Sepulchre – Kate Mosse

Kate Mosse
Berkeley, 2007
566 pages

I’ll admit I waited until I had a significant chunk of time to start reading this hefty novel. I was surprised at how quickly I devoured it! For being well over 500 pages, Sepulchre is a quick read (relatively speaking)–but definitely not a lightweight one.

Mosse has skillfully created two parallel storylines in this book, both centered around the same small region in France. The first, set in the late 19th century, follows Leonie and her brother Anatole as they visit an aunt-by-marriage they’ve never met before, who lives in a peculiar estate in the countryside. The second, set in 2007, features Meredith, an American graduate student working on a book about Claude Debussy. Two seemingly unrelated stories, and yet Mosse manages to weave them together in a believable manner–using a deck of tarot cards.

I was a bit uneasy about the potential for a more mainstream novel to use tarot cards as a plot device in a manner that resembled an eighties horror flick. Happily, this is not the case. While there are associations with the demonic in the storyline, more is said about human nature than the supernatural in the end. Additionally, Mosse has a good understanding of the symbolism of the tarot, particularly the Major Arcana, and uses the symbolism to good end in her writing. While the story revolves around a fictional deck, she did a marvelous job of fleshing it out.

I would recommend this book to my readers, particularly (though not exclusively) tarot aficionados. It’s a great book for a long plane or train ride, or for curling up on a rainy afternoon. I found myself continually trying to find spare moments of time where I could steal a few more pages, and it definitely kept my interest all the way through. Good stuff!

Five pawprints out of five.

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