The Serpent's Circle
UK publication Macmillan, 1985 and Coronet, 1986; US publication St Martin's Press, 1985 and Warner Books, 1986.
If the Cathars, a 13th-century sect of heretics, hadn't been exterminated by Pope Innocent III, they might have triumphed over orthodoxy and replaced what we now know as the Roman Catholic Church. What if they still survived and wanted revenge? What if more than revenge, they wanted to gain control of the Church and re-institute their beliefs? What if the 'treasure' they possessed in fact conferred supernatural powers? What if their deep insight into natural laws had enabled them to revive the ancient death and rebirth rites associated with prehistoric tumuli? What if for seven long centuries they had planned for the Pope a fate that was literally, worse than death? And what if, out of the blue, unaware of their identity, a Pope went to visit them?
The Serpent's Circle poses and answers these questions. The ensuing struggle is not just to do with a man's life, nor even with the acquisition of immense worldly power; it is a primal conflict in which the whole spiritual future of Christendom is held in the balance. All that stands between the powers of darkness and God's representative on Earth is a weak, disillusioned priest and a boy who, armed only with a supernatural gift, must make a choice between loyalty and truth, and, finally, between the destructive love of power and the saving power of love.
Fascinating... Speeds towards a genuinely exciting climax.
Books and Bookmen.
Marvellously suspenseful from first to last.
Sanctimonious skulduggery and monastic malevolence - ingenious!
Los Angeles Times
An engrossing tale... He mixes spiritual fanaticism with Druid-like paganism, ancient history and modern-day suspense... Harpur's character development is superb, and his plot development impeccable.
United Press International
Intriguing and original.
A fascinating and spell-binding tale of the forces of good and evil.
Best Sellers USA
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