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Kate Mosse exploded onto the scene with her intensely studied 'Labyrinth', following it up with the impressive yet downplayed 'Sepulchre' more recently. Fans of hers will not be surprised to find that the same historical links that she uses in her novels is also a key factor in this short story, which she wrote for the Quick Reads series.
The book starts off with a brief letter, written by Marie, an inhabitant of a small French village in the south west, hiding herself in a cave with her family during the Hundred Years War. 600 years later, Freddie is on his way to meet some University friends in the very same area when his car crashes and he is forced to take refuge in the same little village.
What Mosse does really well in her books is create two stories that are centuries apart but have relevance, and flow along at the same time. Her longer novels flick between the two difference eras, whereas this one seems to stay in the same one, the main characters changing with each turn. This book focuses solely on Freddie and the people he meets.
Mosse does a good job of creating some intrigue and doubt, causing us as readers to question what is actually going on, particularly once Freddie manages to get down to the village. You start to wonder about the people and about the caves up on the hills where people are supposed to have hidden to avoid being attacked during the 14th Century war.
The writing style is very flowing. It doesn't feel rushed as a lot fo short stories often do, and I found it very easy to read. It wasn't as involving and deep as her other books are, but I quite liked this as her other two books are incredibly detailed and can drag a little. This one, however, doesn't drag at all. You get a real feel for the characters, particularly Freddie, as the book goes along, and the mental images were quite strong as well.
The book doesn't really have chance to develop the story fully, it being a short story with just under 100 pages, but the unspoken suggestions of what is going on as the book progresses are quite loud. Freddie's confusion as to events, and being drawn to the caves following a story he is told whilst in the village make for some tense scenes, although again, completel tension is lost due to the events happening quickly on the page.
Overall, The Cave is a well written and enjoyable book. I like Mosse's work, and it was quite refreshing to get a book of hers that didn't have immense detail, as her other two do. I think it's well worth a read, and is probably aimed more at teenagers/young adults. Others may find the lack of depth a bit of a turn off. However, it's a book I really enjoyed reading and would happily recommend. As with all Quick Reads, it costs £1.99, which I think is a very good price for a short story. Recommended.