Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Fiction - Citadel

Way back in 2005 I read Labyrinthe by Kate Mosse.  It turned into a book-fest that I couldn't leave; a real page-turner.  Labyrinthe is the first book in the Langoudoc trilogy, as the name suggests set in the region of that name in France.  Since then she has gone on to write the second book Sepulchre, The Winter Ghosts and the final book in the Langoudoc trilogy Citadel.  I can't tell you my excitement when Wimbledon Bookfest managed to snap her up to give a talk, just before it's release.  I went along and was completely in awe of the dedication and work that went into writing this trilogy.  The research is painstaking, the characters plentiful and the end result is a novel that captures you from the very first sentence...throwing you deep into the underworld of the Resistance.  The beauty of Mosse's prose, is that she makes her characters so 3-dimensional that they pretty much get up off the page and follow you around as you get on with your day to day life.  So, to Citadel...

The novel takes place mainly between 1940 and 1942, between the occupation and liberation of Southern France.  As always there is a large cast of characters, but the main protagonist is the young heroine, Sandrine Vidal, an orphan who lives with her older sister Marianne.  Sandrine lives a life of innocence until one summer day she is nearly killed as she chances upon an escaped resistance fighter and his hot-on-his-heels captors.  There is another narrative running throughout the book, that of an ancient codex that is smuggled to safety by a young French monk in the 4th century; the very codex that becomes the core of the story for the Resistance fighters and Sandrine centuries later.  It's a story of courage, bravery and daring, bringing to life in vivid historical detail, the lives and trauma's suffered by people fighting for what they believe. 

I didn't want the story to end.

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