She will defy the most powerful pope in history.
As the 13th century dawns across Occitania, a brash, charismatic viscountess named Esclarmonde de Foix champions her persecuted pacifist faith and shocks the Church by publicly debating its greatest monastic minds.
Centuries later, she is still revered as the Cathar Joan of Arc.
Spiritual upheaval shakes Latin Christendom. In Rome, Pope Innocent III plots to crush a growing dualist sect that preaches Christ's mission has been corrupted. In the Holy Land, warrior-monks make a disturbing discovery. In southern France, roving troubadours sing of a Holy Grail that offers salvation through the intercession of a worthy lady.
And in the foothills of the Pyrenees, war clouds approach Esclarmonde's hunted heretics, who protect an ancient scroll containing shattering revelations.
Declared outlaws by the Church, the Occitan knights who defend Esclarmonde's family and followers determine to make their last stand atop Montsegur, a haunting mountain keep that protects a sacred treasure. Their heroic resistance against the papal and French armies evokes the legendary defiance of the Jewish rebels against the Roman legions at Masada.
Myth and history collide in this sweeping saga of crusading fanaticism, courtly romance, knightly valor, and monastic conspiracy set during the infamous Albigensian Crusade.
START READING THE FIRE AND THE LIGHT TODAY.
Foreword Book-of-the-Year Finalist/Honorable Mention Historical Fiction NIEA Award for Best New Fiction Nautilus Silver Award IPPY Silver Award Eric Hoffer Award Finalist/Honorable Mention Da Vinci Eye Award Finalist
What Readers Are Saying:
"I loved this book! Mr. Craney has woven a wonderful story around the little known facts and the many myths that surround St. Esclarmonde de Foix and the Cathars at Montsegur. Get thee to a bookseller!"
— REV. MOTHER ANASTASIA, ABBESS OF THE ORDER OF ST. ESCLARMONDE"This book is clearly well-researched, but more importantly for a novel, it tells a thoroughly engrossing story."
— ANN K. D. MYERS, THE HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY"A marvel of a tale, tied quite firmly into what facts there are, and woven deftly into a tapestry touching those facts and connecting them into a tale at once enjoyable and alarming. "
— THOUGHTS AND PLACES REVIEWS"Tenets of the Cathar faith are explained and many of Esclarmonde's mystical experiences beautifully rendered."