In southern France, a protected scroll holds shattering revelations about Christ.
A Cathar holy woman must defy Rome to preserve the truth.
Christianity will enter its darkest hour.
As the 13th century dawns, the Christian world is shaken by spiritual upheaval. In Rome, Pope Innocent III plots to crush a new heresy. In the Holy Land, crusading monks make a disturbing discovery about Jesus of Nazareth. In France, roving troubadours sing of a mysterious Grail that offers salvation through the intercession of a worthy lady.

In the Pyrenees mountains, a woman will challenge the most powerful pontiff in history and hurl the Church into its greatest crisis of authority.

Esclarmonde de Foix is the most popular maiden in Occitania’s fabled courts of love. But her life is thrown into turmoil when she encounters a sect of heretics called Cathars. Esclarmonde is forced to choose between her love for a mysterious Knight Templar and her calling to lead these persecuted descendants of Christ’s first followers. In the tradition of Mary Magdalene, she ordains women, teaches pacifism, and debates the future leaders of the Inquisition. Desperate to suppress her popular preaching, Innocent III launches the only crusade ever officially declared against fellow Christians.

The outnumbered Occitan defenders make their final stand atop Montsegur, a haunting temple fortress where they protect a precious treasure. Their heroic resistance against the crusader army evokes the legendary defiance of the Jews against the Roman legions at Masada.

The Fire and the Light is a sweeping epic of crusading fanaticism, courtly romance, and esoteric mystery set during the infamous Albigensian Crusade.