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Fierce Kingdom: A Novel Hardcover – July 25, 2017
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Recommended reading by * The New York Times * USA Today * Real Simple * The National Book Review * NYPost.com * Bustle * HelloGiggles * PureWow *
“A heart-thumping thriller . . . The story flies by like a gazelle being chased by a lion and is easily consumed in a single sitting.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Heart-stopping . . . A stunning novel you'll be talking about all summer long.”
“A shot of pure adrenaline. But it’s not just the action that will keep you turning pages: Fierce Kingdom is a moving story too.”
“Gin Phillips’s heartpounding novel will have readers questioning what lengths a mother would go to in order to save her child . . . or someone else’s.”
“A page-turning, adrenaline-soaked read.”
“A fast-paced read for fans of thrillers . . . At a deeper layer, it’s also a rumination on motherhood—the monotony and thrill, the duty and risk, the incredible, sometimes indescribable fear and joy of raising a child.”
“Extreme heart-pounding adventure, right this way. Fierce Kingdom is the perfect summer thriller.”
“The premise of this novel will send chills down the spine of any parent—and keep them turning pages into the wee hours.”
“Fierce Kingdom is gripping and almost impossible to put down.”
—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Because we make fun of helicopter parents for the lengths they go to to keep perfectly safe children even safer, we can can forget that, for children, safety is a kind of love—and that makes Fierce Kingdom a terrifying book, but more importantly, a beautiful one.”
“By introducing the threat of violence, the book amplifies everyday domestic concerns, producing a kind of crystallization of the experience of parenthood.”
—The New Yorker
“Fierce Kingdom unfolds at a rapid-fire pace with each chapter upping the tension and danger.”
“A powerhouse of a read that balances empathy and fear as it poses complex questions about human nature.”
—Washington Independent Review of Books
“This heroine proves that a mom protecting her son is indisputably the fiercest creature in the animal world.”
“Fierce Kingdom is a novel that crackles with tension and danger. . . . Do yourself a favor and devour this book before the inevitable movie premiere.”
—New York Journal of Books
“This adrenaline-fueled thriller shows the animal instinct of one mother's love and the ferocity with which she fights to protect her son.”
—Read it Forward
“It tore at every maternal fiber in my body. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow
“Fierce Kingdom is a bold exploration of the ferocity of a mother’s love—riveting and beautiful, and all too real. You’ll find yourself asking, what would I do? It’s brilliant.”
—Shari Lapena, New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door
“I devoured it in one breathless sitting. Outstanding.”
—Clare Mackintosh, New York Times bestselling author of I Let You Go
“This is an elegant, taut, and tense survival story that explores the boundaries of parental love. By pitting love against fear, Gin Phillips questions the opposing forces of family bonds and shows how fierce one mother’s love can be.”
—Claire Cameron, author of The Last Neanderthal and The Bear
“I loved this book not only as a mother, but as a woman—and a feminist—living in a world teeming with pressing domestic details along with unpredictable, casual violence.”
—Susanna Daniel, award-winning author of Sea Creatures
“Phillips’ characters are exquisitely rendered, her prose is artful and evocative . . . Poignant and profound, this adrenaline-fueled thriller will shatter readers like a bullet through bone.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A searing exploration of motherhood at its most basic.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Phillips manages to combine beautiful imagery with heart-pounding, nerve-fraying intensity. . . . Fans of literary page-turners, like Sunil Yapa’s Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, won’t want to miss this.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“Fierce Kingdom is stunning and extraordinary; keep the defibrillator handy.”
—Shelf Awareness (starred review)
About the Author
Gin Phillips is the award-winning author of The Well and the Mine and Come In and Cover Me. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her family.
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There's also a nice depiction of motherhood, as Joan struggles to keep Lincoln alive and psychologically intact, trying to protect him from the terror around them; and there are some moral questions around what (and who) is a mother willing to sacrifice to save her son. There are some neat twists in the writing and the action sequences that work well.
BUT there is one big caveat and a detraction to my enjoyment: be warned that Fierce Kingdom has a frustrating ending - almost a cliffhanger. If the entire novel is about what happens to a mother and son trapped in a zoo with terrorists, shouldn't we know what happens to the mother and son trapped in a zoo with terrorists, when the book is done? To leave it ambiguous felt like a shot at some sort of vague literary ambition, and it made me just irritated.
A one in a kind novel, unlike anything I have read in my seventy-six years!
The author must have children because she writes about the mother-child bond with such authority, and compassion. I felt as if I were there with this mother, ready to 'splatter brains on pavement' to protect her son. The portrayal of at this mother is spot-on. Hearing her listen to her son's chatter is priceless, as it is to the character who loves this young boy.
The tension never lets up as Joan must make decisions that might seem cruel, but taken in the context of protecting her son, they seem perfectly legitimate and what any mother might have done.
I was a little disappointed that the book ended so abrutly and left out the fate of some of the other visitors to the zoo. The mind of the shooters was scary and probably all too real, so overall, this is a very worthy read and one that will keep you up most of the night if you're as slow a reader as I am.