‘Citadel’ is my favourite Kate Mosse book so far. It is the third in the Languedoc trilogy. The other two in the trilogy are ‘Labyrinth’ and ‘Sepulchre’. ‘Citadel’ while containing stories from two different time periods, doesn’t have the main character slipping between the two periods as the first two books did. And, apart from the 700 year old Audric Baillard and a ghost army (which could easily be imagined in the circumstances) there is very little supernatural content in this novel.
The novel is the story of Sandrine Vidal, who along with her sister and others, were part of the French Resistance during WWII in the Languedoc region. The story incorporates a lot of real history as well as a lot of regional folklore.
The portrayal of those involved in resistance activities and how they went about it is incredibly realistic. They were just ordinary people who refused to give in to the take-over of their country and played their part in changing things despite the constant fear of capture and torture.
The parallel story involves the hiding of a document (a Codex) in 342 AD. The Codex was identified as a heretical document and was to be burnt. It was saved by a monk and hidden in a cave in the Languedoc region.
The evil Leo Authie (probably a descendent of Paul Authie who we met in Labyrinth) wants to obtain the Codex and destroy it on behalf of the church. And, he will go to any lengths to get hold of it. The Nazis, of course, want the Codex for their own evil purposes. While Baillard and Sandrine hope that the Codex will help them fight against a tyrannical regime.
I loved the history in this book and the complete realism of the resistance work. The end of the story was absolutely devastating. I cried!
While the three books are a trilogy, I don’t think that the order in which they are read is critical.
Book Published 2012