WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING
THE US REVIEW OF BOOKS
“We hear almost daily from the news media about atrocities committed by the Islamic State and Boko Haram as they terrorize those whose religious beliefs differ from theirs. Yet...some of the bloodiest massacres took place in the medieval period during the various crusades ordered by the Roman Catholic Church against those it viewed as infidels or heretics. Although countless pages have been dedicated to recounting the crusades to the Middle East, few have focused on the ones centered in Europe. Kimmich's gripping historical novel of the Albigensian Crusade in the south of France seeks to rectify that.”
“Melding much of the historical acumen of writers like Dorothy Dunnett with a dash of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code thrown in to add a sense of intrigue to the mix, Kimmich expertly recreates all of the politics, religious fervor, and horrifying brutality of the Crusade along with some of the broader events that sparked it. While skillfully written and rich in religious and political thought and history… it is not a book for the squeamish. The scenes of sexual assault, maiming, and other forms of violence, while definitely true to life, are quite graphic. However, as a whole Kimmich's retelling of one of the bloodiest examples of religious cleansing to take place in medieval Europe is suspenseful, informative, and enlightening.”
“The Magdalene Malediction” is the final book in the Ordeal by Fire trilogy by F. Scott Kimmich. Historical fiction at its finest, Kimmich takes readers on a treacherous journey at the end of the Albigensian (Cathar) Crusade. Though the crusade is said to have ended with the capture of the Chateau Montsegur in the mid-13th century, so-called heretics were still being hunted and burned at the stake for quite some time after the conquest. It is at Montsegur, where this story begins.
The story follows four friends – cousins Odon and Rainier, Miranda, and Robin (the son of Robin Hood) as they escape Montsegur. As the foursome set out for Provence, they carry with them ancient scrolls entrusted to Odon by his grandfather. The scrolls indicate Miranda is actually a descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. This secret poses a threat to the Church and if ever unearthed, would spell certain death for the friends. As Magdalene herself is said to have put a curse on the scrolls, the friends have a heavy burden to abide. When their ship heading toward Provence is captured by pirates, the group ends up in Spain. Here they find their challenges are just beginning; Miranda falls for the Muslim wazir, Al Azraq but is dismayed when she learns the truth about him, and they all get caught up in the political aspirations of Jacme I, King of Aragon. Drawn into a battle for their very lives as conflict arises between the Moors and the crusaders, one has to wonder, could there be something to this malediction?
Wow. Eloquence aside, wow is the first word that pops in my head when I finish a book that I find incomparable. The writing is outstanding, Kimmich persuasively pulling me into the pages of another world. From steamy romance scenes to veritable blood baths, to breathless suspense and trepidation, this author has a way with words that paints complete pictures during the entire reading experience.
The characters brought this story to life for me and I was completely invested in each of the four friends. The companionship between them felt genuine and the banter and language authentic to the time period. My heart went out to Rainier as he suffered unrequited love. I cheered when Miranda finally realized her true affection toward someone who had been there for her all along. I grieved with Odon over love lost, and Robin – well as the son of Robin Hood, what’s not to love!
Starting with the final book in the trilogy I was, admittedly, late to the party. But I found “The Magdalene Malediction” easy to follow with the references presented by the author, and the story was so intriguing, that I soon forgot there were prior novels. That said, I realized after putting the book down that, curiosity piqued, I wanted to learn more about the characters and storylines leading up to this third volume.
This is one of those stories that did not end the way I wanted it to. In retrospect, I should have seen it coming, but my total immersion into this world blinded me from the possible outcomes. I highly recommend “The Magdalene Malediction” by F. Scott Kimmich. It is one of the best historical fiction novels I have read in some time and I am adding the first two books in the Ordeal by Fire trilogy to my reading list. Fantastic story – well done
THE BLUE INK REVIEWS
"High-stakes political machinations and intrigue play out against the vivid backdrop of the Albigensian Crusades in this absorbing first novel of a trilogy.
"Being up to your neck in a bruising religious war is bad enough. Now imagine an ancient scroll with revelations that have the potential to damage the very foundations of the religion you’re trying to protect."
"The Apostles of Satan delivers quality fiction: an engaging story, well-drawn characters, a tight narrative pace. That it also expands the reader’s horizons while doing all of the above, is just icing on the cake. It is highly recommended for history buffs, especially for fans of the Middle Ages, or for staycationers who would love a trip to the French countryside, quaint castles and all."
About The Apostles of Satan
The Kirkus Review
"The religious and political controversies of 13-century Europe have been an unexpectedly rich vein for recent novelists to mine. So it’s a testament to the quality of Kimmich’s volume—set in Europe during the early 1200s—that he offers an original contribution to an established niche."
"In preparing to set this drama in motion, Kimmich read widely among the histories of the era in both English and French, and his research pays off. His narrative not only brims with detail, but it also holds up under scrutiny; you could teach a class from this stuff. Yet the author’s thick descriptions of European lore are never overlong. His story moves nimbly, consistently enticing readers through every thrilling twist and turn."
"An exciting, educational ride through medieval times."
About the Fiery Furnace
The Foreword Review
In F. Scott Kimmich’s second novel in the Ordeal By Fire trilogy, a fast-paced historical realism accurately captures life in the thirteenth century. Following the escapades and lives of several characters—who intertwine in various political and personal ways—The Fiery Furnace is able to present a vast picture of medieval Europe and its operations, particularly those having to do with the heretical dogma of the time, the dissolution of faith that was occurring at the hands of the Roman Church, and the clash between the powerful Plantagenet and Capet dynasties (what is now England and France).
At its heart, The Fiery Furnace underscores the many injustices that arose in the wake of a polarized medieval Europe, particularly when it came to religion and the many dynasties it held up....
One of the most impressive aspects of Kimmich’s historical fiction is his loyalty to this setting and his representation of it. As he explains ...“Most of the characters in this novel once lived and drew breath...."
In terms of its readability and historical figures… the Fiery Furnace is a well-written, thoroughly entertaining novel.
I love Kimmich’s writing style!.... The plot is intriguing and suspenseful, mixing historical legends, such as Robin Hood, with historical facts such as the horrors of the Inquisition. The characters are so real; I could hear their voices in my mind as I pictured them. Impeccable writing for sure! ,,,
In all, I truly recommend “The Fiery Furnace” by F. Scott Kimmich as a five-star well-written, intriguing, raw, and suspenseful historical fiction read! Will definitely check out the first book and look forward for the last one in this trilogy. Susan Violante, Editor
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING
About The Apostles of Satan
"Mr. Kimmich has written a fascinating, well researched novel about life in the early 13th century. Everyone who hankers for the "good old days" should read this book. " - Mabel Dudeny
“Well researched and immensely entertaining. I'm looking forward to the sequel.”- Dabblertante
"Two main themes come together in this story: one is a sectarian struggle over orthodoxy and power within the Christian faith; the other is about naked political power and greed. In the context of a fascinating piece of fiction, both themes provide a solid basis for understanding many subsequent historical events." - Ann Galloway
Scott Kimmich …takes us beyond the dry facts of history and tells the story of …those who actually lived their lives then and there. As we move through their life-changing events… there is a realization that this story is not just about the individuals in the story, but also about us, today. [He] has given us a tale to entertain, a history lesson and a way of empathizing with some today with whom we thought we had little in common.-RussGilfix
“…the author has such a gifted flair for language and has created a full cast of engaging characters. It was truly a pleasure to read a book that refused to be put down for fear that I might not get to pick it up again and find out what happens next. It is the essence of great writing and Mr. Kimmich deserves kudos for this gem. I can't wait for the next one.” - Deb Goldstein
“Excellent read. Couldn't put it down! The historical detail in explanation kept me completely engaged. Clear. Concise. Thrilling! Can't wait for the second installment!” -
“Dan Brown has set the precedent for books that question the apostolic story of the Passion, but his stories border on the fantastic. Scott Kimmich seems to present a plausible alternative that is sensational, to be sure, but far more believable.” Harriet Scureman
"Fascinating look at an old story, but with new research. Scott Kimmich has provided a new look at medieval history of the Midi and its people in a lively and highly readable way."' - Sara Sikes
What a wonderful book. It has it all: history, philosophy, action. I read it in a few nights. Can’t wait for the next volumer. Denise Susalka
“I am a buff of military history, and perhaps that is why I rate this book so highly. From small skirmishes to full blown sieges and deadly ambushes, the author makes the action come alive and you share the hero’s fatigue in the midst of hand-to-hand combat. I also appreciated the maps and the genealogical tables provided at the back of the book, along with historical notes.” - Dan Troph
"...this novel depicts the violence of a Holy War. The main characters battle for survival but also for domination and territorial gains. Not dissimilar to what we see today in the Middle East. Some of the scenes of this war drip with blood. The Story is laced with love and hate, loyalty and treacahery and courtly behavior opposed by hate and rape." -Elizabeth vonder Muehl
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING
"Fascinating look at an old story, but with new research. Scott Kimmich has provided a new look at medieval history of the Midi and its people in a lively and highly readable way."
— Sara Sikes