"Citadel is the third novel in a trilogy of historical adventures. The story takes place in 1942 - 1944, during the German occupation of France. Ms. Mosse brings to life the beautiful landscape of southern France, contrasted with the horrors of the Nazi occupation. The heroine of the book, Sandrine Vidal, is a young woman working for the resistance with a secret group of women, including her older sister.
There is also another story within the book. A young monk in the 4th century travels across France to place a document in a safe place. Ms. Mosse takes the reader back to the 4th century for small glimpses into the monk’s travels throughout the novel.
As the story unfolds, the reader learns there are several people trying to find the Codex, the hidden document. They believe the Codex will reveal a secret so powerful it will change the course of the war. There is an element of fantasy and magic surrounding the Codex, which is contrasted with the very real horrors of this time.
The best parts of the novel are the glimpses provided into what it was like to live in German-occupied France. Ms. Mosses brings the reader right into the warm and beautiful landscape, contrasted with the fear and brutality of the Nazi occupiers. She brings to life the daily struggles of the citizens - neighbours informing on neighbours, multiple check points to travel within the town, endless paperwork, and constant fear.
There are a lot of characters in the story, and I sometimes found it hard to keep straight. It was, however, refreshing to read about the women who worked in the resistance movement and the risks they took to save their country. The pictures painted of their lives are very vivid, real, and sometimes frightening.
This book is rich in characters, stories, and action. This review is but a glimpse into the complexity of the novel.
I have not read the previous two books in this series, Labyrinth and Sepulchre, but this book certainly can stand on its own. However, I now plan on reading the first two books! "
As always, thanks Julia for your thoughtful review!
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