Saturday, 19 March 2011

Sanctus by Simon Toyne

Title: Sanctus
Author: Simon Toyne
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: April 2011
ISBN: 9780007391554
Author's website:

Rating: 4/5

The cover on this is bright, eye catching and represents what the story is about.  

This is a debut book from a UK author.  I was blown away by the content and thought that has gone into Sanctus. The story is set in the fictional city of Ruin, bringing ancient beliefs and mysticism and mingling it with modern life.  As a reader it was easy to follow, gruesome in explaining rituals in places (did I mention I don't like the idea of blood, so I'm a wimp really?!) and some parts reminded me of scenes from a movie I've seen.  The way the monks live in seclusion, unquestioning their lifestyle and practices and the length that 'religion' took them to in their quest to keep the Sanctus sacred was an eye opener, and also chilling.  They are a law unto themselves and the outside world has little knowledge of what goes on inside the monks sanctum.

Sanctus kept me hooked all the way through.  I was appauled at some of the feats selected monks went to to keep their secrets, and intigued by the puzzle left behind by the monk who jumps to his death.  His family history is interesting, and the uncertainty about who can be trusted and relied on adds to the tension in the storyline.  Some parts I was able to guess, hence the 4 rating.  

The characters all have their own story to tell.  The ending is unusual, and I was left with a sense of satisfaction knowing all was not lost.  My favourite segments from Sanctus has to be the monks and their way of life, along with the history attached to their lifestyle.  Each chapter has a hook ending, so you're left wondering what is going to happen next.

My favourite quote from Sanctus:
"Brother Samuel knows our secret," the Abbot said simply.  "He must not leave this mountain"

Sanctus is part of a trilogy, so I hope to read more from Simon Toyne.

Book synopsis:
An explosive apocalyptic conspiracy thriller from a major new British talent that will set the world alight…
The certainties of the modern world are about to be blown apart by a three thousand year-old conspiracy nurtured by blood and lies …
A man throws himself to his death from the oldest inhabited place on the face of the earth, a mountainous citadel in the historic Turkish city of Ruin. This is no ordinary suicide but a symbolic act. And thanks to the media, it is witnessed by the entire world.
But few understand it. For charity worker Kathryn Mann and a handful of others in the know, it is what they have been waiting for. The cowled and secretive fanatics that live in the Citadel suspect it could mean the end of everything they have built – and they will kill, torture and break every law to stop that. For Liv Adamsen, New York crime reporter, it begins the next stage of a journey into the heart of her own identity.
And at that journey's end lies a discovery that will change EVERYTHING …
SANCTUS is an apocalyptic conspiracy thriller like no other – it re-sets the bar for excitement and fascination, and marks the debut of a major talent in Simon Toyne.

Many thanks to HarperCollins, a review copy was received in return for an honest review

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