“Come forth the spirits of the air. Come forth the armies of the air.
Every death remembered.
Those who died so others might live, those who gave their lives and now live.
Then, when the battle is over, they shall sleep once more”
- Citadel, Kate Mosse
Citadel is Kate Mosses’ third instalment in her widely acclaimed Languedoc trilogy and is set amongst the picturesque Southern France, in Carcassonne. The novel is split into two distinct stories; the first is set around the monk Arinius. Arinius is on a quest to ensure the safety of a Codex, condemned by the church as heretical. Little does he know, the Codex holds within its verses, the ability to raise a ghost army.
The second is set around the spirited Sandrine Vidal, a young women living in Carcassonne during World War II. After her father’s death she is raised by her sister and housekeeper and is all but ignorant to the world changing around her. Sandrine’s world abruptly changes when she almost drowns attempting to save another man drowning in the Aude, from then on, she discovers her sister is secretly part of a network helping the resistance and together, with other like minded women, form the Citadel network.
The characters in Citadel mimic those of their predecessors, as though their lives have already been mapped before them; there are glimpses of Alais in Sandrine and of Guilhem in Raoul. Their relationship is fuelled by their passion to preserve Carcassonne and its people, to exploit the truths that the Nazi’s try, unsuccessfully so, to keep hidden. Just ordinary people refusing to give in to the capture and torture of the place they lived and its people.
Like Labyrinth and Sepulchre, Kate Mosse doesn’t fail to disappoint, her characters are well developed and her story flows effortlessly – you truly lose yourself in its labyrinth of pages. It is a remarkable novel and by the end, like I, you will have your heart in your mouth and although bittersweet, it bought the story of the Languedoc to a beautiful finale.