a Franciscan friar, Bernard Délicieux. The forces ranged against Delicieux included the ruthless Pope Boniface VII, the Machiavellian French King Philip IV and the grand inquisitor of Toulouse Bernard Gui (the villain of The Name of the Rose). This magnificent book, which forms a kind of sequel to Stephen O'Shea's bestselling The Perfect Heresy, tells his inspiring life and tragic story.
Kate Mosse. 752 pages. 2006.
a gripping holy grail quest ... the story line runs on knowledge and fun - Carcassonne never looked so good. (Anthony Sattin SUNDAY TIMES)
The author has combined an ingenious adventure story with a wonderfully detailed account of the historical background of the Languedoc ... the result is entirely compelling and full of incidental pleasures. (Christina Koning THE TIMES)
Pacey and addictive (Kate Saunders THE TIMES)
Kate Mosse. 784 pages. 2008.
A gripping tale of mystery and adventure from the No.1 bestselling author of LABYRINTH
A historical thriller for the Sex and the City generation (SUNDAY TIMES)
A great read...from one of Britain's most talented writers (YORK PRESS)
By Kate Moss, 2013
Set in World War Two France, a heart-stopping adventure of the legends, history and hidden secrets of Carcassonne and the Languedoc. From the No.1 bestselling author of LABYRINTH and SEPULCHRE.
Bone-mend and Salt
Lost in the Languedoc Crusade: 1. 2013.
How do you prepare for the dawn of the Inquisition? When two cultures clash violently, how can you stop your enemies from turning the weapons of an unjust war on your family and villages? Bone-mend and Salt, Book 1 in the Accidental Heretics series, launches an adventure of conspiracy and revenge amidst the Albigensian crusade, called by Innocent III to fight the Cathar heresy in southern Europe.
Trebuchets in the Garden
Lost in the Languedoc Crusade: 2. 2013.
Trebuchets in the Garden, Book 2 in the Accidental Heretics series, continues the adventure arc of conspiracy and revenge that began in Book 1, Bone-mend and Salt. It's the summer of 1210, and the so-called crusade against Cathar heretics is heating up in southern Europe. Tomás, Jean-Luc, and Isabella-the descendants of famous crusaders-continue their quest to uncover conspiracies against them. The trio becomes separated amidst new dangers presented by the marauding French army.
A Most Holy War
The Albigensian Crusade and the Battle for Christendom. 2008.
Pegg conveys in excellent detail the character of European warfare in the early 13th century (Norman Housley The Society for Medieval Archaeology)
About the Author: Mark Pegg is Associate Professor of History at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of The Corruption of Angels: The Great Inquisition of 1245-1246.
Love And War In The Pyrenees
Rosemary Bailey. 352 pages. 2009.
Over the fifteen years Rosemary has been living in the region, the more she realised she didn't know about the war; about the French during the Occupation, the real role of the Resistance, the level of collaboration, the concentration camps in the Pyrenees and the treatment of Jews and other refugees. It is still very much a veiled history and most of the archives remain firmly closed. LOVE AND WAR IN THE PYRENEES is a portrait of human tragedy, heroism and cruelty that will create a picture of the period from a contemporary angle, the history linked to sights that can still be visited, and brought to life by letters, interviews and encounters with people today, including the historians currently trying to investigate what really happened.
The Wandering Heretics of Languedoc
Caterina Bruschi, 2012
Caterina Bruschi undertakes the seemingly quixotic task of attempting to recover the voices of Cathar heretics from amidst the historical and literary constructions of inquisitorial registers …ultimately, this portrayal of Catharism as a living, mobile, and nonconformist church rings true in the echoes of the individual voices that Bruschi has heard in her texts.
Dualist Heretics in Languedoc in the High Middle Ages. 2000.
The Cathars are one of the most famous heretical movements of the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. They infiltrated the highest ranks of society and posed a major threat not only to the Catholic Church but also to secular authorities as well. The movement was finally smashed by the crusade and the inquisitional proceedings that followed. This new study is the first comprehensive history of the Cathars.
Absolutism and Society in Seventeenth-Century France
State Power and Provincial Aristocracy in Languedoc. 1989.
Why was Louis XIV successful in pacifying the same aristocrats who had caused so much trouble for Richelieu and Mazarin? What role did absolutism play in reinforming or changing the traditional social system in seventeenth-century France? In this analysis of the provincial reality of absolutism, Professor Beik argues that the answers to these questions lie in the relationship between the regional aristocracy and the crown.
Mysteries of The Cathar Country
Neil Mcdonald. 236 pages. 2013.
Mysteries of The Cathar Country, is a look into the Histories and Mysteries of the Languedoc. Including the Cathars, Rennes-le-Château, the Knights Templar, the Nazi connection, Sacred Geometry and the Priory of Sion. Neil McDonald has been visiting and running tours to the Cathar Country for some years and is an expert in the rich, diverse and fascinating history of the area, including the Cathars and the story of Bérenger Saunière and Rennes-le-Château. It is with this background that the book is presented and to provide the reader with a comprehensive journey through this wonderful area of Southern France, which has received so much interest worldwide in recent years. Neil has brought all the mysteries of the Languedoc together in one single volume, for the first time.