The Good Men, by Charmaine Craig

Set in 14th-century France during the time of the Inquisition against the heretics known as the Cathari, this is a story about love and obsession. Its passions finally achieve mature expression in an unlikely threesome: the sodomite cobbler Arnaud Lizier, his mute wife, Grazida, and the concupiscent priest of Montaillou, Pierre Clergue.


It would be unfortunate if this brief description suggested that the novel was merely an exploration of a sexual circus. It is a tribute to the skill of first-time novelist Charmaine Craig that her intense depictions of the myriad possibilities of sexual desire carry us through three generations of characters, culminating in Grazida's hymn to the earth as she travels to rejoin her infant daughter. Although some of the novel's characters function more as ideas than people, Arnaud, Grazida and Pierre emerge as fully rounded persons.

 

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