A Cathar holy woman must defy Rome to preserve the truth.
Christianity will enter its darkest hour.
In the Pyrenees mountains, a woman will challenge the most powerful pontiff in history and hurl the Church into its greatest crisis of authority.
Esclarmonde de Foix is the most popular maiden in Occitania’s fabled courts of love. But her life is thrown into turmoil when she encounters a sect of heretics called Cathars. Esclarmonde is forced to choose between her love for a mysterious Knight Templar and her calling to lead these persecuted descendants of Christ’s first followers. In the tradition of Mary Magdalene, she ordains women, teaches pacifism, and debates the future leaders of the Inquisition. Desperate to suppress her popular preaching, Innocent III launches the only crusade ever officially declared against fellow Christians.
The outnumbered Occitan defenders make their final stand atop Montsegur, a haunting temple fortress where they protect a precious treasure. Their heroic resistance against the crusader army evokes the legendary defiance of the Jews against the Roman legions at Masada.
The Fire and the Light is a sweeping epic of crusading fanaticism, courtly romance, and esoteric mystery set during the infamous Albigensian Crusade.
- Nautilus Silver Award Winner
- IPPY Silver Award Winner
- NIEA Award Winner for Best New Fiction
- Eric Hoffer Finalist/Honorable Mention Winner
- Foreword Magazine Book-of-the-Year Finalist
and Honorable Mention for Historical Fiction
- Da Vinci Eye Award Finalist