Andrew Chapman introduces his new novel……
Southwest France, early in the 13th Century. A young woman is taking her dying father on a long journey to undergo a strange initiation ceremony. Grazide, the daughter of a blacksmith is deeply disturbed by what her father has insisted she should do. This is the era when many inhabitants of the region are involved in heresy, principally the unorthodoxy known as Catharism.
We are taken back to a time when she is growing up in a small village. It is a time of conflict. Northern French forces have been recruited by the Church into a war against the heretics, known as the Albigensian Crusade and the land is being systematically despoiled, its people ravaged. Her village and her family are not unaffected. As she matures into womanhood she finds her independent nature and her self-determination opposed by the misogyny of the age. Despite this her belief in her own autonomy struggles to assert itself.
We follow events that encompass the aftermath of war, the building of new towns and the devastating Papal inquisition that seeks to eliminate heresy from the region once and for all.
This is a novel whose strong narrative carves out a vivid picture of these turbulent times – at the same time exposing the forces that seek to oppress a woman who strives to take possession of her own life.
Publication date – 4th December 2019