This is part of the ruined Cathar stronghold of Peyrepertuse, the most dramatic of the hilltop castles we visited in the Languedoc in 1998. This is the view from the higher fortifications to the lower ones. It was never captured by the Crusaders, but it was always a remote and difficult site to occupy, and it could never have withstood a siege.
At the moment I’m nearing the end of the first draft of the novel, with nearly 74,000 words written. Of course it will need rewrites and revisions, but I’ll do those based on the first full draft.
Originally I thought the novel would be complete at 80,000 words, but it will probably run to about 86,000.
I know what are the major events which will take place in the next major section, the ante-penultimate one, and I’m working my way through it now. The final section is partly written, but I haven’t even started on the one before that, so it exists only as a title at the moment.
Each section, and there are 14, is between 4,000 and 8,000 words, and will be split into chapters.
The Cathar interludes are all written, and will be tipped in to the main narrative when I assemble le tout ensemble.
Minerve is where the Cather story ends, in 1210, but I won’t say where or when the modern story ends, because that would be a spoiler.