The School at Chartres

David Manicom - Bio and Media
pb / 2005-06 / Fiction /
9780889822221 / 280pp / $21.95

The School At Chartres combines the intrigue of a thriller with the sophistication of a major international literary work reminiscent of A. S. Byatt. Set partly in 1990s Montreal and partly in medieval France, The School At Chartres is a long love-letter—the final letter—from the protagonist, John Wilson, to his lost love.

In thirteenth century France, a catastrophic fire has destroyed the greatest shrine in Christendom. Out of the ashes of the tragedy, history leaves a shadowy tale of a miracle, of the resurrection of faith, and of reconstruction—the erection of the masterwork of Gothic architecture, the Cathedral at Chartres. At the time of the fire, a powerful visitor, Cardinal Melior from the Holy See, has just arrived to find a new core for his faith at the brilliant School located in the town.

A failed Montreal architect-turned-historian, John Wilson is convinced that by excavating the story of Chartres, by explaining its unparalleled complex beauty, he can heal something in his own life. And he is increasingly convinced that Cardinal Melior holds the key to his own personal dilemma.

As exquisitely woven as a medieval tapestry, The School At Chartres will appeal to readers of literary mysteries, such as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and A. S. Byatt’s Possession.