Citadel – Kate Mosse

citadelSandrine is eighteen and is coping with the hardships of living under the occupation of the Germans, trying to keep life as normal as possible. Her early morning bicycle rides are a special pleasure. No one is stirring, and the city is hers alone. As she rides along the river something in the water catches her eye. She realizes that it is a person snagged on a rock and quickly pulls him out. He is barely breathing, but as she starts to revive him she is hit on the head and pushed, unconscious, into the water. She becomes aware of someone reviving her, kissing her, but he quickly disappears. The memory of his presence is pleasant, exciting. When she sees him again the next day at a Bastille Day demonstration, something instantly connects. She has to know more about him. When the demonstration goes wrong and becomes violent, the young man, Raoul, needs a place to hide and Sandrine comes to his aid. She lives with her sister and housekeeper, and the place often has overnight guests.

Set in southern France between 1942 and 1944, between the occupation and liberation, this is the story of an all-female resistance group. Interspersed is a legend of a hidden heretical codex with a strange power, a codex sought by both the Germans and the Resistance. The book is so very well crafted, with things starting slowly, detailing the small everyday chores of the Resistance, and gradually escalating into action and danger. The tension builds until by the end it is almost too intense. This is the third book in the Languedoc Trilogy.  I have not read the first two and although the novel stands alone, it might have been enhanced if I had read the others first.  I enjoyed the book and think I’ll read the other two to discover what I missed.

eGalley review   Publication date 3.18.14

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