Forgive Us Our Sins
Historical thriller Novel
The «chill winds of the Devil» isolate from the rest of the world the small diocese of Draguan, in the county of Toulouse.
Before the sight of the statue of the Virgin Mary broken by the cold, Romée de Haquin, its bishop, is not far from thinking that a curse is wreaking havoc on his parishes. Everything started when two young girls found the remains of tortured bodies in the river…
The savage murder of Haquin leaves the village in prey to the most irrational fears. It is at this point that a mysterious priest, Henno Gui, makes his entrance. Accompanied by a young boy and by a hideously ugly man, he had been summoned by Haquin to take charge of the thirteenth parish of the diocese, Heuteloup. After three days of walking in a forest which is as dark as it is inextricable, the group reaches the entrance of a deserted village. The church is in ruins and many houses are abandoned… Surrounded by foul-smelling marshlands and suspected of carrying the plague, the third parish has lived in oblivion for decades. Nobody knows what has happened to its inhabitants…
The cursed parish, the thirteenth of the bishropic, is so isolated that its name is often omitted from the maps of the provostship, but it does however interest the highest echelons in Rome. The Holy See is full of rumours, and agitations in the most secret inner circles of the Vatican have had repercussions as far afield as the kingdom of France. Maybe the key to these mysteries can be found in the troubled life of Romée de Haquin, or with Henno Gui, the priest with the strange methods, or found at the very heart of the thirteenth parish?
“A remarkably mature first novel – Romain Sardou expertly orchestrates the suspense. Like a detective story, “Forgive Us Our Sins” invites us to follow the careful work of two inspectors, I mean, two clergymen. The first, Henno Gui, investigates the case from the ‘scene of the crime’; the second, Brother Chuquet, follows the clues from Paris to Rome… What follows is an enthralling voyage to the heart of the Middle Ages, its secrets, lordly orgies, apocalyptic delirium, and the battles between science and religion – happily reminiscent of “The Name of the Rose”. A guaranteed thrill…”
“A spirited leap into the world of historical fiction: a rich, meticulously-researched, well-written novel… The result is a medieval fresco, completely believable, and with characters that are anything but dry… Sardou’s tour de force manages to pull us into the lives of his far-off characters. Riveting.”
“In this portrait of the the 13th century and its religious upheaval, Romain Sardou explores how far man can go in “playing God”. But this question is really just a pretext, a good way to keep us mesmerized and eager to know what will happen on the next page… Sardou is at work on his next novel, but he refuses to talk about it. Thanks to this captivating historical detective story, he has already found a gateway into our hearts.”
“The story shows all the verve of its young author. This medieval thriller cannot but inspire comparisons with Umberto Eco’s bestseller, “The Name of the Rose”. But whereas the author of “Baudolino” enjoys losing his reader, Romain Sardou goes straight to the heart.”
An excellent novel – mature, masterly from end to end…. With great brilliance, Romain Sardou has written a captivating story which reads as easily as a comic book but has the depth of an erudite and learned work.
Le Figaro Magazine