1205AD: Philip of Vercy sails away from the roasting wasteland where he has passed the last year. As a Knight of the Realm, he has fought the infidel in the Holy Land. Now, after twelve months of savage, bloody warfare in the scorching sun, he is finally coming home to his castle, to peace, and to his beloved wife. But France offers neither comfort or peace. His wife has died in childbirth, his young son is dying of a wasting disease, and, in the south, his Cathar countrymen are being brutally persecuted. When Philip hears rumours of a healer in the Languedoc, a young woman blessed by God and marked with Christ's Stigmata, he rides out on a desperate quest to save his son. His journey takes him into a vision of hell that outstrips even what he saw in Outremer. Disgusted by the senseless slaughter, Philip gradually becomes embroiled in the Cathar cause. And then he finds his miracle: Fabrisse Berenger, the beautiful, loving daughter of Cathar parents. She is bewildered by her strange wounds, but Philip is fascinated by them... and more fascinated by the serene goodness of Fabricia herself. Together, the pair must flee persecution under cover of darkness - but they cannot hold off the Pope's soldiers forever. Their destiny will be decided in the snows of the Black Mountains where Fabricia and Philip must make choices not just to save their lives, but their souls.
In the year 1205, Sir Philip of Vercy returns home to France after a grueling year as a knight fighting in the Holy Land only to learn that his beloved wife is dead in childbirth and his newborn son is frail and sickly, on the verge of death. Consumed by grief, he travels to Languedoc in search of a miraculous healer named Fabricia Berenger, a nun, to save his son’s life. But once in Languedoc, he finds himself thrust into the dangers of battle against the Papal military who are waging war to eliminate the Cathar heretics. Fabricia Bérenger receives visions from the Virgin Mary. Her devotion to her faith is strong and along with her prophetic visions, she receives the Stigmata, open wounds to her hands and feet that bleed like Christ’s wounds did on the cross. Philip is plagued by his conscience and his future. Nothing is the same, death of his wife, and all the killing in battle deeply affecting him. Fabricia’s presence in his life affects him deeply as he is more and more drawn to love her.
Stigmata by international bestselling author, Colin Falconer, is an intricate story with rich characters and an intense plot that proved to be an enthralling read. A touch of Catholic mystery, a broken hero who is trying to rebuild his shattered life, and a heroine blessed/cursed with the ability to heal that keeps her in constant turmoil. It was a turbulent time of heresy, crusades, and the struggles to overcome devastation. Beautifully written in typical Falconer style with plenty of snap and sharpness, and wonderfully researched, I enjoyed every page of this book. Fast paced, sprinkled with unique and unusual details, and with plenty of emotion, makes this a must read for those who love the medieval period or books about the unexplained mysteries of life. Loved, loved, loved this novel. Rivting!