A little less action and battles for more thought and investigation make up this brilliantly third part adventures of the lord damned, Gondemar de Rossal, commissioned by God to carry out a terrible quest that would allow him to save his soul. We find in this fantastic and medieval thriller byHerve Gagnon, all the ingredients which made the success of the two previous volumes, still easy and fascinating to read.
Back to the north!
Gondemar de Rossal, the formidable crusader who passed over to the Cathars in order to find and protect the "Truth" only has half of it. The missing second part is said to be hidden in the north of France, in the heart of the impregnable fortress of Gisors. To save his soul, he has no choice but to hit the road again, abandoning his love in Toulouse despite the many risks and dangers that await him. His goal ? Secretly approach enemies who are heading towards the same destination in order to spy on them and keep one step ahead of them. Of course, nothing will go as planned and complications and unforeseen events will abound, starting with the arrival of the plague.
With The righteous stuff, we remain, as said above, in the tradition of the two previous opus: The Legacy of the Cathars and The Burden of Lucifer.
Hervé Gagnon continues to envelop us in his dark and cruel Middle Ages while leading his damned hero to a true reflection confronting him both with his past and his future. Thus, redemption continues to be the major theme of this saga but with an even deeper questioning, especially around the notion of sacrifice. Indeed, redemption comes at a cost and it is up to our beloved and loving hero, Gondemar, whether that cost is worth his soul's price. And to know the answer to this quite Faustian question, it will be necessary to wait patiently for the next and last volume.
I must have turned a few shades pale when I heard the name of the one who, among all of them, could derail the mission assigned to me and ruin my chances of saving my soul. If I came face to face with Simon de Montfort before reaching Gisors, I was lost.
The last thing I wanted was to pique his curiosity. I forced myself to stay calm and I turned around as naturally as possible. In the light of the flames, two figures approached. One was that of the soldier Montfort angrily expelled from his tent as I slipped into his camp to find Pernelle. Over his chainmail he wore the red and white livery of the House of Montfort. Fortunately, he was still too far away to recognize me. The other, tall and thin, moved with an almost feminine grace. It belonged to a boy I did not know from Eve or Adam. To my relief, however, Simon de Montfort was nowhere.
Hervé Gagnon, Damné, volume 3, L’étoffe du Juste, Hugo Roman, Paris, 2013.