NOTRE-DAME DE TORTOSE: ""Our Lady Of Tortose by Plerre Benoit

NOTRE-DAME DE TORTOSE: ""Our Lady Of Tortose

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The tireless Benoit turns once more to passion and melodrama in the Far East, old school ingredients, but a certain suspense and mystery in the telling (by means of a rather superior build-up) to counteract the rather obvious fol-di-rol. The story, in flashback, is that of Armene, a waif, brought up in an isolated mountain convent in Turkey which harbored the statue of the virgin rescued from the infidels at the time of the Crusades. Mystically and emotionally tied to the statue, she secures it through the sultan to whose harem she is taken when the convent is pillaged and razed. Years of distasteful experiences in the harem, a little overlarded with exoticism, and finally release when she is married off to the sultan's right hand man. At his death she falls in love with a French soldier -- only to be compelled to leave him when the past ups its ugly head -- and the statue is left to the cathedral at Tortose, its original resting place. Old hat -- but dressed up readably enough and Benoit is liked.

Publisher: Albin Michel