A novel by Kate Mosse first published in 2005, which is best described as an historical mystery/conspiracy thriller with supernatural elements, set in both the Middle Ages and present day France. Not to be confused with the film Labyrinth starring David Bowie.
There are two main storylines at work, with the chapters alternating regularly between each one. In 2005, Doctor Alice Tanner is working on an archaeology site in the south of France when she is drawn to a hidden cave in the hills. There she finds two skeletons, one grasping a mysterious book and a ring with a labyrinth design. Struck by a strong sense of déjà vu, Alice soon realizes that there are plenty of other people who have a strong interest in what she found within the cave, and no qualms about using violence to get to it.
In 1209, seventeen year old Alaïs goes to fetch herbs and discovers a dead body in the river, its thumb removed and throat cut. With that discovery, her father reveals to her his long-held secret: that he is one of the guardians of three books that contain the secrets of the Holy Grail. With an enemy army moving against Carcassonne and her devious older sister Oriane determined to get her hands on the books, its up to Alaïs to smuggle the trilogy to safety.
The two stories occur in a shared geography and occasionally intertwine, usually through dreams or visions. The novel relies heavily on historical events such as the massacre at Béziers and the Crusade against the Cathars in Occitania, from around 1200.
In 2012, Labyrinth was adapted into a two-part miniseries, filmed on-location in the medieval town of Carcassonne in southwest France and Cape Town, South Africa. Like the book, it jumps between modern and medieval France, and remains a reasonably faithful adaptation of the source material with only a few dramatic liberties. It stars Vanessa Kirby, Jessica Brown Findlay, Katie McGrath, Tom Felton, Sebastian Stan, Emun Elliott, Tony Curran, and John Hurt. The trailer can be seen here.
Labyrinth was followed by two Spiritual Successors, Sepulchre (2009) and Citadel (2012), both of which also made use of the dual stories in different time periods running parallel to one another. Together they are unofficially known as the Languedoc trilogy.
The book contains examples of:
- Abel And Cain: Alaïs and Oriane.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Alice
- Babies Ever After: The epilogue reveals that Will and Alice married and have a baby daughter.
- Cool Old Lady: Esclarmonde
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry
- Green-Eyed Monster: Oriane's jealousy of Alaïs.
- MadonnaWhore Complex: Very much so. In both past and present, the virtuous heroine is pitted against a more sexualized villainess.
- Precocious Crush: Sahje toward Alaïs.
- Rule of Three: There are three guardians for the three books that lead to the location of the Holy Grail.
- Satellite Love Interest: Will has two purposes: to provide the reader with insight into Marie-Cecile's life, and to be boyfriend material for Alice.
- Sex Is Evil: Oriane's role as a villain is heavily linked to her promiscuity, resulting in some implicit Slut-Shaming by the narrative.
- Together in Death: The skeletons that Alice finds in the cave at the beginning of the novel are eventually revealed to be Alaïs and Guilhem.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Audric Baillard
- Young and in Charge: Viscount Trencavel
- Your Cheating Heart: Guilhem.
The miniseries contains examples of:
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the book, Alaïs is described as "plain" and later as "neither plain nor beautiful". Here, she's played by Jessica Brown Findlay, who is a complete stunner.
- Adapted Out: Oriane's husband Jehan Congost and Marie-Cecile's son Francois-Baptiste. Also, Jeanne Giraud.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Sahje toward Alaïs, who still loves her husband.
- And Starring: Tom Felton
- Bastard Bastard: Oriane.
- Betty and Veronica: Alaïs is the Betty, Oriane is the Veronica to Guilhelm's Archie.
- Big Badass Battle Sequence: At the end of Part I.
- Bittersweet Ending
- Blood Knight: Guy d'Évreux.
- Catapult Nightmare: Subverted with Alaïs in her first scene.
- The Cameo: Kate Mosse appears briefly as a Montsegur tour guide.
- Death by Adaptation: Shelagh. In the book it's strongly implied that she's rescued from the cave. In the miniseries, she's shot dead before the caravan she's in is set on fire. Also, Esclarmonde in the book lives a long life and dies peacefully; in the miniseries she succumbs to her injuries sustained by soldiers.
- Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Marie-Cecile
- Freudian Excuse: Oriane's loveless marriage with a much older man is dropped and replaced with a backstory in which she is actually the illegitimate child of a disreputable woman, explaining why she considers herself The Unfavorite in her father's eyes.
- Good People Have Good Sex: When Guilhem has sex with Alais, it's slow, loving and missionary style. When he has sex with Oriane, it's rough, quick and doggy style. This trope doesnt get more blatant than that.
- Idiot Ball: In the book, Alice is drawn to the cave in the cliffs by her own instincts. In the mini-series, she spots the entrance due to rocks that have been dislodged after an earthquake and investigates minutes after the ground stops shaking.
- Impaled Palm: Guilhelm does this to Guy d'Évreux, who fully deserves it.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: There are few. Guilhelm, Alaïs and particularly Oriane.
- I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Oriane disrobes before asking Guilhem to bring her Alaïs's ring. Only when he refuses does she resort to blackmail by threatening to expose their affair.
- Light Feminine Dark Feminine: Oriane is the dark, Alaïs is the light. Alice and Marie-Cecile also count.
- Mrs. Robinson: Sure, Marie-Cecile still looks gorgeous in her forties but...how many years of difference are there between her and Will?
- Ominous Latin Chanting
- Pet the Dog: According to the director, Guilhem was given a dog in order to make him seem more sympathetic.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Both Oriane and Alaïs are beautiful dark-haired girls with pale skin, though Oriane is more a Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette. Well, she is played by Katie McGrath.
- Really 700 Years Old: Sahje, who lives to tell Alais's story until he finally dies from a gunshot wound.
- Parental Favoritism: Alaïs is obviously Daddy's Girl because of her kindness and because Oriane is not really Bertrand's daughter.
- Psychotic Smirk: It must be Katie Mc Grath's Character Tic.
- Sacred Hospitality: Is kept by Trencavel, but broken by Simeon de Montfort.
- Satellite Love Interest: As in the book, Will.
- Sealed with a Kiss: Ends with Will and Alice kissing outside a cottage.
- Self-Made Orphan: In a way, Oriane.
- Sibling Triangle
- Shipper on Deck: Audric for Will and Alice.
- Slashed Throat: What happen if you betray the Noublesso.
- Together in Death: The skeletons that Alice finds in the cave at the beginning of the film are eventually revealed to be Alaïs and Guilhem.
- The Wise Prince: Viscount Trencavel.
- Would Not Hit a Girl: Guilhelm to Oriane: "If you were a man, you would not leave this room alive." Later it's subverted, as he kills her.