The book Labyrinth, by Kate Mosse is at one level an intellectualised cross between Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone and The Da Vinci Code, with magic to extend lifespans and secrets that the church must suppress. It is, however a much better book than either of these and is very thought provoking, especially for those with an interest in Hinduism.
The book makes references to an old “true religion”, now mostly lost. This religion is not exclusive and believes in a perfection of everything. The spirit of God is in everything and everyone. Sounds very like Hinduism, especially Advaita Vedanta to me. In one particularly thought provoking passage, Simeon, a follower of both the old way and Judaesm reacts to Bertrand Pelletier’s surprise at the ferocity of the Catholic Inquisition. He says:
“The Bon Homes [people of Pelletier’s faith], now they do not seek to make sense out of the evil men do. Their faith teaches them that this is not God’s earth, a perfect creation, but instead an imperfect and corrupt realm. They do not expect good to triumph over adversity. They know that in our temporal lives it will not. … And yet here you are, Bertrand, surprised when evil meets you face to face. It is strange that no? …
Conversely, my faith tells me the world was made by God, that it is perfect in every particular. But when men turn away from the words of the prophets, the balance between God and man is disturbed and retribution will follow as sure as night follows day.”
The book also has a lot of interesting references to Cartharism and their persecution and annihilation by the Catholic church. This is something I will write about later. (article now written). Also reincarnation is crucial to the plot of the story, as is the idea of “unfinished business” (karma) from a previous life affecting the current one.
I would recommend “Labyrinth” as a good read and a thought provoking book.