Art and Design

The dust jacket and book design for The Fire and the Light were created by Greg Spalenka, an internationally acclaimed artist, and Jeff Burne, an expert in type. More examples of their work can be found at

The painting of the Siege of Montsegur was commissioned exclusively for The Fire and the Light and created by Ivan Lapper, the world’s leading castle reconstruction artist. Mr. Lapper, who resides in London, was honored by the Queen for his reconstruction paintings of the Tower of London. More of his work can be found at

The Occitania map was created by Jeffrey Ward and enhanced by Greg Spalenka.

Historical Fiction

History Into Fiction: Glen's Blog on the Craft of Recreating the Past in Novels and Movies.
Historical Fiction Online: A community of authors and lovers of historical novels.
Historical Novel Society: Publishes the Historical Novels Review and Solander.
Reading the Past: Sarah Johnson's superb watchtower for new historical fiction.
Book Addicts Anonymous: An eclectic blog with a penchant for good history.
Living the History: The nonpariel Elizabeth Chadwick's blog.
Susan Higginbotham: A blog with an insight on the Plantagenets.
Writing the Renaissance: Julianne Douglas's blog on 16th-century France.
Historical Tapestry: A blog by devoted readers of the genre.
Versailles and More: The blog where Catherine Delors lets them eat cake.
History Buff: Michelle Moran digs for good novels and archaeological news.
Fuzzy History: The daughter of a historian sharpens our fiction eye.
Women of History: Melisende chronicles Herstory.
Carla Nayland: A scientist puts history to the test.
Passages to the Past: Amy's a Mets fan, so she should know about historical tragedies.

Recommended Reading and Travel Resources

The Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade:

* Zoe Oldenbourg, Massacre at Montsegur
Arthur Guirdham, We Are One Another and The Great Heresy
Janet Shirley, The Song of the Cathar Wars
Steven Runciman, The Medieval Manichee

* Abe Van Luik maintains a wonderful collection of photos, reviews, and writings about Montsegur and Cathar Country at Thoughts and Places.

* John Bradshaw offers guided trips in Cathar Country and spiritual retreats from his Ariege Healing centre near Montsegur.

* Judy Colaneri at Spanish Steps conducts magnificent guided hiking trips across Cathar Country while providing clients with the best of local Occitan cuisine.
* Yves Maris's website at Chemin Cathares: A modern Cathar, Yves lives in Roquefixade and has devoted his life to preserving the memory of the martyrs.
* The dynamic and dedicated Anneke Koremans at Barinca Travel & Tourism provides custom guided tours in Cathar Country.
* When visiting Montsegur, stay and dine at the Auberge de Montsegur in the village. Be sure to say hello to Heidi, who is passionate about the Cathar history of the area and helps pilgrims navigate the historical site.

*Celtic Mystical Journeys, led by Finbar Ross, Irish-born guide extraordinaire, takes groups to sacred sites around the world, including Montsegur and Cathar France.

Scotland and the Bruce Era:

* Nigel Tranter, The Bruce Trilogy
Caroline Bingham, Robert the Bruce

The Knights Templar:

* Malcolm Barber, The Trial of the Templars
Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, The Templar Revelation

Gnosticism and Lost Christianity:

* Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels
Margaret Starbird, The Woman With The Alabaster Jar
Robert Eisenman, James, The Brother of Jesus

The Holy Grail:

* Norma Lorre Goodrich, The Holy Grail
Malcolm Godwin, The Holy Grail
Ean and Deike Begg, In Search of the Holy Grail and the Precious Blood

Book Club Study Guides

The Fire and the Light / The Spider and the Stone