Kate Mosse (3 stars)

Labyrinth: Illustrated Edition (Orion)

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HISTORICAL THRILLER

Just in case Kate Mosse’s phenomenally successful thriller, set in medieval and contemporary France, has passed you by, her helpful publishers have rushed out a hefty, hardback illustrated version to put a dent in your Christmas stocking. Previously referred to, rather patronisingly, as ‘chick lit with A levels’ or ‘Harry Potter for adults’, Mosse’s dual narrative (a kind of female Lord of the Rings with the Pyrenees Mountains near Carcassonne transplanted for Mordor) is enjoyable enough hokum.

She succeeds in conveying a strong sense of setting and atmosphere though at times her clear passion for the subject and meticulous research threaten to overwhelm her tale, which is overlong and a touch humourless, anyway. While some of the drawings, manuscripts and scenes reproduced for this edition provide mildly diverting visual accompaniments to the text, there’s very little additional material here to justify the £25 price tag, not to mention the kilo weight. Pick up a paperback instead.

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