Beyond the Pyre Book Cover Beyond the Pyre
Steve Costello
Historical Fiction
June 20, 2017

When I read a book about a country that I am not familiar with, I always open a map, so I can follow along with the story line. In this case it was France. As a child a few years ago I went to France, however I do not remember much of the trip. I do remember the boys wearing shorts and of all things either long sleeve shirts or sweaters. Since it was warm out, that didn’t make sense to an eight year old American boy.

I do the same with history, not to prove the author wrong, but to follow his lead. So in this case I looked up the word Cathar, and found as much detail as I could on the subject. To me dates are important in history, not that I memorize them, but there is a difference between Pope Innocent and Pope Alexander.  These are important details for me.

Now about the book Beyond the Pyre by Steve Costello (June 2017) I was told I was pronouncing Pyre wrong by one of my Anglo Saxon friends in Northern England, (South of Scottish England). That is because of the English spelling, the same English that type tyre instead of tire. Confusing.

Now that is out of the way, I found this book a lot different than any other book I have read the last five years. Yes, it is that different. True it only has one goal, and I do not think it is supposed to be a scary story, however several times the hair on the back of my neck stood up, and a few times chills went down my spine.

The history of almost any church, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, is full of atrocities, including current events.  However as I read this book, I found so many fascinating things. First of all the characterizations. They were three dimensional, similar to how I write, I do not find three dimensional characters in books very often, so that is a plus. Just about every character was true to life.

The protagonist, actually I was not sure who the main character was because it seemed to me that each person was a main character. Yes it starts out with Ben and Catharine, but it quickly develops into something much more monumental.

American readers will see a difference in dialog, but only because it seems the English use single quotations instead of double quotations, and other minor differences. The subject matter is a matter of opinion, but one thing that grabbed my attention in chapter three I believe, was:

Elionor didn’t believe in the devil despite her Catholic upbringing: human beings created evil and could not lay blame elsewhere. – Steve Costello, Beyond the Pyre

Although I believe that to be true, by the end of the book, you will be in wonder. This is a good versus evil book, just remember that everyone has some good in them, no matter how evil they are.

My version had atrocious formatting, and the characters backtracked on what they believed, however if you can get through that, you will enjoy this book. I give this book 4  stars, not many can write something like this unless they have lived close to it. - Remmy Meggs Nov 2017

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5 Thoughts on “A Review of Beyond the Pyre by Steve Costello

  1. Thank you for that great review, Remmy. I wonder if Xabier has any good in him? You can find out in “Under An Ancient Name” . . . coming soon. It starts with references to Beyond the Pyre but follows a completely different course to its conclusion.
    Your comments about children playing in long sleeves, etc during hot weather made me smile. My children groan when the temperature falls below 20C and they search for winter clothing to keep warm. It’s also about protection, the temperature gets very high in the summer so it’s not unusual to see children covered up.
    Relating to Montségur, I took some photos yesterday to show the route Sophie and her group took during their trek through the dark. It looks so easy on a nice day. I will email you the link once they are posted on Facebook.
    Have a great day and Namasté,


  2. Remmy2013 on November 20, 2017 at 2:34 am said:

    When I said ‘everyone’ I did not mean that type of entity 😛 I was referring to humans.

  3. That’s a good review. And funny comment about northern England 😛

  4. Mel Leach on November 20, 2017 at 4:33 pm said:

    Interesting review! I’ll have to check out the synopsis.

  5. Steven Fritchie on February 26, 2018 at 11:42 am said:

    I have finished reading this book and found the history of the Cathars interesting. The major characters were well developed and the story was, for the most part, engaging.
    I know that some of the 13th century story line was important, but there was a long section that tended to erase the action of the modern day characters. When it did return to the present day story, it seemed like an after thought.
    Anyway, for a first novel, I would give this 3 out of 5 stars.

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