Published: 15th June 2017 (Transworld)
Lincoln is a good boy. At the age of four, he is curious, clever and well behaved. He does as his mum says and knows what the rules are.
‘The rules are different today. The rules are that we hide and do not let the man with the gun find us.’
When an ordinary day at the zoo turns into a nightmare, Joan finds herself trapped with her beloved son. She must summon all her strength, find unexpected courage and protect Lincoln at all costs – even if it means crossing the line between right and wrong; between humanity and animal instinct.
It’s a line none of us would ever normally dream of crossing.
But sometimes the rules are different.
I was fortunate to receive a sampler of this book which was so chilling that I couldn’t wait to read the full book. Gin Phillips opens this book spectacularly with such tension that it is impossible to not get hooked within the first few pages.
Joan has taken her 4-year-old boy to the zoo on what is normally a very ordinary afternoon; Lincoln is playing and chatting away, Joan is distracted by her thoughts, enjoying time with her son – however today is no ordinary day because when Joan and Lincoln are getting ready to leave just before closing time, Joan hears the popping of a gun. Suddenly everything changes, on this visit she has to keep her beloved Lincoln safe from harm from the man with the gun.
Fierce Kingdom is, sadly, very topical in relation to gun crime within America and Phillips sets this within a zoo whereby animal instinct and motherly instinct are combined; predators and prey, humans and animals are all suddenly on the same side against the shooter.
Fierce Kingdom is mainly told from the point of view of Joan and explores every parents worst nightmare, she is trying to protect her son from not only the shooter, but also to shield him from the reality of what is happening. Joan is mentally preparing herself for violence and the sacrifice of others in order to save Lincoln, but is torn with her human instincts to try and protect everyone – Phillips brilliantly demonstrates the conflicts that is happening within Joan.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book as there are multiple layers to this book with the unique setting of the zoo, the darkness that prevails over the setting when the evening arrives and the noises that are usually not heard to the general public from the animals at night. The tension is built up brilliantly – fearing what you cannot see.
Fierce Kingdom is brilliantly written, capturing the readers attention from the start – at times I could feel my heart pounding in my chest in anticipation as to what could happened (heightened by the fact that I also have a 4-year-old who loves the zoo so I felt like I was in Joan’s shoes).
A brilliant, unique thriller that will make you have your heart in your mouth throughout the majority of the extremely realistic narrative – one to read with every light in the house on, better still read it during the day!
Gin Phillips is the author of five novels. Her debut novel, The Well and the Mine, was the winner of the 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Award. Since then her work has been sold in 29 countries.
Born in Montgomery, Al., Gin graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a degree in political journalism. She worked as a magazine writer for more than a decade, living in Ireland, New York, and Washington D.C., before eventually moving back to Alabama.
She currently lives in Birmingham with her family.