CITIES OF THE FLESH by Zoe Oldenbourg


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A romantic re-creation of 13th century life by a writer whose earlier books have established her as an authority on the Middle Ages. Against a background of the bloody Crusades, court intrigues, and the nightmarish madness of the Inquisition, the life-long love affair of Roger de Montbrun and Gentian de Montgeil unfolds. He is of ancient name, and little fortune, a loyal knight, respected Crusader--and a Catholic. She is the beautiful and spirited wife of knight Berenger d'Aspremont--and an ardent Cathar. Her parents had died for Catharism--that austere and severely ascetic religion, Christian but non-Catholic, and declared heretical by the Pope. The Inquisition Statutes of 1233 turned Christian against Christian and ruined and dispersed many families. Gentian and Berenger, acknowledged heretics, were hunted down and burned at the stake. Roger, because of his association with and protection of heretics was called by the Inquisitors ""to answer for offenses against the faith"". Unable to establish his innocence, he spent his last years otting in prison. Founded on long and specialized research, and in spite of a style which is meandering and difficult at times, this conveys the violent and exciting passions of the period.

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 1963
Publisher: antheon