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Citadel by Kate Mosse

Citadel (edition 2012)

by Kate Mosse

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2901138,756 (3.58)26
Authors:Kate Mosse
Info:Orion (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 692 Pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:World War 2 Fiction

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Citadel by Kate Mosse



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English (9)  Dutch (2)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Oh my goodness me. I haven’t read anything this bad for a long, long time. And I haven’t read anything this long and this bad for as long as I can remember.

So, what’s Kate Mosse’s recipe for a novel? Well, first spend a lot of the money people have given you for previous novels (also badly written?) on a house in a lovely part of the world and large amounts of leisure time exploring it. In this case it was the Pyrenees and in particular the area around Carcassonne.

Then what? Pick an era that is guaranteed to tug at people’s heartstrings and imagination. In this case, she seems to have had something of a dilemma because she obviously couldn’t decide between the 4th century or WW2. Her solution? Combine the two completely pointlessly. So pointlessly in fact that critical readers will be wondering why on earth she has done this and emerge none the wiser.

Plot development is woeful. So, some guy smuggled and hid a codex with 7 lines of some text on it 1600 years ago. For some reason the Nazis and the Resistance are after this text because, apparently, if the Resistance can get hold of it, the fearless Gestapo will simply disintegrate much like the last scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark… but without melting faces which were more interesting. Why this should be so is never explained. At least, someone should have told the countless Allied forces who were obviously wasting their lives with conventional weapons further north.

What about characterisation? Mosse paints flat, predictable personalities whose predominant characteristic is melodrama. There’s nothing deep here whatsoever. I kept waiting for a anyone at all to have an argument or perhaps discuss the many dilemmas of the political maelstrom they were caught up in. Nope. Everything was pretty straightforward. The good guys were good and the bad guys were bad. One exception was Autier who turns out to be as evil as they come. Could have done with more like him.

So it’s a period of utter brutality. But Mosse’s prose fails to rise to the occasion with awkwardly described gore and action scenes that bore the pants off you. And all along there are pointless details that do nothing to embellish the plot or characters. Okay, Tolstoy does this too. But he’s Tolstoy. Mosse is not.

It actually makes me angry that writers like Mosse can get published and obviously sell. It shows how unable we are to read well these days and engage with literature that actually helps us come to terms with the human condition. Mosse demonstrates that, for readers who can’t read well, there are writers who are equally talented. ( )
1 vote arukiyomi | Feb 27, 2015 |
The final book in Mosse's Languedoc Trilogy, CITADEL is also the best of the three. As with the others, CITADEL is set in and around Carcassonne and merges present day (or, in this case, World War Two) stories with echoes of a medieval past. The quiet heroism and desperation of the French during the German occupation is well stated, although this book is less about the deeds and more about the characters and how the cope with war. In the earlier novels the past is very strongly felt and the links with the past and the way the past can influence the present are a major part of the stories. In CITADEL this is less strongly represented, as if the ability of the past to impact, indeed even rescue, the present has become an old man's dream rather than a real possibility. Mosse is a good writer and evener minor characters feel rounded enough that we want to care for them. Highly recommended. ( )
  pierthinker | Sep 28, 2014 |
This review is part of a book blog tour hosted by France Book Tours. This review in its entirety was originally posted at caffeinatedlife.net: http://www.caffeinatedlife.net/blog/2014/03/25/review-citadel-giveaway/

Citadel is the final volume in the Languedoc trilogy and was quite the epic to read in that compared to the first two novels in that it really encompasses a lot of different historical and story elements as well as storylines. This novel takes place during World War Two, after the fall of France and the installation of the Vichy regime. We follow Sandrine and Marianne Vidal as their lives are ever-more changed by these developments, leading to their involvement in the Resistance, their struggle to both survive and fight back. The story concerning the Codex was intriguing, especially with the 4th century chapters concerning Arinius, but did fall as a B storyline compared to the Resistance storyline and doesn’t really kick in until the last half of the novel.

The characters were wonderful and it was fantastic to follow them both in their involvement with the Resistance and their own internal struggles and character journeys. Survival, betrayal, love, comradery, desperation all come up in one form or another, affecting the various characters in different ways. Sandrine in particular has quite a character journey, from a young woman who is more or less in the dark about the Resistance and the politics that is changing the world around her to a hardened, determined woman who is prepared to do whatever it takes to protect the people she loves and the lifestyle/society/culture (however you put this) she lives in.

Citadel overall is a riveting conclusion to a rich and wonderful trilogy. The author does a wonderful job in utilising Carcassonne in the story and the missions that the characters are engaged in. The reader also gets a sense of what the Resistance members are faced with, the dangers and the horrors, and the ending of the novel was quite haunting. ( )
  caffeinatedlife | Mar 28, 2014 |
Worth the wait I didn't know I was making! So happy that delaying spending my birthday gift card meant I was able to buy and enjoy every page of this Kate Mosse epic. ( )
  wungu | Jan 13, 2014 |
Every bit as good as the predecessors in the Languedoc series, this one weaves events of the ancient past into the story of Sandrine Vidal and the French resistance in world war two. I really enjoy reading Kate Mosse's novels. ( )
  thejohnsmith | Dec 18, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Mosseprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, FintyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Oorlog. Passie. Moed.
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Ter nagedachtenis aan de twee onbekende vrouwen
die op 19 augustus 1944 in Baudrigues zijn vermoord.
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Ze ziet eerst de lichamen.
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'Wij zijn, ik ben, jij bent
gedreven door lafheid of lef
degenen die terugkeren
naar deze plek
gewapend met een mes, een camera
een boek met mytische verhalen
waarin wij
niet worden genoemd.'

Uit: 'Diving Into the Wreck'
Adrienne Rich (1973)
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Set during World War II in the far south of France, this is a powerful, action-packed mystery that reveals the secrets of the resistance under Nazi occupation. While war blazed in the trenches at the front, back at home a different battle is waged, full of clandestine bravery, treachery and secrets.… (more)

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