Sanctus

Sanctus

3.8 321
by Simon Toyne
     
 

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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

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Overview

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 . . .

Editorial Reviews

Brad Meltzer
“When you read Sanctus, you’ll see just how frightening, ruthless and relentlessly entertaining an order of monks can be. Haunting in the best way.”
Booklist (starred review)
“This is a big, bold thriller, so big that it needs to create its own mythology . . . Elegantly written and imaginatively plotted, with a smart heroine and an appropriately evil villain, this is a must-read for fans of high-concept thrillers involving grand conspiracies.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“[Sanctus] might turn out to be the next great cliffhanger conspiracy thriller.”
San Jose Mercury News
“A huge, bold thriller, Sanctus is a bloody, twistedly perverse story about a battle against a secretive group of heretical, conspiring monks . . . . the most engaging writing I’ve read in months.”
The Daily Mirror (UK)
“Hard to think of it as a debut, better to think of it as the beginning of a massive new adventure, and a so-long to Dan Brown. . . .”
Daily Telegraph (London)
“[A] cool, confident debut. A talented new writer who instinctively grasps the broad rules of superior action thrillers and adapts them with pace, grace, humour and a keen eye for cinematic effect.”
Booklist
"This is a big, bold thriller, so big that it needs to create its own mythology . . . Elegantly written and imaginatively plotted, with a smart heroine and an appropriately evil villain, this is a must-read for fans of high-concept thrillers involving grand conspiracies."
Publishers Weekly
In British author Toyne's stellar first in a projected trilogy, a thriller in the Dan Brown tradition, an ancient sect of monks who live in the Citadel, a church carved out of a mountain near the fictional Turkish city of Ruin, have been protecting a secret, "the Sacrament," since before the Christian era. A monk who knows the secret, Brother Samuel, escapes from the Citadel and throws himself off the mountain in full view of spectators and news crews. Later, American newspaper reporter Liv Adamsen learns that her phone number, carved into a small leather strap, has been found inside Samuel's stomach. The monk turns out to be her brother, whom she hasn't seen in years, so Liv travels to Ruin to try to solve the puzzle of his mysterious death. She and several other groups battle the deadly monks, who will stop at nothing to thwart their efforts to discover the Sacrament's secret. The truly mind-boggling revelation will leave astounded readers eager for the next installment. (Sept.)
Library Journal
A cassocked monk stands on a mountaintop in modern-day Turkey above the fictional city of Ruin. Arms outstretched, he forms a tau, the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. Having climbed from within a cloistered Vatican-like city-state called the Citadel, he is a remarkable sight, attracting media attention as he deliberately plummets outside the Citadel's walls. To some, this event portends a prophetic sequence, but the ensuing investigation brings unwanted scrutiny upon the secretive order. What message was this monk delivering…and to whom? When his journalist sister arrives to claim the body, she unwittingly becomes enmeshed in intrigue befitting an action thriller. The monks are hiding something in the Citadel, and they will go to any length to protect it. VERDICT Throwing his hat in with the religious conspiracy thriller crowd, former British television producer Toyne has written a well-developed, exciting debut, the first volume of a projected trilogy, that doesn't tip off the ending midnovel like so many of its kind. Its "just one more page, one more chapter" urgency keeps you reading into the night, and the final revelation of the Citadel's secret is haunting. [100,000-copy first printing; rights sold in 27 countries; see Prepub Alert, 3/14/11.]—Laura A.B. Cifelli, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., FL
Kirkus Reviews

A cliffhanger—literally—that aspires to towering heights but doesn't quite get there.

Why would a proper monk go climbing out of a mountain lair and then shoot gospel-gang signs at an eager public watching his every move before the face of God? ("The sign he's making is the Tau," says one knowing fellow.) Suffice it to say that said monk has a secret involving, of course, a secret library (think Umberto Eco), a heretical gloss on the Bible (think Dan Brown), a tough detective named Arkadian (think Martin Cruz Smith) and a militant order of religious guardians (think Indiana Jones). A few loose phrases of Greek and Aramaic waft through the pages of this debut by Toyne, a Briton resident in France, who packs a lot of well-researched information into this aspirational thriller. If you're looking to survive a siege, Toyne provides helpful instructions. The timing is off, though; it takes much too long to get to the meat of the story—understandably, perhaps, since it takes our monk a good while to ease himself across the sheer rock face, his progress marked by clerics of sinister demeanor ("Even if by some miracle he does manage to make it to the lower slopes, our brethren on the outside will apprehend him"). Toyne has a realistic bent, however, and the derring-do and scriptural intrigue never get too unwieldy or too unworldly. His characters, too, are well-rounded and credible; what's not to like about a monk who reads Nietzsche? A bonus: Toyne's battery of good guys include strong women characters, with no condescension; too many books of this kind treat women as afterthoughts, if not mere love interests. And there's some nice elaboration of the plot, keeping the reader guessing whether the heretics are good guys or bad, and just when the seventh seal is going to crack.

A promising debut. One hopes for a more tightly structured narrative next time around, but the right ingredients are all here.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062038319
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/29/2012
Pages:
608
Sales rank:
210,403
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.70(d)

What People are saying about this

Brad Meltzer
“When you read Sanctus, you’ll see just how frightening, ruthless and relentlessly entertaining an order of monks can be. Haunting in the best way.”

Meet the Author

Simon Toyne is the bestselling author of the Sanctus trilogy: Sanctus, The Key, and The Tower. A writer, director, and producer in British television for twenty years, he worked on several award-winning shows, one of which won a BAFTA. His books have been translated into twenty-seven languages and published in more than fifty countries. He lives with his wife and family in England and the south of France, where he is at work on his second Solomon Creed novel.

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