Monday, October 03, 2011

Book Review: The Friar of Carcassonne, by Stephen O’Shea

Providence author Stephen O’Shea is more than a writer of historical narratives. He is designing engineer and pilot of a time machine that transports readers back in time 800 years or more.

He takes us to medieval Europe, a world alien to modern sensibilities, and makes it understandable by illuminating the historical record with the storytelling techniques of new journalism: scene setting, character development, and dialogue.

I first became acquainted with O’Shea’s historical scholarship and narrative craftsmanship a decade ago when I read “The Perfect Heresy,” his engrossing account of a little-known Christian heresy that took root in southern France in the 13th century, then was savagely suppressed by Pope Innocent III and crusading knights from the north. The heretics were pacifist Christians of austere belief who followed holy men (and women) whom the Roman church labeled as “perfect,” as in fully committed to their spiritual quest. Hence it became the “perfect” heresy; otherwise known to historians as the Albigensian heresy since it was rooted in Albi in south-central France.

Click here to read this article from The Providence Journal