After nearly 40 years as a book professional, I retired in 2011 and began traveling for pleasure. Many of the trips my wife and I have taken have a close relationship to books I have read. In 2011 we traveled to Carcassonne in southwestern France. I had read several books in which that part of France was featured including Labyrinth by Kate Mosse that turned out to be the first book in a three-book series. While in Carcassonne, I purchased book two, Sepulchre. I have now finished book three, Citadel. The stories all stand alone but the setting is the unifying element.
Labyrinth switches from the 13th century to the 21st century. The main characters are Alais in the l3th C and Alice in the 21st C. and includes the Chartres Cathedral and cityscape. Sepulchre features Leonie in the late 19th C and Meredith in 2007.
This review is about book three, Citadel. The title refers to three things – the actual fortress of Carcassonne dating back a thousand years, a house in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains and a group of Resistance fighters in World War II comprised mostly of young women nicknamed “Citadel.”
Sandrine is one of the main characters along with her boyfriend Raoul who become unofficial leaders of the Resistance group known to the Nazis as “Citadel.” She has a counterpart, a monk Arsinius, in 342 A.D., who is on a mission to hide a Codex that has mystical powers and threatens the Catholic Church. That Codex becomes a major focus of the Nazis and the Resistance in the period 1942 to 1944 in southwestern France.
In addition to Sandrine and Raoul, other major characters include Audric an older family friend who also appears in Labyrinth as an even older man and Arsinius’ wife Lupa. Two other women with Jewish ties, Lucie who has a baby with a Jewish man who is the brother of Liesl. These two women were important parts of “Citadel” along with Suzanne.
Kate Mosse wrote this story based on a plaque dedicated to 19 Resistance martyrs of a 1944 massacre including “two unknown women.” Every time I read a book that contains Nazi atrocities I get angry, even if the book is basically fiction. The 1944 massacre is not fiction. I cannot believe that my wife and I actually walked many of the streets where these three books take place. I cannot urge you strongly enough to read these books.
GO! BUY! READ!
–Jim Harris, retired book sales rep
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