August 04, 2013

Book Review: Sanctus by Simon Toyne

Once in awhile I buy a book on impulse, never having heard about the author or the book, but simply due to the cover art and the brief plot summary.

In the past, this impulse has led me to some great authors and books, including Relic, by Preston and Child as well as John Connelly's The Killing Kind.

If you're into reading thrillers, then standing in a book store skimming a copy of Sanctus will definitely get you excited. The art work is top notch and the plot summary is intriguing.

From the back cover:
In the oldest inhabited place on earth, atop a mountain known as the Citadel, a Vatican-like city-state towers above the city of Ruin in modern-day Turkey.

Now, thanks to media coverage of a climber's assent, the eyes of the whole world are on a group that has prized its secrets above all things. For the Sancti—the monks living inside the Citadel—this could mean the end of everything they have built and protected for millennia . . . and they will stop at nothing to keep what is theirs.

For American reporter Liv Adamsen, driven by the memory of a tragic loss, an earth-shaking discovery awaits that will change everything . . .

British author, Simon Toyne, was working in television previous to starting his writing career. He was getting restless and too comfortable in his job because his ambition had always been to write novels. In 2007 he finally left his career behind and moved to France for six months to work on his book. It takes a lot of confidence for anyone to make this commitment to yourself, and it has paid off as the novel has become a well deserved International Best Seller.

Sanctus has been compared to the DaVinci Code, which is a fictionalized version of historical facts. Sanctus, however, is totally fiction. The Citadel, the city of Ruin, the Sacraments, which are at the centre of the plot, the various religious factions and the historical background are all made up by the
author, Simon Toyne. This is a major accomplishment because every detail rings true and feels believable.

One excellent device Toyne uses throughout is to keep the chapters short, which encourages you to keep reading. Some chapters are only a page or two and this keeps the action flowing. You keep thinking, 'okay, I've got time for one more chapter' and before you know it, you've read fifty pages in no time at all.

Character development is as good as you would expect from this type of novel, and it's easy to get right into the flow of the action, which starts immediately and never lets up. At first, it's difficult to figure out who are the heroes and villains, which also keeps you reading until all becomes clear.

Another positive is the writing style which isn't overly descriptive, like some novelists who bore you with so many miniscule details you end up skipping over endless paragraphs that disrupt the flow of the story. The action is believable for the most part and speeds up nicely as the book gets closer to the
ending, which isn't really an ending since this is the first book in a three book trilogy.

Some may consider the ending to this first book in the trilogy a bit over the top and far fetched, but what the heck, this is fiction, anything is possible.

I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series. All three have now been published, so it's off to the book store to carry on with this excellent series.

The second part of the trilogy, The Key, was released on April 12, 2012 and the third part, The Tower, was released on April 13, 2013.

You can visit the author's website for a preview of each book here: Simon Toyne


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