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Monthly Group Reads > APRIL 2018: CATHAR by Christopher Bland

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message 1: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments Discussion thread for the group read of Cathar by Christopher Bland

All welcome in discussion even if you have already read it, plan on reading, think it might be of interest/of no interest, anything really..just all comments welcome.

Hide spoilers!


message 2: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Mar 28, 2018 01:04PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments I'll be on this one in April. Bought it and it has arrived in time for me to start April 1.
I read the opening chapter to check it out before start date. Wow, it is captivating. I was mesmerized by it and hope the rest of tje book is as good.

Why the heck have we not noticed this book before?? Seems worthy of our attention.


message 3: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new) - rated it 4 stars

Margaret (margyw) | 3299 comments Just discovered my library has this, so I will be joining in as well.

That doesn't happen often. :)


message 4: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments It has a cracking start. I don't think we'll be disappointed in the writing quality. If we are disappointed it will be because he bombs the story or plot.

Time will tell. Glad to have some company on this read.


Megan (oreodont) | 27 comments I was super-excited to read this but my library doesn't have it. :(

I got the runner-up on CD instead and have started listening. OK so far.


message 6: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments The runner up, The Witchfinder's Sister, seems to be a bit of a best seller. Hugely popular. I would like to hear your thoughts on it, Megan. Tell me what the fuss is about.


message 7: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new) - rated it 4 stars

Margaret (margyw) | 3299 comments Should have my copy by next weekend.


message 8: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments This book has not turned out as expected.
The writing is good quality, but it is written in multiple 'first person narration'. At this stage (just passed halfway) I'm talking at least ten first person povs so far. It is annoying the heck out of me.

The book blurb makes it sound like the book will be told from Francois's pov, but he is only one of many.


Megan (oreodont) | 27 comments Update: I requested that my library purchase a copy and it's on its way!


message 10: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new) - rated it 4 stars

Margaret (margyw) | 3299 comments Terri wrote: "This book has not turned out as expected.
The writing is good quality, but it is written in multiple 'first person narration'. At this stage (just passed halfway) I'm talking at least ten first per..."


Uh oh.


message 11: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments Megan wrote: "Update: I requested that my library purchase a copy and it's on its way!"

Oh great! :D
Good to have even more company!


message 12: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments I am really interested to see what you guys make of the first person narration roller coaster.

His writing is really quite nice a lot of the time. It is such a shame he decided to use this multiple first person narrative style.

I am not sure I can think of another book I have ever read that has done this.
Not uncommon for two or three characters to appear as first person pov, but every main character?

Does anybody else remember ever reading a book with more than two or three first person pov?


message 13: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new) - rated it 4 stars

Margaret (margyw) | 3299 comments I'll start this weekend. I have to admit I don't recall ever coming across a book with that many first person POVs.


message 14: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments The more I think on it, I don't think I have even read a book with three. Two first person povs is all I have come across.

I am not sure it works, in fact...I don't think it works at all.

ON the positive end of the spectrum, it is a great read to learn about Cathars in a fictional setting. I have learned a lot. They were quite an intense religion. Not that Catholicism wasn't, but as far as enforcing hardships on oneself in the name of your religion, Cathars were right up there.


message 15: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments The author mentions these books in his Author's Note, for anybody interested in this period of history.

Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error

The Yellow Cross: The Story of the Last Cathars' Rebellion Against the Inquisition, 1290-1329

Massacre at Montségur: A History of the Albigensian Crusade

Those Catholics, boy oh boy, what can one say about the way they behaved in periods of history such as this one.
Pretty bad scene.


message 16: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new) - rated it 4 stars

Margaret (margyw) | 3299 comments It was the Albigensian Crusade that a Papal representive when asked how the could tell the Cathars from the true believers, ie, Catholics, replied "Kill them all. God knows his own."

I hope the bastard is still on slow roast in his own personal hell.


message 17: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Apr 08, 2018 12:58AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments The good news is, if anybody is getting tired of the many, many first person povs, that from a little after halfway, it becomes more Francois's pov. Many pages of just him.

But I suspect this will change, as it has started swapping first person pov again from about page 235.

May seem spoilery saying that, but you will get to a section in the first half where the multiple first person gets frequent. And I wanted to encourage you guys to hang in there. It reduces for a while soon after. Has a much better flow for a while after halfway.


message 18: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new) - rated it 4 stars

Margaret (margyw) | 3299 comments Can I second what Terri said?

Also, the POV swaps are clearly marked and don't detract from the storyline.

I am absolutely loving this book. Started yesterday. Will finish tonight.


message 19: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments Finally someone else is reading with me! :)

I have been going back and forth between 3 stars and 4. Definitely 3 stars when he was chopping around far too much from character to character, but once it broke away from that and got mostly bavk to Francois, I started enjoying it again.

But I do think it will be 3 stars, because he lost me for a while there and I didn't feel like going on with it. Lucky he saved it and got back to a normal flow of character swapping.


message 20: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments Not finished it yet though.


message 21: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new) - rated it 4 stars

Margaret (margyw) | 3299 comments Finished it last night. 4 stars for me.


message 22: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole Kegler | 10 comments It took forever for me to get this book from Amazon. Just got it on Friday.


message 23: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Apr 15, 2018 11:56PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments Have you started yet, Nicole? I am just getting back to it after a busy week or so.

I really do like Francois. I hope it ends well for him! I won't say if it does or doesn't though. Never fear! No spoilers coming. :)

Learning about Catharism has been an eye opener.


Laura Tenfingers | 174 comments I just reserved this at a nearby library and will pick it up this weekend. I'm reading a fluffy Elizabeth Chadwick novel that is set during the Albigensian Crusade/Cathar Crusade: Daughters of the Grail and definitely want to learn more.


message 25: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments It will be interesting to hear how this author's depiction of the Cathar compares to Chadwicks.

The Perfects fanaticism is fascinating. Christopher goes into them quite well, but I still need to do some googling when I've finished the book to get a better understanding of them. And why they call themselves Perfects.


message 26: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new) - rated it 4 stars

Margaret (margyw) | 3299 comments They were called Perfects for they, alone among men, could live perfectly in an imperfect world.

I wish I could remember where I came across that. I did a lot of reading on Catharism during my teens.


message 27: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments I feel perhaps something similar to that is in the novel?? Sounds familiar.

What I found interesting is the way they live their lives as Perfects. Eating differently and living a life with such strictures. It's an odd religion.


message 28: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new) - rated it 4 stars

Margaret (margyw) | 3299 comments It actually had a lot in common with the duality of the old Persian religion that predated Zoroastrianism.

The Wise God (Ahura Mazda) created the universe, but Ahriman, one of the angels, in his vanity, thought he could do better and created the earth. Eventually Ahura Mazda sent his son Mithra to redeem this world from the vanity of Ahriman.

Mithra eventually evolved into Mithras, the god of the legions, though no-one has any exact idea as to how or why.


Laura Tenfingers | 174 comments Margaret wrote: "It was the Albigensian Crusade that a Papal representive when asked how the could tell the Cathars from the true believers, ie, Catholics, replied "Kill them all. God knows his own."

I hope the ba..."


Chadwick uses this quote in Daughters of the Grail. Didn't know it was for real until I saw your comment here. Wow. Humans can be awful.


message 30: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments That quote is used in Cathar too. Must be pretty famously attributed to the Cathar story.


message 31: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new) - rated it 4 stars

Margaret (margyw) | 3299 comments It is. I think it's the sheer shock value of it. That someone could be so damned callous.


message 32: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments It is pretty rough, but then, the Inquisition in general, what a horror show. Hard to believe people of God can think what they were doing was okay. Makes me sick.


message 33: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new) - rated it 4 stars

Margaret (margyw) | 3299 comments Hasn't really changed, when you consider IS justification for their atrocities.


message 34: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments Believe it or not, i'm still about 40 pages from the end.
Had to get a couple surgeries done and dusted before I could read again. I just don't read when I'm on painkillers. No interest. Too fuzxy headed.
Now I'm nearly back with a clear head and pretty much healed up, I'm beginning to read again.

Tonight I hope to finish.

Womderimg how it is going to end. Has me guessing.


message 35: by Simona (new)

Simona | 1451 comments ...if this means that the worst part for your health is now in your past...we can forgive the tardiness, I guess! good for you Terri


message 36: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments It is, mate. All the bad is behind me, only good times in front of me! :-D


message 37: by Laura Tenfingers (last edited May 06, 2018 07:41AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Laura Tenfingers | 174 comments I just started this morning. I'm glad you've all said positive things about this book because while reading chapter 1 I wanted to quit! I am going to carry on though.

I found the first narrator, the knight from Beaufort, very irritating and the writing choppy; one paragraph about one thing and the next about something unrelated and with no transition.

I'm on chapter 3 with the Inquisitor and enjoying it much more.

I'm curious about all these POVs people have mentioned. Worse than A Game of Thrones? Or The Red Knight? The Red Knight took some getting used to.


message 38: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited May 05, 2018 03:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments The Red Knight does it! The Christian/Miles Cameron book? Well that's offputting, as I do not like too many character changes and I have discovered I really don't like more than two first person pov.
I was going to read Red Knight later this year. I think I'll give it a miss now.

I enjoyed parts of Cathar, but I am giving it 3 stars. I probably disliked as many things as I liked, so 3 stars.

The Red Knight


Laura Tenfingers | 174 comments Terri wrote: "The Red Knight does it! The Christian/Miles Cameron book? Well that's offputting, as I do not like too many character changes and I have discovered I really don't like more than two first person po..."

Oh no! I don't want to in any way put you off The Red Knight!! Put my foot in it big time! But yes, there are many POVs and honestly the first 1/4 of the book I found to be work. But then... the rest was GOLD and I loved it!! If many POVs bug you though, I'd have to sadly suggest you give it a miss...😣

I'm cooking along on Cathar, in chapter 6, and enjoying it more than my first impression.


message 40: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments Never fear! I won't blame you for putting me off The Red Knight. It is the Red Knight's fault. Too many pov is not a style I like much. I don't mind a couple, but I'm not good with chopping and changing constantly, and leaving me hanging all the time. I hate that.

I meant to say last night when I posted....shows how we all read differently as I actually loved Chapter 1 of Cathar. I enjoyed that choppy style. However, I was beginning to get tired of it by the ebd and was hoping the whole book wasn't written in that way.

Itwasn't. So that was a relief.


Laura Tenfingers | 174 comments I'm done. Also a 3-star book for me. I was hoping to learn a little bit more about the Cathars, but didn't. The same events were covered in Daughters of the Grail by Elizabeth Chadwick and I think her writing superior. It was entertaining enough but unfortunately I didn't really care about Francois very much... The PoVs weren't a problem but I found it annoying how the author would backtrack at the beginning of a new PoV and repeat what had just happened. Presumably so we didn't get confused, but it seemed a waste of time...

Jeez, I sound harsh! Well, it was an easy read (even with a non-easy subject!) and good enough.


message 42: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments I found that wearing also. To have multiple first person pov describe the exact same scene or event.


message 43: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments Finally got to writing my review.

There's no spoilers in it, but my take on the multiple first person narrative may not be something you want to hear until you have finished the book yourself.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Megan (oreodont) | 27 comments Finished it. I enjoyed the book well enough as a story -- it certainly didn't do a good job of teaching me about Catharism. I was particularly irritated when a character would refer to something and then it wasn't explained for another 50 pages (the sentencing to yellow crosses, for example). But Francois got to experience a lot and his journeys showed how the religion/sect declined.

I wasn't particularly bothered by the multiple narrators, but I felt that they rarely added to the story. Francois would narrate an event and the next person would say, "Yep, that's what happened."


message 45: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments A question to everyone...
Would this have been a better read if it had just been in the voice of Francois?

For me personally, no. Even though I didn't like the many first person point of view style, his story wasn't big enough.
But I think the book would have been much better if he'd stuck to, say, three or four voices and we could stay attached to them all the way through.


Laura Tenfingers | 174 comments I don't think Francois alone would have been enough for me. Just not enough oomph in his story. I think my main disappointment was that I assumed I was going to learn more than I did about Catharism.


message 47: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 3 stars

Terri | 19506 comments Considering I knew nothing about them other than period and name, I learned about Cathars from the book.

If I knew more about the Cathars, or had come off a book that had covered it better, I can definitely see how the info in Cathar might be failing in high detail.


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