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The Rose Labyrinth

2.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,476 Ratings  ·  364 Reviews
An enthralling novel of mystery, adventure and romance

Before his death in 1609, the brilliant Elizabethan spy, astrologer and mathematician John Dee hid many of his papers, believing that the world was not prepared for the ideas they held. In spring 2003, Dees many times great granddaughter and final holder of the secret was forced to pass the enigmatic legacy to one of he
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published 2008 by Headline Review
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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30 pages in I realized that sometimes, just sometimes, you have to make a decision about what to waste your life with. This book? Not worth my time. The writing is horrendous and it's a clear DaVinci Code piggy-back. Basically: that's enough of this nonsense.

Also, I detest leaving books unfinished. I can count on one hand the number of books I've done this with. I actually had to create a new Goodreads shelf for this book, of books that are 'Life Wasting Never Finish.' Now I feel weird and uncom
There's a point in The Great Muppet Caper where Lady Holiday goes on and on about her brother Nicky and his rapacious background. Miss Piggy questions here, "Why are you telling me all this?" To which Lady Holiday responds with something like, "It's plot exposition, it must go somewhere." And you're probably wondering why I'm starting a review of The Rose Labyrinth this way...

Hardie is like Lady Holiday. She explains and gives historical background and then explains some more. And I kept thinkin
Jan 22, 2009 Jan rated it did not like it
This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever seen; however, it is one of the dumbest books I have ever read.

It is a Da Vinci Code kind of thing, where a family has sole responsibility to keep the secret of the ages. Through hints and visions and discovered symbols the secret is understood...but not really. The love story part of it made me want to throw up. The girl receives a new heart, falls in love with her doctor and two weeks after the operation she's in bed with him. PLEASE!!! And h
Nov 20, 2015 Josephine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: caveat-emptor
15th August 2010

Well, I finished this book because I am not a quitter, but oh dear! What a load of drivel. I have a good imagiation, I really enjoy history and a good puzzle, I am not however a classical Greek scholar, a mathematician or clairvoyant, all of which would be the mimimum requirement to be able to follow the proceedings in this flight of fancy. It is almost as if the author is in on the secret with the characters and their aim is to exclude the reader by keeping the clues to themselv
Jun 19, 2008 Fraemone rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
i don't even know why i persisted on this one for so long. it didn't work as a conspiracy novel, romance or historical saga. very tedious stuff.
Oct 30, 2011 Hannah marked it as did-not-finish
Did not finish.

This is one of those books I wanted to love (and frankly should have loved). But for whatever reason, Hardie's writing was so difficult for me to read - like trying to swim through a pool of caramel. I got mentally exhausted reading a few paragraphs (put it down for a few hours and tried again - with same results).

Can't explain it, but this one just wasn't for me, and it makes me sad :(

5 stars for a beautiful cover, though.
Dec 28, 2008 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of woo-woo romance what we have here is part Da Vinci Code-style puzzle-solving, part FATE FATE FATE ROMANCE FATE FATE!!1!!, part jarring combination of "it was all just smoke and mirrors" with honest-to-goodness rips in the fabric of space-time, and part woo-woo about heart transplants and cellular memory, all tied up in a big bow of "what the hell was the point anyway?" at the end.

And for those of you who are sick of Catholic conspiracy books, here's an Evangelical consipiracy instead.

And, of course, e
Dec 04, 2013 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Shelves: horrible
Oh my goodness, do not waste your time.
I was in the market for just a fun fluffy novel and while I could have been pleasently surprised that this had more to offer, I was not.
First of all, it seems like it was written by three different people. You had the romance plot, the intricate puzzle plot which never really got explained unless you took more time to figure them out in the back, and then there was the rant against Ratpturists and really Christianity as a whole. Which was a little extreme.
Gerald Sinstadt
Dec 04, 2013 Gerald Sinstadt rated it did not like it
I dislike abandoning a book half-read. Having recently done that with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I was doubly reluctant in this case. Perhaps I should have read a few more pages in the bookshop. I might then have become aware of cardboard characters acting improbably, and dialogue contrived to deliver the results of research but unlike like speech that ever issued from a human mouth. Research is one thing, creative writing is another.

It would be unfair on those who enjoy this kind of thin
Jan 25, 2009 Cathy rated it liked it
Before sitting down to read The Rose Labyrinth, do yourself a favor and buy a strong-scented rose. By the time you've read the first 50 pages, you'll crave the smell. Is Rose Labyrinth a good book? It is a very pretty book, with hardback novel and cryptic clues combined in a lovely box, covered in (you guessed it) roses. The characters are also very pretty -- not one isn't attractive, eloquent, and clever. Their effortless ability to call up everything from Shakespeare sonnets to Rumi's verses, ...more
You only need to get a few chapters in to discover just how poorly written and incoherent the Rose Labyrinth is; it's as though someone merged a Jane Austen groupie with a Twilight groupie with someone who took The Da Vinci Code waaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously. This book abounds in ridiculous prose and unbelievable phrases slipping from the lips of picture perfect characters.

I skipped to the end after about 3 hours of my life were wasted...and then realized I should have skipped the whole thing.

This didn't really work. There were too many things going on that just didn't make sense together. A couple of the recurring themes seemed contradictory and the ending was flat.

The cover is really pretty and the presentation with the "parchments" is cool, but the story didn't motivate me to work through the puzzles.
Aug 22, 2012 Ann rated it did not like it
This has to be by far the WORST book I have ever read, and sadly I read the whole thing! It read as if there were at least three different writers and each was worse than the last, the miracle of this book was that it ever got published!
I really wanted to like this book. As a rule, I'm fond of anything that has to do with conspiracy theories, history, grails, Shakespeare, and labyrinths. I tried really hard to like it. I gave it every benefit of the doubt, but... I just couldn't like it. The characters were very shallow. None of them had any personality, other than being "very good people." Even their flaws were written off as aspects of their goodness, like saying "I pay too much attention to detail" when asked to talk about y ...more
Bought this on a whim at Murder by the Book, and it seemed pretty interesting in a da Vinci Code kind of way. After reading some of the reviews I am a little leery of it though.

I didn't help that before the book even starts the author invites you to go to the end of the novel to try and solve all the clues yourself, and then tells you that even that characters don't figure it out. I like closure, and she just basically told me there won't be any...

*** Update 11.24.09 About 100 pages in and its
Miss Ginny Tea
Nov 10, 2015 Miss Ginny Tea marked it as dnf_2009
Recommended to Miss Ginny Tea by: Ysabet
Shelves: authors_women
Oh, book, you are so fired. Gah. It's obviously a da Vinci Code ripoff. Sorry, Siân's midnight-blue eyes and copper-coloured hair? Wut? Will's distracting beauty? Wut? Just ugh.

Also, I just glanced at the riddle cards, but hello incomprehensible mish-mash jumble of just about every kind of mysticism imaginable. yuck.
Mar 26, 2009 Adele rated it liked it
A mystery story set in France and England with a trip to America thrown in.All about trying to solve a series of riddles left by relatives over the centuries to get to the treasure which I didnt really care about in the end.Thie booked seemed very disjointed at times.
Mar 16, 2009 Michele rated it liked it
This is at least the third book I have read in the past decade that deals with something to do with Dr. John Dee, advisor to Queen Elizabeth I and believed to be the original 007. Ms. Hardie is obviously fascinated by this renaissance man and attributes much more to him than has been previously alluded in other texts and histories.

She has an interesting premise, that of a familial legacy passed down over 400 years through a female line. She also touches on the subject of organ memory in a trans
Alayne Bushey
Nov 02, 2011 Alayne Bushey rated it liked it
I don't even know where to begin with this one. A woman named Lucy needs a heart transplant, which she gets. She then becomes involved with her doctor, Alex. Somewhere along the way they're pulled into a mystery that involves Alex's brother, Will, John Dee (circa the original Queen Elizabeth's time), riddles, roses, labyrinths in churches, angels, Shakespeare, and the Rapture. If you can make sense of the plot and it's circumnavigations, then by all means, have at it, my friends. For me, it was ...more
I picked this up because it mentioned Chartres Cathedral in the plot description. Unfortunately, I think that is going to be Chartres Cathedral in the Da Vinci Code sense. I'm not sure that I'll be able to get through this one; the writing is decidedly of the bad.

OK, I finished it, and it is bad. So so so bad. Not a terrible idea, perhaps, but such appalling writing. My favourite use of imagery was this gem, discussing a French character called Guy (in French, pronounced "Gee") - "The way Calvin
Oct 14, 2012 Redant rated it it was ok
So much potential - but after plodding through the book I was disappointed when the end just didn't make any sense to me.
Sep 04, 2012 Susan rated it it was ok

I stuck with it hoping for some redemption, but it never came.
Mar 30, 2009 Shauna rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I only need one word to describe this book.... awful!!!!!!!!!!
Aug 04, 2012 Stacey rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2012
I really struggled with how many stars to give this book. There was some aspects to it that I really enjoyed, I love a good historical quest with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. However, there were some parts that I just really felt did nothing for the story and if anything made it more difficult to follow. I felt that the clues of the quest became far far too complicated and involved far too many long winded explanations that were really difficult to follow. I appreciate that if it ...more
Jan 25, 2009 Malcolm rated it liked it
As a spider weaves its web and as a soul (personified as Ariadne) figuratively weaves its body, Titania Hardie has woven a complex story in her inventive novel "The Rose Labyrinth."

Like the "two natures" (physical and psychic) of alchemy, this quest story overlays the lives of modern-day characters Alex and Lucy on a wide-ranging, interlocking web of esoteric philosophy and practice. Alex Sterling's family has been the keeper of the along-ago buried secrets of the Elizabethan astrologer and alch
Jan 21, 2010 Melissa rated it did not like it
Reading this book has given me a new appreciation and respect for Dan Brown. If you liked his books, go re-read one of them before you pick this one up.

Twice I put this book down believing I would never pick it up again. Yet somehow I managed to finish it. I love a good puzzle and a good conspiracy theory, but while this book promises both it delivers neither.

Philosophically, the book very much is a treatise on secular humanism, which I don't necessarily have a problem with, despite my own Chri
Jul 04, 2012 Billy rated it it was ok
A lot of information, very little else,

This book started very well. The first 200-or-so pages were excellent and I had high hopes for the novel. Hardie's writing was exceptional until about half way through. The second half of the book dashed all hopes of the book being a worthwhile read. A summary is difficult because of the amount of information covered, but here's my best attempt. A woman receives a heart transplant and the donor is a man who was unknowingly connected to a secret society. The
Ok, I've had another go because I've run out of books to read.

This one was horrendous at the point at which I gave up the last time. I was delighted to discover that it actually gets WORSE.

It is gobsmackingly awful. It is utter drivel. It is beyond bad. It is so bad that I don't actually believe it could possibly be this bad, so I now assume I'm reading the words the wrong way round. It has to be my fault. Nobody, NOBODY, could get this rubbish published so it has to be all in my head, not on th
Aug 31, 2009 Ali rated it did not like it
Reading any of the other comments made by others would have been good before I started this book...because then I wouldn't have even bothered reading it. It wasn't the worst book I've ever read...but that isn't high praise is it?
The clues to the mystery in the book could have been so much more interesting if they would have been something that I could relate to. Or if the characters had experienced their "aha" moment with us. Instead we are left to find out things as they are summarizing things
Aug 06, 2012 Kristen rated it liked it
I had a hard time deciding how many stars to give this book.

I found the plot excessively complicated and somewhat overly-dramatic, full of red herrings, Rapture nuts, angels, and visions of John Dee and William Shakespeare alternating with the current day events that included abductions and hidden agendas in the quest for the answers to the puzzle left by John Dee.

However, offestting the over-wrought drama of the "quest" was the group of characters in the current-day part of the story. I really
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