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Citadel by Kate Mosse

Citadel (edition 2012)

by Kate Mosse

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3031336,938 (3.57)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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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
As another reviewer commented "finally finished". This book was too long! I have now read the whole of Kate Mosse's trilogy (plus an extra bit) and this was slightly disappointing,simply because it turned into a hard slog. The problem came from trying to merge the factually based resistance story with the fantasy element, whilst retaining plausibility. The 1944 characters came alive and their fates were quite moving.
I am always keen to read about the Catharsis etc, but in this case this aspect of the book detracted rather than enhanced the whole.
I look forward to Kate Mosse's next book.
By the way, does anyone know how to get rid of the listing for this book as the work of a certain model? ( )
  johnwbeha | Nov 18, 2015 |
I read a lot of books. Amongst those with the strongest sense of place, the ones that linger in my imagination, are the Languedoc trilogy by Kate Mosse. ‘Citadel’, the third novel in the series, is set in ad342 and 1942 during World War Two. Unusually with a trilogy, you don’t have to have read the other two books in order to enjoy this one. Certainly it is some years since I read ‘Labyrinth’ and ‘Sepulchre’ and the details are hazy, each book stands on its own.
I enjoyed this book immensely. The story centres on a small group of women who fight against the Nazi regime and who, by the very fact that they are women, are able to slip unnoticed along the night-time streets of occupied Carcassonne. The Prologue describes ‘the woman known as Sophie’ and the reader is left to wonder, which of the women in the story is ‘Sophie’?
I must point out that the story is slow to get going, I had to be patient, but I trusted Mosse [below]. It did make me question whether my attention span is shortening, I hope not. If it is I must read longer novels to re-stretch my brain.
A note in the 2014 edition, which I read, explains that the story was inspired by a plaque in a village near Carcassonne, commemorating the ‘martyrs of Baudrigues’. Days before the Languedoc was freed by its own people, as the Nazis were fleeing, 19 prisoners were killed, two women are to this day still unidentified. These facts started Mosse wondering who those women were: that was her starting point for Citadel.
It is clear that both time strands are set in the same place, the countryside of the Languedoc, the forests, the mountains, its people and language, and the weather, anchors the reader firmly in southern France. In ad342, Arinius is looking for a hiding place. You know not what for, only that it must be safe for ‘centuries’. “He had no particular destination in mind, only that he had to find somewhere distinctive and sheltered, somewhere where the pattern of the ridges and crests might retain their shape for centuries to come… Forests might be cut down or burn or drowned when a river bursts its banks. Fire and word and flood. Only the mountains stood firm.”
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Oct 30, 2015 |
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 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Mosseprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, FintyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ter nagedachtenis aan de twee onbekende vrouwen
die op 19 augustus 1944 in Baudrigues zijn vermoord.
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'Wij zijn, ik ben, jij bent
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degenen die terugkeren
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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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