Kate Mosse completes her trilogy of novels set in and around Carcassonne with Citadel, a story that takes place largely in World War II.
When Sandrine Vidal becomes involved in Audric Baillard’s search for the Codex, a document hidden in the 6th century and reportedly able to summon up an army of ghosts, her life changes. Gradually Sandrine’s eyes are opened to the tensions of occupied France, and she grows into a brave and daring young woman. The supernatural/grail-esque story intertwines with the work of the French Resistance and in particular, of Citadel, a group of female resistance fighters led by Sandrine and her sister. Although readers of Labyrinth and Sepulchre will enjoy the return of Audric and the many references back to those earlier novels, Citadel has a strong enough story for the novel to be enjoyed on its own.
Living and loving in occupied France was challenging, especially for Jewish families, and Mosse paints these scenes extremely well. She doesn’t shirk away from the violence of the times, and the novel builds to a satisfyingly dramatic climax. Although the plot relies rather heavily on coincidence at times, and the short chapters and changes in point of view may jar, the desperate search for the Codex ultimately becomes a gripping read. It would be a cold reader who is not swept up in the fates of Sandrine and her lover Raoul.