I asked to review Cathar with a hint of trepidation. In recent historical fiction the Cathars, like the Knights Templar, have been appropriated by the religious-conspiracy crowd and I wasn’t quite sure what I was letting myself in for. Fortunately I was pleasantly surprised: there were no secret societies (beyond Catharism itself) and no hint of the Grail. This is pure historical fiction. More than, there’s a lot of genuine history here: it reintroduced me to a crowd of real-life figures whom I last encountered during my history degree in Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie’s magisterial study of Montaillou.