By René Weis
Published Jan 2010
In the thirteenth century, a group of heretics in south-west France, the Cathars, became a serious threat to the Catholic church. Their fervently held dualistic beliefs were an anathema to the established religious order. In several waves of brutal repression, thousands of Cathars were killed, with many being burnt at the stake. Yet so ardent was their faith that, early in the fourteenth century, in a groundswell centred around the small Occitan village of Montaillou, the Cathars rose one final time.
In The Yellow Cross, René Weis narrates a rich medieval tale of faith, adgenture, sex and courage which – it is staggering to realise – is true in every detail. Peopled with unforgettable characters, from a highly sexed chatelaine to a double-dealing priest, a loquacious shepherd to a merciless bishop, The Yellow Cross is a major work of detection, scholarship and storytelling. It offers us a remarkable, almost miraculously vivid, reanimation of an otherwise lost world.