One of the New York Times Book Review's Best Crime Novels of 2017
“Warning: you'll finish this in one sitting.” —TheSkimm
“Expertly made thriller . . . clever and irresistible.” —The New York Times
An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go to protect him.
The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours—the entire scope of the novel—she keeps on running.
Joan’s intimate knowledge of her son and of the zoo itself—the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines—is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger.
A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself—from its tender moments of grace to its savage power—Fierce Kingdom asks where the boundary is between our animal instinct to survive and our human duty to protect one another. For whom should a mother risk her life?
Phillips, whose last two books were written for preteens, has produced a taut thriller with Lincoln, a precocious four-year-old, and his remarkable mother, Joan, at its center. Their plight is the focus of this almost minute-by-minute replay of events that take place one evening at the local zoo, as Joan attempts to protect her son from two gunmen who have opened fire. The reason for their rampage, and how Joan valiantly attempts to protect her child from them, keep the reader going as the tension ratchets up. Narrator Cassandra Campbell, who recreates all of the characters' voices and inner monologues including those of the gunmen has a remarkable ability to project a range of emotions with ease. She helps the reader imagine Joan, Lincoln, the shooters, and the handful of other characters who circle each other in the three or so hours during which the drama plays out. Listeners feel Joan's fear and anger as she talks her son into keeping himself together in the face of horrific violence. And most of all, Campbell reveals the bond between mother and son, as each tries to be brave for the sake of the other. A Viking hardcover.
I could not put this book down. If you are a mother or a father I suggest this book. It sheds light on the fearless love that we have for our children. Absolutely riveting!