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Simon Toyne

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (2 Reviews)
Book Details

Publisher : HarperCollins

Published : 14 April 2011

Copyright : Simon Toyne 2011

ISBN-10 : HB 0-00-739155-2
ISBN-13 : HB 978-0-00-739155-4

Publisher's Write-Up

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.

About the Author:
Simon Toyne graduated from Goldsmiths College in London with a degree in English and Drama then worked in television for almost twenty years before becoming a novelist. SANCTUS is his first book and also the first volume of the Ruin trilogy. You can find out more at

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Reader Reviews

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Review by David Hagen (311211) Rating (9/10)
Review by Chrissi (280211) Rating (8/10)

Review by David Hagen
Rating 9/10
The book was great, and I look forward to reading the other books of this trilogy, or any book by Simon Toyne. He exhibited a style comparable to Sholem Asch meets Tom Clancy (my two favourite authors) and he has a wonderful imagination. I am a Seminary graduate and it stimulated my imagination, to a degree that modern technical agendas have taken away from us. Thank you.
David Hagen (31st December 2011)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 8/10
I very much enjoyed this book, and I appreciate that it is a difficult genre to work in, as the comparisons with certain authors are inevitable, but here we have a clever idea which has been executed as a novel in a stylish and contemporary way. It did take a while to get going, as the tension is being built up, but this is not to the detriment of the story. Sanctus is apparently the first in a trilogy, and so I suppose that there was a lot of scene setting necessary before the story could really get going.

The story opens with a monk scaling the height of the mountain in which a religious community has lived for hundreds of years, a mountain which has never fallen to any foe. The monks who live there are gifted with extraordinary life spans and people undertake pilgrimages to this religious mountain city of Ruin, a fictitious place in modern Turkey.

Thanks to the power of the modern news and the internet, the image of the monk is seen across the world, causing people to wonder what is happening to make him stand In this manner atop the mountain. His ascent also leads to suggestions that he may be the man to fulfil a prophecy known only to two separate religious sects who have been at odds for centuries. The history of these two factions is a long and bloody one, with their belief systems at odds and times when it has seemed that one has succeeded in wiping the other out.

I liked the opening with the monk, who has become very upset at a revelation which he was unprepared for. This revelation, the Sanctus, is alluded to in such a way as to make the reader unsure what it might be that is so shrouded in secrecy and capable of conveying such incredible power.
I felt greater empathy for some characters than others, I did not particularly warm to Liv, a journalist who knows the monk from before he became a religious convert, although I liked the Policeman and some of the monks. The design of the library with the eerie red lights is a very striking image and I found it to be really very creepy at times, the desired impression I am sure.

I had not realised that this was to be the first part of a trilogy, and I do not think that it suffers for it, it reads well and finishes properly, no cliff hanger, so please do not feel that there is little point in reading it as it will not finish, a very modern complaint I do find. It is good and clever and worthy of your attention if you like a conspiracy thriller. I will be waiting to see where Simon Toyne goes with his grand idea; it is certainly a striking and original concept.
Chrissi (28th February 2011)

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