At last, I got my mitts on a copy of the final part of Kate Mosse's Languedoc trilogy. Citadel was published by Orion in October, it's been a long 5 year wait for this one. Historical fiction has never been my first love, and I'll admit that the first of the series; Labyrinth, sat on my shelf for a long time before I actually read it. I was amazed by the writing, by the story and how Mosse manages to captivate the reader with her complex plots and engaging characters. Labyrinth was followed by Sepulchre in 2007, and again, I loved it and have anticipated the release of Citadel for such a long time.
Citadel is probably best described as a 'time-slip' story, with the main part of the novel set in France during the German occupation in 1942 - 1944. Also featuring is Arinius, a monk living in 342 AD. Arininus is desperately trying to find a hiding place for the forbidden 'Codex', which is said to have the power to raise a 'sleeping army of ghosts'.
In Nazi occupied France the Citadel are a group of all-women freedom fighters - part of the Resistance, and determined to outwit both the Germans and the evil French collaborators. Led by 18 year old Sandrine Vidal, her sister and their friends, these woman show courage and daring, never knowing who is watching them or who will betray them to the authorities.
Citadel is a huge tome of a book, almost 700 pages and although it dragged a tiny bit in the middle, on the whole, it is a fast-paced, if complex story that will grip the reader. As with the previous two novels of the trilogy, there is an element of the supernatural in the story, with some familiar characters turning up along the way.
Packed with some terrifyingly realistic action scenes, portraying the horrors of war and the evil that men can do to each other, it is also at times, gentle and down-to-earth - portraying the small French town and it's folk with incredible realism. The day to day struggles of ordinary people during the Occupation, the blossoming romances, the fear, the hardships and sometimes the joys are all captured beautifully here.
After such a long wait for this instalment, I was not disappointed in the least. A triumphant end to what has been a fabulous series.