Many years have passed since the Occitanian knights killed Richard the Lionheart in a courageous battle to keep the Blue Flame--sparked at the moment of Christ's death--from falling into the wrong hands. Now it is in danger once again, as enemies from the north draw near. In the midst of this looming battle, lifelong friends Raimon, son of a Cathar weaver, and Yolanda, daughter of a Catholic Count, are falling in love. But a new religious crusade is about to begin, setting boy against girl, family against family, neighbor against neighbor, south against north. Though many seek to possess the Blue Flame, only one person is destined to wield its power to save the people and the sovereignty of the Occitan.
K. M. GRANT was inspired by her own family history to write How the Hangman Lost His Heart. Her ancestor, Colonel Francis Towneley, or Uncle Frank, was the last man in Britain to by hanged, drawn, and quartered. His head was passed down for generations of her family until it was finally reunited with his body just after World War II, when it was buried at St. Peter’s Church. It was Uncle Frank’s colorful legacy that showed her how exciting history could be. K. M. Grant is also the author of the de Granville Trilogy. She lives in Scotland and works as a broadcaster and journalist.
Blue Flame is about the Catholics and the Cathars, two religious groups who once lived in peace but are soon going to be torn apart by a religious crusade. In the midst of the battle two lifelong friends, Raimon (a Cathar), and Yolanda (a Catholic) are falling in love. Their romance is ill-fated - because they come from two completely different backgrounds, they must return to their separate families and proceed on the path destiny has given them. Their only salvation is the Blue Flame, a mysterious yet divine source of power that only one selected individual can control and harvest. Time is running out though, and if the Blue Flame isn't salvaged soon, then both the Catholics and the Cathars could perish for eternity.
The main problem I had with this novel was the fact that I do not know a thing about France in the thirteenth century, or the Inquisition. Sure, I've studied it briefly in World History class, but not to a great extent. Therefore, for about half of the book I had no idea what was going on until the author decided to explain it in a little more detail.
I also didn't enjoy the third person narrative of the land. It was off-putting and impersonal, thus I wasn't able to make a full connection with any of the characters. That being said, Raimon and Yolanda were both interestingly developed and fleshed out, even if they weren't the most intriguing characters ever. The book had action and some romance in it, so it will cater to a variety of teens. Blue Flame would have gotten four stars if K.M. Grant had only done something more exciting with the plot.
The book certainly wasn't horrible, but there's only a slim chance I'll be reading the next one in the series. Sorry.
Blue Flame is easily one of the best written books of this age that I have ever read. The story itself kept me entertained but would not have earned such a high rating purely by itself. Description was crisp but not overpowering and things that could have been quite lame written by anyone else were attention capturing. I could not put this book down. There were so many stories within the story that I could barely keep up and figure out which one to follow (this is a good feeling when I'm reading books because it makes me feel like the book isn't just words on a page but alive). The plot was thrilling and dangerous twisted in with rich romance and sprinkled delicately with tragedy. This book is one to recommend.
During the Middle Ages in the ancient area of Occitania (Pyrenees and southern France), best friends Yolanda (almost 14 yrs) and Raimon (16) are falling in love amidst the threat of invasion by French King Louis and growing religious tension between Catholics and Cathars. The arrival of a Catholic Inquisitor to Yolanda’s Catholic father’s castle puts Raimon and his Cathar family in danger and pits neighbor against neighbor. The Blue Flame, a legendary religious relic sparked at the moment of Christ’s death that stands for the unity and independence of Occitania, has suddenly reappeared in the region, fueling the hopes and schemes of all. Who can wield the Flame’s power and to whose purpose and benefit? This extensively researched historical fiction has a weighty topic with examining religious intolerance and persecution in the Languedoc region of France during the Inquisition, which may not appeal to all. Moreover, the way that the role of narrator shifts back and forth from the Occitania land itself to several different characters creates a distant and disjointed feel that kept me from becoming totally engrossed with the characters and the story. However, deadly fanaticism, mysticism, and suspenseful intrigue accompany a Romeo and Juliet-type romance and plenty of action that may please historical adventure fans. First of a planned trilogy by the author of the recent, very different, 'How the Hangman Lost His Heart'.
I know I should have liked this more, but I didn't. I think it was the descriptive prose. Grant has won so many awards for her writing, and I can appreciate this, but it's not the sort of book with which I would persist if I were a young adult. Throughout the plot everything always seems 'just out of reach' & perhaps I am an impatient reader, but I only just managed to get through this book. Character development was excellent. There was a little too much struggle for the reader's attention between the four main characters. But older readers should manage this easily (perhaps even relish it?) This is a good book, however my preference is for simpler, cleaner plots. The ending was left open for the next in the trilogy. I will try other KM Grant books instead because she is a good writer.
Anything by K.M. Grant is worthwhile reading, if you enjoy intelligent and detailed historical fiction. This title is basically a romance centered around "heretical treasure" and set at a turbulent, frightening time in medieval Europe.
Blue Flame *Spoiler Alert* The book, Blue Flame, by K.M. Grant, is fascinating and surprising. It was published by Quercus Publishing, Plc in 2008and has 241pages. Blue Flame is a historical fiction book about a forbidden love and a war between the Cathars and Catholics. Each religion wanted the blue flame, said to be lit by god and could do anything, to take out the other religion. Finally one day the blue flame shows itself which brings chaos throughout the land. K.M. Grant created Raimon, one of the main characters of the book, to show that the controller of the blue flame doesn’t have to someone in high power. Raimon is a weaver who is best friends with Yolanda, also one of the main characters. In the book Raimon almost ends up dead from a pyre, for standing up for what he believes in, until the blue flame saves him. He then runs away leaving the towns people in confusion. This was the first time they had seen the omnipotent blue flame in action and they were upset I was used on a boy who they thought of as just a weaver. Blue Flame’s plot did not start until the middle of the book. However, K.M. Grant did this to add important facts into the book so the reader would understand everything that was happening and why it was happening. This is a great strategy, because it keeps the reader interested and questioning what would happen next. Although the beginning was slow it was impossible to put the book down. One thing I loved about Blue Flame is that you actually felt like you were in the middle ages. Most books I have read don’t have much detail about the setting because they take place in present day. Since this book took place in the middle ages K.M. Grant made sure the reader knew exactly what everything looked like. For example when they went to town you didn’t imagine big buildings and a paved road with cars driving on it. Instead you got an image of small stand with poor merchants behind them and a dusty street filled with people and horses. Blue Flame is an extraordinary book that everyone should read. It is surprising, sweet, and an exciting read. It makes you think differently about life back them and teaches you important lessons. For example one lesson in the book is making the tough decisions in life. “You see sir Parsifal; I just want to go to her. I can’t imagine not going, yeti know that it’s not the right thing to do because the Flames not my flame.” (Grant 239.)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
So basically, I didn't realize that this fell into the juvenile fiction genre until after it was sitting on my shelf to be read. *fail* Needless to say, due to this fact, it didn't particularly thrill or engage me in anyway. Which is alright, because I'm not in the juvenile age range, so that's kinda to be expected. Anyway. The plot of Blue Flame centers around two young teens--14ish year olds--in medieval Occitan, which is located in some part of the world I couldn't quite gather and I don't think was specifically told. South of France, I think?
These two teens, Raimon and Yolanda, like each other...or, love each other as they said at times...but their "small town" life is totally interrupted by the arrival of the Blue Flame, whose significance I still don't really get. I got the part where it was supposedly lit at Christ's death--and that I got from the back cover--and therefore it is understandable that the religious people went bonkers over trying to claim it. What I didn't get was the real, true blue point of it was. Raimon seemed to get it wasn't what the religious nuts thought it was, but I had a hard time figuring out what it did mean then.
Short review made shorter: it was alright considering the age range it is aimed at. While I personally didn't have a whole lot of interest in it I think young teens/tweens might like it, if they're into historical or slightly mythical stories. I bought this book, and therefore was not required nor asked to write a review, nor a positive one at that. I was not compensated for this review.
As I've said in other reviews, I LOVE K.M. Grant's books! This book, while not my favorite, is a definite improvement over "How the Hangman Lost His Heart", and I have great hopes for this trilogy.
The story revolves around threee characters: Parsifal, Raiman, and Yolanda. Parsifal as a child, accidentally kills King Richard and is forced to flee for his life. His father also entrusts him with job of ensuring that a sacred religious relic finds its way home and out of the grasp of the French. Parsifal obediently sets out but, forty years later is still aimlessly wandering around waiting for his (and the Blue Flame's) destiny. One day he spots Yolanda and Raiman, best friends who are just beginning to feel something for each other than just friendship. Everything seems to be going swimmingly until a series of unfortunate events force Yolanda and Raiman to opposite sides of the growing hostility between Catholics and Cathars.
Since this is the first of a planned trilogy I really hope these (hopefully not) doomed lovers get to be together. And while their ages initially may seem incredibly young, keep in mind that this is set in the early part of the 13th century when it was perfectly acceptable to marry a girl off at eleven, so fourteen seems comparatively old. A great read!!!
This book was refreshing for me as I have been either reading fantasy or short "cotton candy" novels lately. It's historical fiction, and I love how Gran creates a fictional story to tell the true one. Daikon and Yolanda have been best friends forever, but now everything is changing. Before, it didn't matter that he was a Cathar and she was a Catholic. But people are choosing sides and Raiman and Yolanda don't know what to do. Maybe the Blue Flame will come and save them - yet again, maybe not. In this book, Grant decides to uniquely use the land as the narrator. I think it adds more depth and feeling to the story so that the readers care more about the plot. History, romance, uncertainty, and adventure abound in this first novel of the Perfect Flame trilogy. I loved it.
Fans of Grant's DeGranville trilogy will enjoy this tale of knights, a fair maiden, and the Blue Flame. Part one of the Perfect Fire Trilogy; the central theme revolves around religious intolerance in an area known as Occitania, where Cathars and Catholics live together harmoniously during the 13th century. All of that changes, however, when the inquisitor comes to town. The two young protagonists, the boy Cathar - the girl Catholic, are thrown a frantic fight to save their friends and loved ones. Grant offers the perfect mix of action and romance to keep readers of either genre interested.
A solid fantasy-tinged historical novel with strong themes of unity and religious tolerance. Set in 1242 in what is now southern France, in a region that time forgot called Occitania, the Catholic inquisition of Cathars is ongoing but just beginning to touch the home region of our heroes, Amouroix. Yolanda and Raimon are childhood friends on the brink of something more. When they cross paths with the scruffy homeless knight Parsifal, it's the first step down a path toward (I'm guessing) unifying their divided region under the banner of the legendary Blue Flame. Their people have been waiting for its return, and Parsifal of all people carries it secretly. First of a trilogy.
The first book of a new Trilogy... this follows a time in England after Richard the Lionheart is murdered. The Blue Flame is a legend that exists and the man who has been hiding it is found by a young man and woman, one of Cathar blood, the other of Christian and royal, respectively. There is an introduction of an inquisition in this land and the boy is pursued while the young woman is sought after by a knight from France.
Yolanda, on the verge of womanhood, is the daughter of a Count in medieval Occitan. With the threat of France invading Occitan and the religious persecution between the Catholics and Cathars, her countrymen find solace in the myth of the blue flame--and then it makes a mysterious appearance.
What a well written YA book! Lately, I've been reading a lot of YA's with good stories but mediocre language. Grant is very talented.
A Romeo and Juliet story of two young people on opposite sides of the religious arguments of 1242 France. They are most certainly doomed. Enter Sir Parsifal. Just Parsifal, please. He holds the mysterious Blue Flame that may be able to save these two and the land at war.
Even though this book does not discuss King Arthur directly, I list it as a King Arthur novel as Parsifal was one of Arthur's knights.
K.M. Grant is visiting our school this year and of the three books that I have read by her, this was my favorite. Set in medieval times, this story is loaded with elements of war, love, conquests, and religion. It is action-packed and I grew to enjoy it more and more with each turning page.
I really like this Author- She makes learning about historical times and events interesting and she writes beautiful stories.This book has some strong characters- it is easy to get emotionally involved.
As a historic kind of fiction on the battle between Cathars and Catholics, it is very well written. It uses very normal people to show the effect of religious debate in a very extreme climate. I was provoked to look into the actual beliefs of the Cathars for myself. Strange!!