||April 13, 2010
Barnes & Noble.com
Watermark is a work of historical fiction, set in southern France during the heresy of the Good Men in the 1300s. The protagonist of the novel is an albino mute, Auda, whose desire to write and tell stories is both her salvation and her doom.
This is a novel about beauty, both physical and spiritual, art and what drives the artist to create, and the development of papermaking in a time when new ideas were tantamount to heresy..
In 1320, a minor papermaker moves to the small town of Narbonne in the south of France in the hopes of selling his cheap new wares. Writing, reading, and control of the more costly parchment supplies are under complete control of the Church, whose corruption is causing discontent and rebellion among the middle class. The small living he ekes out goes virtually unnoticed until his voiceless albino daughter, Auda, uses his paper to write glorious stories of love and nobility. Her unique verses capture the attention of the town’s rulers, a handsome painter, a band of heretics, and the Inquisition.
Trapped between her passionate quest to find her voice and mortal threats brought by the grand Inquisitor, Auda turns to her friends and protectors to help her and her family safe from torture, and even death. The town’s Vicomte and Vicomtesse, the Archbishop, Auda’s lover, and her heretical friends all come to her rescue, for good or for ill will.
This exciting novel about papermaking, troubadours, and the Cathar heretics tells Auda’s story of love, longing, and the need to find her place in the world.
Read the first chapter:
New York Times bestselling author Sharon Kay Penman
Watermark is a powerful novel about the destructive forces unleashed by ignorance and superstition. Readers will care deeply for the courageous Auda, who finds love where she least expects it, in the shadow of the Inquisition.
Sankaran deftly illuminates a time of intellectual darkness in this superbly rendered debut.
Bestselling author David Liss
Watermark is a stunning debut --moving, compelling and illuminating. Vanitha Sankaran has magically captured the lost world of medieval France in all its social, religious and philosophical complexity, and done so with an admirable verve. Peopled with a wide array of compelling characters, Watermark is historical fiction at its best.
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