Citadel by Kate Mosse – review

The story of resistance fighters in Carcasonne is characteristically interwoven with that of a fourth-century monk bearing a Gnostic text and lashings of berets and bicycles

If you choose this as your holiday reading, make sure you're having more than a long weekend away. The final volume of Kate Mosse's Languedoc Trilogy is nigh on 1,000 pages long, a suitably millennial length for her trademark long view of French history. The focus is the second world war, but the story of resistance fighters in Carcasonne is characteristically interwoven with that of a fourth-century monk bearing a Gnostic text, while the wizard-like figure of Audric Baillard links all three volumes. Mosse plunges into the dark and bloody years of Vichy France, subjecting her largely female cast to terrible pain and anguish. She is impressively knowledgeable about her adopted corner of France, and you can't fault her evocation of the "Frenchness" we Anglo-Saxons love. The unwavering sincerity of tone, maintained over hundreds of pages, can occasionally start to feel like a grown-up school story, with lashings of berets and bicycles, yet it's probably this very quality that accounts for Mosse's huge commercial success.


Jane Housham

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Citadel by Kate Mosse – review
The conclusion to Kate Mosse's Languedoc trilogy is long and sometimes jarring, but will satisfy fans, writes Frances Perraudin

Frances Perraudin

23, Jun, 2013 @3:00 PM

The Winter Ghosts, by Kate Mosse – review
By Jane Housham

Jane Housham

13, Nov, 2010 @12:05 AM

Article image
Citadel by Kate Mosse – review
Kate Mosse concludes her literary adventure trilogy in real style, writes Stephanie Merritt

Stephanie Merritt

04, Nov, 2012 @12:04 AM

Article image
Kate Mosse: a life in writing

'In many areas of the arts representation of women is still poor. Because of the Orange prize, there is always a debate'

Susanna Rustin

12, Oct, 2012 @9:55 PM

Article image
My hero: Walter Potter by Kate Mosse
Whether guinea pigs playing a cricket match or kittens dressed in black tie at a wedding, Walter Potter had a wonderful way of telling stories with his taxidermy, writes Kate Mosse

Kate Mosse

24, Oct, 2014 @3:59 PM

Article image
The Taxidermist's Daughter review – Kate Mosse's ghoulish murder yarn
This lyrical fable of skinning, disembowelling and stuffing is a pleasurable jeu d'esprit, writes Stevie Davies

Stevie Davies

04, Oct, 2014 @7:00 AM

Kate Mosse

1 Shakespeare or the Bible?

08, Jan, 2006 @1:32 AM

Article image
An Extra Pair of Hands by Kate Mosse review – the dignity of care
Looking after the elderly is a feminist issue, but this moving and unusual memoir also speaks of the pleasure and privilege that leaven the heavy burden of care

Madeleine Bunting

22, May, 2021 @6:30 AM

Article image
Twitter fiction: Kate Mosse
The author and broadcaster takes up our Twitter-based challenge to come up with a story in 140 characters or fewer

Kate Mosse

09, Nov, 2012 @11:00 PM

Article image
Kate Mosse: the woman with the golden touch

The novelist talks to Kira Cochrane about feminism, family and founding the Orange prize

Kira Cochrane

08, Oct, 2009 @11:05 PM