Fierce Kingdom
“It tore at every maternal fiber in my body. I couldn’t put it down.” —Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The WidowAn 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?

Fierce Kingdom Details

TitleFierce Kingdom
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 25th, 2017
PublisherViking
ISBN0735224277
ISBN-139780735224278
Number of pages288 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Thriller, Suspense, Adult, Mystery Thriller, Adult Fiction, Horror, Contemporary, Mystery

Fierce Kingdom Review

  • Diane S ☔
    June 9, 2017
    3.5 They spent many happy days at the zoo, Joan and her 4 year old son, he playing with the action figures he lived. The playground at the zoo, and the zoo itself were wonderful places to mother and son, until the day that changed. The day, when after the announcement that the zoo was closing, and they hurried to the exit, Joan saw bodies and saw a man with a gun. Now her only thought is to keep her son safe.What I liked: the novel set in actual time, the times posted at the beginning of each se 3.5 They spent many happy days at the zoo, Joan and her 4 year old son, he playing with the action figures he lived. The playground at the zoo, and the zoo itself were wonderful places to mother and son, until the day that changed. The day, when after the announcement that the zoo was closing, and they hurried to the exit, Joan saw bodies and saw a man with a gun. Now her only thought is to keep her son safe.What I liked: the novel set in actual time, the times posted at the beginning of each segment, the restraint the author showed in describing the carnage of animals and people, the timeliness of this story, when shootings of this type in public places are something we all fear, and the abiding love between mother and son. What I liked less: the flow of the novel was inconsistent, a little too slow in parts, especially the first half, and a few plot points left me with a niggling doubt. (view spoiler)[ Had a hard time with the thought that a mother who had found a safe place to hide would risk all to go to a food machine with son in tow just to get him the cheese crackers he wanted. Yes, he was hungry, but this all takes place in about three hours so surely she could have made him wait. I know it was necessary for this to occur to move the plot forward but seemed very unrealistic to me and I had a hard time getting past that.(hide spoiler)]
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  • Arah-Lynda
    June 8, 2017
    Here it is evening already.  Evening!,  and I haven’t even thought about the dirty dishes or unmade bed, never mind dinner. I have been in the Zoo with Joan and her precocious four year old son Lincoln.   They are hiding in the porcupine enclosure.  In the primate zone. There are armed gunmen out there in the zoo who are killing people. They are hidden from view but must remain very quiet.  She must keep Lincoln calm and engaged, hushed and still.   Calm and engaged.  Not shot.  Not dead.  Focus Here it is evening already.  Evening!,  and I haven’t even thought about the dirty dishes or unmade bed, never mind dinner. I have been in the Zoo with Joan and her precocious four year old son Lincoln.   They are hiding in the porcupine enclosure.  In the primate zone. There are armed gunmen out there in the zoo who are killing people. They are hidden from view but must remain very quiet.  She must keep Lincoln calm and engaged, hushed and still.   Calm and engaged.  Not shot.  Not dead.  Focus! Just how far would you go to protect your child? Want to punch out for a while? Come on in. Four adrenaline fueled escape stars My thanks to Penguin Random House Canada, Gin Phillips and NetGalley for an opportunity to read this book.
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  • PattyMacDotComma
    February 2, 2017
    3★Kind of Hunger Games in the zoo. Mother and four-year-old son are at the end of a tiring day after one of their regular visits to the zoo. Lincoln seems to be a bright, somewhat different little boy who’s quite clingy, but then again, Joan is pretty clingy herself. As they’re on their way out, she hears pops and cracks – fireworks? But we're aware of what we’re reading, so we know better.She’s on her way to the exit when she spots some bodies on the ground, so she spins around and backtracks, 3★Kind of Hunger Games in the zoo. Mother and four-year-old son are at the end of a tiring day after one of their regular visits to the zoo. Lincoln seems to be a bright, somewhat different little boy who’s quite clingy, but then again, Joan is pretty clingy herself. As they’re on their way out, she hears pops and cracks – fireworks? But we're aware of what we’re reading, so we know better.She’s on her way to the exit when she spots some bodies on the ground, so she spins around and backtracks, desperately searching for a way out or a safe place to hide. She sees what she thinks are men with guns, but she doesn’t see any people. They visit the zoo often, so she knows the layout and which enclosures might be empty or not have dangerous animals.Lincoln begins to complain that he’s hungry, and she has to keep reminding him to be quiet – needing to scare him without terrifying him. By this time, she's overheard men laughing about blasting people and animals to smithereens.”‘Shhhh,’ she says. ‘You have to be quiet.’ ‘O‑kay‑y,’ he says, in many syllables, more moan than word. She scans the darkness. He is too loud too loud too loud. She is running her hand over his head, pulling him closer to her, shushing and stroking, and none of it is working. She does not know how to buy more time. He cannot make noise.”As they sit in hiding, she keeps reminiscing about his babyhood and how much she adores him. This mother and child are a single unit:” With a lover you might have a perfect comfort with each other’s body, a sense that his body belongs to you and yours to him, and you might have total unselfconscious freedom to put a hand on his thigh, to put your mouth on his in the way you know he likes best, for him to curl around you in bed, pelvis to pelvis – but the two of you are still, ultimately, two different bodies, and the pleasure comes from the difference. With Lincoln, the line between their two selves is blurred. She bathes him and wipes off every bodily fluid, and he sticks his fingers in her mouth or catches his balance with a hand on the top of her head. He catalogues her freckles and moles as carefully as he keeps track of his own scrapes and bruises. He does not quite know that he is a being apart from her. Not yet. For now, her arm is as accessible as his arm – her limbs are equally his limbs. They are interchangeable.”This reminds me of the mother and son in Room, except those two were completely isolated, which made their relationship understandable. In this story, I understand that she’s frightened she might lose her precious little boy, but there was too much of this for me. It felt like daydreaming rather than fear.The point of view sometimes changed unexpectedly from Joan to a killer or to another potential victim, which I also didn’t care for. Different sections are introduced with the time of day, but the changed point of view didn’t coincide with this. Perhaps the finished version is better.Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the preview copy from which I’ve quoted, so quotes may have changed in the final copy. I expect there will be some thriller fans who will enjoy this more than I did.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    April 13, 2017
    Wow Fierce Kingdom is like a rocket launched right at you - beautifully written, highly tense, this is without doubt a one sitting read (I rattled through it last night) and it is so utterly gripping I was slightly dazed when I came back out of it.This works on many levels - first of all as a thriller, with our protagonists trapped in a Zoo not knowing when salvation might come - and then as a really emotive relationship drama that shows the maternal bond in all its glory - how far would you go Wow Fierce Kingdom is like a rocket launched right at you - beautifully written, highly tense, this is without doubt a one sitting read (I rattled through it last night) and it is so utterly gripping I was slightly dazed when I came back out of it.This works on many levels - first of all as a thriller, with our protagonists trapped in a Zoo not knowing when salvation might come - and then as a really emotive relationship drama that shows the maternal bond in all its glory - how far would you go to protect your child? Far of course is the answer and Joan is going to prove it.Fierce Kingdom is full of layers - mostly we follow Joan and her child but with occasional insight from others trapped within the confines of the Zoo and from a man wielding a gun the wider picture gets painted in very hauntingly. I found myself clutching my hair at times and Gin Phillips just builds the pressure until BOOM the finale is brilliantly placed and emotionally resonant.Overall I loved this. It is not a long book but it is hard hitting, emotionally traumatic and extraordinarily compelling.Recommended.
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  • Rachel Hall
    June 11, 2017
    A brilliant premise which immediately gets readers hearts racing and beads of sweat forming, Fierce Kingdom tells the nail-biting story of Joan and her four-year-old son, Lincoln, trapped inside Belleville Zoo with a gunman on the loose. Whiling away the hours until closing time, Joan and Lincoln are in The Dinosaur Discovery Pit, a woodland sanctuary away from the more popular zoo attractions that compete for attention. Drifting away, with her mind half on Lincoln's superhero chatter and half w A brilliant premise which immediately gets readers hearts racing and beads of sweat forming, Fierce Kingdom tells the nail-biting story of Joan and her four-year-old son, Lincoln, trapped inside Belleville Zoo with a gunman on the loose. Whiling away the hours until closing time, Joan and Lincoln are in The Dinosaur Discovery Pit, a woodland sanctuary away from the more popular zoo attractions that compete for attention. Drifting away, with her mind half on Lincoln's superhero chatter and half working it's way through the chores of everyday life, Joan thinks she hears a salvo of gunfire. Most realistically she tell herself it is balloons bursting, fireworks exploding, a transformer blowing or simply construction within the zoo. Unperturbed Lincoln remains in his own imaginary world and when there is no follow up of screaming, sirens or tannoy announcements, Joan ascribes her heightened awareness of terrorist activity as having fuelled her overactive imagination. Shepherding Lincoln towards the main park entrance in order to reach the gates by closing time Joan witnesses the unthinkable; an armed gunman with his back towards her and a rifle primed... and she realises that the gunfire she thought she heard was in fact a reality.Lincoln is a smart, imaginative, sensitive and obedient boy who follows the rules, has his own idiosyncrasies and like most children, is highly inquisitive. He is a child that requires reasons and explanations to happily go along with his mother's wishes but Joan tells him that for once this is a situation where they can disregard the rules and take a break from the usual boundaries. Scooping him up and with his forty-pounds feeling like a dead weight smashing into her hip bone, Joan flees and eventually finds a hideout in the porcupine enclosure, which is temporarily exhibit free. Wedging her body against a rock and hidden in the darkness she attempts to keep Lincoln content, engaged, quiet and oblivious to his increasing hunger pains. Texting husband, Paul, she is informed of a gunman prowling inside the zoo, but when she hears the perpetrators (Robby and Mark) shooting the breeze and quoting action movie dialogue as they pass right beside her and Lincoln's hideout she can no longer shield her boy from the brutal horror of the situation. 4:55 p.m. to 8:05 p.m. stuck in the zoo, it should have been tense, emotive and poignant but for me, concentrating so closely on the mother son relationship and Lincoln's habits and behaviour made this a tedious slog. Although Phillips does give a voice to the gunmen, it is far too sketchy to ever begin to understand the motivation behind their actions. A wordy narrative detracts from any building sense of tension as readers are enclosed in a bubble of Joan and Lincoln and I felt that the focus was more on pacifying Lincoln and accommodating her habits, rather than an the life or death situation unfolding. Lincoln sobbing, chatting loudly, whining for food or wanting the bathroom is all very much of a muchness and each episode felt very interchangeable with the next. Joan also finds time to launch into an internal discourse which lapses into childhood memories, her relationship with her own mother and to wax lyrical of the delights of an CBS TV show, Scarecrow and Mrs King, which as a British reader without any knowledge of this show left me a little mystified. At first I was unsure if Fierce Kingdom proved a struggle as I am not a mother and have zero maternal instincts, however I appreciated many of the subtle observations on the close bond between Joan and Lincoln and Joan's unerring patience. Admittedly when sixteen-year-old zoo restaurant worker, Kailynn and retired sixty-four-year-old elementary schoolteacher, Margaret Powell, both fellow captives, are given a voice my interest picked up but their contribution is woefully cut short by the continual need to return the focus on Joan and her son. There is no doubt that for Gin Phillips this story does not go beyond exploring just what a mother will do for her child.I encountered numerous holes in the plot and found myself trying to bat away questions about some of Joan's decision making, albeit under stress. Why oh why would she willingly part with a mobile that is keeping her in contact with the outside world? Prior to this she is texting back and forth with her husband, Paul, when I would have been be sending a SOS and crying for a SWAT team to hone in on my GPS coordinates! Given that some areas of the zoo had speakers blaring out music which made conversation impossible, why did Joan not head towards those areas as a cover for any noise from Lincoln? Admittedly rational logic might go out of the window but seeing a Joan found time to ruminate on an 80's TV show her lack of focus on exiting post haste baffled me.A complete aside but is anyone else fascinated by Margaret Powell's thirty-six year teaching career that has seen four murders, six rapists and nine armed robbers amongst her former students?! Some track record.I won my copy of Fierce Kingdom in a Goodreads giveaway.
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  • Dannii Elle
    June 28, 2017
    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Gin Phillips, and the publisher, Viking, for this opportunity.This book has the terrifying premise of following the perspectives of the multiple individuals involved in a terror attack. The intimacy the reader is provided to this horrifying event marks this a tragic and sorrowful read.It may appear unfeeling to state that I didn't 'enjoy' a book with such an appalling premise and I don't mean to sound flipp I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Gin Phillips, and the publisher, Viking, for this opportunity.This book has the terrifying premise of following the perspectives of the multiple individuals involved in a terror attack. The intimacy the reader is provided to this horrifying event marks this a tragic and sorrowful read.It may appear unfeeling to state that I didn't 'enjoy' a book with such an appalling premise and I don't mean to sound flippant about the events depicted, that have so many real-life parallels. This was a painful read and the story's focus initially gripped me because of this. I did find, however, that the tensity that dogged the first portion of this book waned off as the story progressed. The inconsistent pace made my initial grip with the story wane, and I found myself skimming some scenes of lower action and eager to continue onto the resolution of this tragedy. This also has some scenes that I personally found to be too brutal and triggering to read, and which I also ended up skimming, which furthered distanced me from the story.
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  • Andrew
    January 17, 2017
    The only reason I didn't read this in one sitting is because I had to start it right away...on the commute.An original, gripping, point-of-view thriller about a mother and her child in perilous circumstances. Gin Phillips puts you in the middle of the story.Also a rare book that furnished a favourite quote: "Such a system of checks and balances - parenting - of projections and guesswork and cost-benefit ratios."
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  • Zuky the BookBum
    May 31, 2017
    Have you ever read a book that’s brought out emotions in you that you weren’t even aware of? Because that is what happened to me when reading this book. I had no idea that I had innate maternal feelings, I’ve never felt broody or motherly at any point in my life, but something about the writing in this book pulled all the right strings, and I suddenly had “motherly emotions”. Phillip’s writing is superb and if you’re lucky enough to have a day off to read this, you will certainly get through it Have you ever read a book that’s brought out emotions in you that you weren’t even aware of? Because that is what happened to me when reading this book. I had no idea that I had innate maternal feelings, I’ve never felt broody or motherly at any point in my life, but something about the writing in this book pulled all the right strings, and I suddenly had “motherly emotions”. Phillip’s writing is superb and if you’re lucky enough to have a day off to read this, you will certainly get through it within a few hours.This book is definitely a thriller, but because of the topics in it, all the “would I have done that?” questions running through your head, you can get completely lost in the moment of this story, only remembering Joan & Lincoln are hiding from gunmen when it’s mentioned in Joan’s narrative.The characterisation in this is so good it’s hard to explain how good it is. Phillips is a mother herself so she is clearly writing from her own heart here. Joan is exactly the way I imagine being a mother feels, Lincoln is a little bundle of joy throughout the darkness of the book, and Robby is a tragic and sociopathic killer.I can’t tell you that this book is perfect, because it’s not. The writing, for me, pretty much was perfect, but the plot lacked a little, especially at the end when I was left wanting more. More explanation, or a more rounded conclusion.Overall, this was a seriously emotive and beautiful novel. It will bring out some seriously strong emotions in you and it will thrill you. This gets a very strong 4/4.5 stars from me.Thanks to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers for sending me an ARC copy of this book. And also to Netgalley for my eARC copy. (I was sent the physical ARC after the Netgalley approval, I wasn’t being greedy!)
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  • Britta Böhler
    June 6, 2017
    Intriguing premise but the execution was rather 'meh'. Pity.
  • Erin Clemence
    May 18, 2017
    Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for a free electronic ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. “Fierce Kingdom” by Gin Phillips is an electric, suspense-fueled thrill ride with action and excitement on every page. In “Kingdom”, Joan and her son are spending some time together at the zoo, a favourite spot they enjoy, with plans to soak up the sun and to help feed her son’s never-ending thirst for knowledge. Today though, it all changes when they hear gunshots and a Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for a free electronic ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. “Fierce Kingdom” by Gin Phillips is an electric, suspense-fueled thrill ride with action and excitement on every page. In “Kingdom”, Joan and her son are spending some time together at the zoo, a favourite spot they enjoy, with plans to soak up the sun and to help feed her son’s never-ending thirst for knowledge. Today though, it all changes when they hear gunshots and all of a sudden everyone is running for their lives. Joan and her son Lincoln are now as trapped as the animals- and Joan must decide what she will risk to save her son. This is more than a mother-son novel. I was immediately captivated by this novel from the first chapter- right away I began thinking “this is going to be a five star review”. The suspense continued to build as Joan and her son travel through the zoo landscape to avoid the “bad men” and get to safety, and lasts all the way through the last pages when Joan is left staring down the barrel of a gun. The story was creatively told and is stocked to the brim with addictive plotlines and un-putdownable suspense. The relationship between Joan and Lincoln is incredible too; Lincoln with his overactive imagination and his constant questions- questions that Joan responds to without a second thought. She encourages his creativity and embraces his eccentricities and I love her even more for that. The novel, however, dragged out in parts. As Joan and Lincoln made their way through various parts of the zoo enclosures, I found the plot to lose a bit of its edge. It would’ve been more fast-paced had these long travels through barren lands been summarized. Also, I would’ve loved to have seen more from the novel after the zoo. What happens to Joan’s husband? Where was the school teacher- did she make it out? How about Kailynn? Were the baby and its mother reunited? (The baby in the garbage can? Would never have thought of that- pure genius!) I felt disheartened that I had been introduced to these characters and then did not get to see their outcomes. “Fierce Kingdom” was a firecracker of a novel that I recommend completely. It is anxiety-producing and crazy scary at times, but also bitter sweet and thought provoking. The entire novel was a masterpiece of suspense (there is a reason I have used the word “suspense” so much!) and I was blown away by how much I enjoyed it. This one will leave readers talking and it will stick with you- especially for anyone who likes to pay a visit to their local zoo!
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  • Kristi
    December 4, 2016
    I cannot write a comprehensive review on this book right now, because I am still catching my breath and waiting for my heart to stop beating at triple it's normal speed. Just one word: WOW. Summer 2017, we have a winner.
  • Zoe
    July 1, 2017
    Riveting and tension-filled. Full review to follow during publication week.
  • Laura
    June 4, 2017
    Book reviews on www.snazzybooks.com Fierce Kingdom is a emotive, tense story which has elements of a thriller - the characters are trapped in a zoo after hours with gunmen who seem to be on a killing spree - but the similarities to a thriller stops there, I suppose. If you're picking this novel up expecting a rollercoaster game of cat and mouse, I'd look elsewhere, because though we do follow Joan and her young son Lincoln as they try to avoid being killed, the story is more about Joan's connect Book reviews on www.snazzybooks.com Fierce Kingdom is a emotive, tense story which has elements of a thriller - the characters are trapped in a zoo after hours with gunmen who seem to be on a killing spree - but the similarities to a thriller stops there, I suppose. If you're picking this novel up expecting a rollercoaster game of cat and mouse, I'd look elsewhere, because though we do follow Joan and her young son Lincoln as they try to avoid being killed, the story is more about Joan's connection with her son Lincoln, and her desperate need to protect him above all else - and before the safety of herself or others. There are times when she has to make difficult decisions to try and secure her son's safety, and the power of maternal love is really demonstrated throughout this novel. I found that the first half of the book (after we realise the attackers are in the zoo) is quite slow going, in that not a lot actually happens. Time passes as her and Lincoln hide, and they make some small movements to different hiding places, but there isn't a huge amount of action, and at times it did drag a little, decreasing the tension that was created at the beginning. However, we learn a lot more about Joan and Lincoln, and here the emotional side of the story really comes into play - and powerfully so!We learn more about their family life, Lincoln growing up, the struggles of being a mother, and Joan's fiercely protective feelings towards Lincoln. There's a limit to how much we find out about Kailynn or Mrs Powell, as we can only learn what they tell about themselves, but we find out more from their discussions and this is an interesting exploration of the way people react to these situations. It also draws attention to the fact that age doesn't really mean a lot when you're faced with gunmen - though the very young (Lincoln) are bound to be quite naive and helpless, Kailynn - at only 16 years old - is surprisingly strong and resilient, and Mrs Powell is much older in age, but is similarly hard and determined. Of course, Joan herself has her maternal instincts pushing her to protect them, if only for her son's sake. I don't have children myself but I can imagine whilst reading this novel how strong that feeling must be - and it must be even easier to identify with her if you have children yourself.This is a fairly short book but it is impactful with plenty of tension. It's got suspense, lots of beautifully written character development, and a good dose of originality - a great read!* Many thanks to Doubleday for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review. *
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  • Chihoe Ho
    March 13, 2017
    What would you do if you find yourself stuck in a zoo with your kid as a shooting erupts on the grounds? How do you satiate your child's and your own emotional and physical needs while protecting the skin of you and your flesh and blood? What would your inner monologue be like when you are struggling between a choice of being selfish or altruistic?Set over a course of a couple hours, "Fierce Kingdom" will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. It's not your typical thriller per se, but it ge What would you do if you find yourself stuck in a zoo with your kid as a shooting erupts on the grounds? How do you satiate your child's and your own emotional and physical needs while protecting the skin of you and your flesh and blood? What would your inner monologue be like when you are struggling between a choice of being selfish or altruistic?Set over a course of a couple hours, "Fierce Kingdom" will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. It's not your typical thriller per se, but it gets your mind racing and your heart pulsing. The tension is taut, built up over every page of not knowing when a wrong move or an accidental sound would capture the unwanted attention, or when the gunmen might appear from the darkness. This fear compels the reader forward in wanting a definite resolution. It's not a matter of having a maternal inclination or not, it's our basal human reactionary mechanism - our fight or flight instinct kicking in in the face of danger. You identify that in Joan as much as you feel it within you in this pressure cooker of a situation.The story doesn't tie itself up nicely but beckons a lot more thoughts and questions. Thoughts and questions that warrant a lengthy book club discussion. You will fiercely want to talk to someone about this book, and rightfully so. Welcome to Fierce Kingdom.
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  • Joanna Park
    June 9, 2017
    Review can also be found at: https://overtherainbowbookblog.wordpr...Fast paced, realistic and at times terrifying Fierce Kingdom is a real roller coaster of a read!The first remarkable thing about this book is how intense the tension is. I’ve never read anything quite like it before. There were times, whilst reading, that I felt like I couldn’t breath for fear over what might happen next. The author cleverly manages to achieve this not by describing what is happening but rather what is not happ Review can also be found at: https://overtherainbowbookblog.wordpr...Fast paced, realistic and at times terrifying Fierce Kingdom is a real roller coaster of a read!The first remarkable thing about this book is how intense the tension is. I’ve never read anything quite like it before. There were times, whilst reading, that I felt like I couldn’t breath for fear over what might happen next. The author cleverly manages to achieve this not by describing what is happening but rather what is not happening which often left me in agitated anticipates as I imagined what on earth could happen next. I did find this tensions a little too much at times and had to skip ahead to find pout what happens before resuming reading. There were a few incidents that were a little difficult to read and that have stayed with me since.The other thing that makes this book really stand out is how real it feels. Unfortunately, as we know from recent events, incidents like this can happen. The author never pushes the action or the dialogue, letting the story unfold seemingly naturally, gradually increasing the pace and the tension. It would have been easy to go for a more action packed book but that wouldn’t have seemed as realistic and therefore not as hard hitting.I couldn’t decide whether I liked the main character Joan or not. On one hand it was touching to see the love she had for her soon and her willingness to fight for him. However I didn’t like some of the choices or decisions she made. Granted she was in a very difficult and stressful situation and none of us know how we’d react in a similar situation, but I just found her to be a bit cold and unfeeling towards the others housing in the zoo. Maybe this is what happens when human instinct kicks in, that you go very insular and only protect those you love but it did make four uncomfortable reading at times.The story is told from the points if view of each of the people trapped in the zoo, including the gunman which I found fascinating as you got to learn a little more about them, what makes them tick and their motivation for doing what they are doing.This is definitely a book everyone should read as it’s very topical and does raise a lot of interesting discussion points. It really makes you think about how you would react in a similar situation. It also makes you realise what is important to you and what you would fight to protect. I hugged my sleeping kids every night after reading this book which is surely a sign if powerful storytelling! It would make a brilliant bookclub book as there would be lots to discuss.Fierce Kingdom is Gin Phillips debut thriller and I look forward to reading more from her. If you like hard hitting, tension filled books that make you think then you’ll love this book!
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  • Joanne Robertson
    May 30, 2017
    This has to be one of the most breathtaking and terrifying books I have ever read. It’s hits the ground running from the first few pages and doesn’t let up until the very end. Talk about a parents worse nightmare! And coming on the heels of recent atrocities, there are plenty of thought provoking happenings here that will have you questioning exactly how you would react if ever placed in a similar situation.If Fierce Kingdom had been a film (and I would be VERY surprised if it isn’t snapped up b This has to be one of the most breathtaking and terrifying books I have ever read. It’s hits the ground running from the first few pages and doesn’t let up until the very end. Talk about a parents worse nightmare! And coming on the heels of recent atrocities, there are plenty of thought provoking happenings here that will have you questioning exactly how you would react if ever placed in a similar situation.If Fierce Kingdom had been a film (and I would be VERY surprised if it isn’t snapped up by a production company very quickly!) then I would have been watching it from behind a cushion! My heart was in my mouth for pretty much the whole way through. The tension built to such an extent that at one point I realised I had been holding my breath and acting out in alongside Joan as she’s desperately trying to keep her child safe. And although mainly told from Joan’s POV at times we do also gets to see inside the head of the gunman stalking them which made for uncomfortable reading with its very relevant insights into what makes someone turn against their fellow citizens.This book demands to be read in one intense sitting, it makes more sense to read it in the “real time” that it’s told in. So do make sure you have nothing else planned to do with your three hours as once you’re  immersed in this tense and emotional adrenaline fuelled rush, you’re not going to able to tear yourself away! That is unless you have a small child and then you are probably going to want to hug them so tight they are going to do that “I love you but this is going on for far too long and I need to wriggle out of this embarrassing mum hug and go and play” thing they do.Gin Phillips writes like a dream, able to conjure up images in your head quickly both of scenarios and her characters. And using her narrative like a protective weapon against the evil her characters are facing, she explores both the best and the worst of human nature and our “fight or flight” survival instincts. I’m still thinking about this novel days after finishing it -I want to go back to it and not have to leave Flora and Lincoln but to stay with their characters and follow them after that final page. That’s the sign of a BRILLIANT book for me and Fierce Kingdom has shot it’s way into my top books of 2017 so far and I’ve read A LOT of good books this year! I am highly recommending it to everyone I know!I won a copy of Fierce Kingdom in a Goodreads giveaway. It will be published by Transworld on 15th June 2017.
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  • Maria
    June 6, 2017
    *** I won this as a Goodreads giveaway ***This is the most terrifying book I've read all year. Very timely and extremely well written. The anxiety was palpable . I'm never going to the zoo again. Hell, I may never go anywhere again. I'm shook.
  • Bahramo
    December 31, 2016
    4.5 stars. I don't get the cover.... has almost nothing to do with the book. Breathtaking. Disturbing. Harrowing. A scenario that can happen... and how we react or could react comes across vividly in this book. A day at the zoo turns into three hours of sheer hell. Thank you Kristi for the ARC. It has now been three weeks since I finished this book and it has stayed with me every day. This is not an ordinary book. It is one that will haunt you.
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  • Kate
    April 16, 2017
    An exhilarating and very fast read, although I must admit I was hoping for more animal involvement... A review: https://forwinternights.wordpress.com...
  • Angela
    June 14, 2017
    This is an amazingly tense and impacting story. It's set over just a three hour timeline with very few characters, in fact, most of the book is mother and four year old son, Joan and Lincoln.Very briefly so as not to give too much of the plot away, Joan and her son Lincoln are packing up to leave the zoo close to closing time. Lincoln doesn't want the zoo trip to finish and Joan is having a tussle getting him to put a spurt on before the zoo gates are locked for the night. As they get close to t This is an amazingly tense and impacting story. It's set over just a three hour timeline with very few characters, in fact, most of the book is mother and four year old son, Joan and Lincoln.Very briefly so as not to give too much of the plot away, Joan and her son Lincoln are packing up to leave the zoo close to closing time. Lincoln doesn't want the zoo trip to finish and Joan is having a tussle getting him to put a spurt on before the zoo gates are locked for the night. As they get close to the gates, it becomes clear to Joan that the cracking noises she's been hearing are gun shots and around the exit path are bodies laid dead. Thinking quickly, Joan back tracks with Lincoln to try to hide from the gunman/men. I will say no more of the story, you really need to read this for yourself.Every moment with Joan and Lincoln is tense and gripping. Imagine trying to keep a four year old quiet and occupied for goodness knows how long the siege will last. Joan doesn't want to frighten Lincoln with the reality of what's happening, that could lead to noise and tears, but she needs to instill in him the seriousness of their situation to make him obey her instructions.The chapters are set into time frames starting at 4.55pm when Joan is coaxing Lincoln to get ready to leave the zoo which closes at 5.30pm, through to the nail-biting concluding climax at 8.05pm. There are some lovely moments of tender conversation between mother and son and also times of great frustration with such a young child needing the toilet, food and non-stop chatter.This really is one of the most intensely riveting books I've ever read. I found it difficult to put down for a meal and at bedtime, and my thoughts stayed with the siege at the zoo for days afterwards. It's certainly a book to be recommended and an author to watch out for.
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  • Clair
    June 2, 2017
    Review to follow
  • Latkins
    March 2, 2017
    This is an original thriller, set in America, in a zoo. Joan and her 4-year-old son Lincoln are about to leave the zoo when she realises that at least one gunman is on the loose, shooting and killing people indiscriminately. Can she and Lincoln hide, and can she keep Lincoln quiet? Mostly told from Joan’s point of view, we also briefly see things form the point of view of 16-year-old Kailynn, who was working in the zoo’s restaurant when the danger appeared; and 68-year-old teacher Margaret. Howe This is an original thriller, set in America, in a zoo. Joan and her 4-year-old son Lincoln are about to leave the zoo when she realises that at least one gunman is on the loose, shooting and killing people indiscriminately. Can she and Lincoln hide, and can she keep Lincoln quiet? Mostly told from Joan’s point of view, we also briefly see things form the point of view of 16-year-old Kailynn, who was working in the zoo’s restaurant when the danger appeared; and 68-year-old teacher Margaret. However, the best bits for me were when we entered the head of one of the gunmen, Robby, whose simple world has been exploited by his friend Mark and their new online friend Destin, the mastermind behind the killing spree. This is a quite a short and gripping novel, and can be read within a few hours. Although it’s very unusual in its subject matter, and very well written, I found it a little unsatisfying. Personally, I was a bit bored with Lincoln and his habits, and wanted to know more about Robby the motivations behind the killings. Plus I was hoping the animals would play more of a role in the story… There were lots of unanswered questions and the whole thing ended rather abruptly, but that’s life, I suppose!
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  • Vicki
    June 12, 2017
    Fierce Kingdom is a book you can NOT begin reading if you have somewhere to be or something to do. Honestly, you won't make it, because you'll be gripped to this book from beginning to end. Allow yourself a few hours of uninterrupted reading time and remember to breathe!When Joan and her four year old son, Lincoln, visit the local zoo, it begins as a day like any other. Like all four year olds, Lincoln is keen to stretch the day out when it's time to leave, meaning they're cutting it fine making Fierce Kingdom is a book you can NOT begin reading if you have somewhere to be or something to do. Honestly, you won't make it, because you'll be gripped to this book from beginning to end. Allow yourself a few hours of uninterrupted reading time and remember to breathe!When Joan and her four year old son, Lincoln, visit the local zoo, it begins as a day like any other. Like all four year olds, Lincoln is keen to stretch the day out when it's time to leave, meaning they're cutting it fine making it to the gates before closing. But when gun shots ring out through the zoo, their visit becomes a game of hide and seek as they take cover in a bid for survival.Gin Phillip's writing had me gripped right from the very first sentence. It's sharp, tense and filled with atmosphere, transferring Joan's fear and determination to protect her son directly onto the reader. I read this book without daring to breathe or move myself, completely captured in the horrifying moment with Joan. I couldn't stop thinking about what I would do in Joan's situation, as some of her decisions seemed unwise or even uncomfortable in one situation. The truth is I don't know. Protecting Lincoln means she faces a tough choice, and as much as I can rationalise it as pure survival instinct, it bothered me. What is clear and tangible is Joan's desperation to protect her son, and that I did completely understand. I thought the relationship and dialogue between the two was authentic and perfectly pitched, right down to Lincoln's inevitable ill timed requests. I've dreaded the "I'm huuungry" wail myself, but never has it evoked such panic, as Joan wrestles with remaining calm and mounting frustration.Fierce Kingdom takes a normal and innocent situation and fills it with nightmarish threat and menace. It's horrifying as it's a situation that could occur, and has occurred and is a situation completely out of our own control. Shocking and tense, I was on tenterhooks throughout - this really is a book that grips the reader and refuses to let go until very end.
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  • Karen Mace
    June 16, 2017
    This was a book that I couldn't put down once I had started! It is a book that appeals to every humans' nature of wanting to protect their loved ones, and how would you do that if you're trapped!Joan and her son, the very smart 4 year old Lincoln, often stop by the Zoo to visit the animals as Lincoln loves to learn. There isn't much he doesn't know despite his tender years, and he's currently obsessed with superheroes - aren't we all!!But then a normal visit is quickly turned into a terrifying v This was a book that I couldn't put down once I had started! It is a book that appeals to every humans' nature of wanting to protect their loved ones, and how would you do that if you're trapped!Joan and her son, the very smart 4 year old Lincoln, often stop by the Zoo to visit the animals as Lincoln loves to learn. There isn't much he doesn't know despite his tender years, and he's currently obsessed with superheroes - aren't we all!!But then a normal visit is quickly turned into a terrifying visit by the sound of gunfire - everybody's worst nightmare is playing out in front of them as 2 young gunmen are on the rampage. Do you run? Do you hide? How do you keep a 4 year old quiet and calm in such a horrifying situation?The pace of the book is tremendous as you watch the minutes, and hours tick by with Joan and her son, along with some other unfortunate visitors who are also caught up in the carnage. You also hear the POV from one of the gunmen and that adds a fascinating side to the tragedy as it plays out on the pages.I really enjoyed the tension throughout the book, it was really well paced and how it plays on all our fears of what you would do in such a situation trapped with love ones, and how the instinct to survive takes over! An excellent read!!
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  • The Book Review Café
    May 30, 2017
    All my reviews can be found at http://thebookreviewcafe.com I also have a giveaway running for an ARC of Fierce KingdomFierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips is one of those novels that will strike fear into every parent, it will make you hold your child that little bit closer and make you more protective of your most treasured possessions. Not only does this novel make for a powerful and emotional read, but it unfortunately it’s also a very terrifying and a credible one due to the recent heartbreaking All my reviews can be found at http://thebookreviewcafe.com I also have a giveaway running for an ARC of Fierce KingdomFierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips is one of those novels that will strike fear into every parent, it will make you hold your child that little bit closer and make you more protective of your most treasured possessions. Not only does this novel make for a powerful and emotional read, but it unfortunately it’s also a very terrifying and a credible one due to the recent heartbreaking events in Manchester.What would you do if you were having a day at the zoo with your young child and all of a sudden that perfect day was marred by a gunman shooting people at random? That is exactly what Joan faces when she finds herself caught up in the terrifying events. Without doubt there is nothing stronger than a mothers love and Fierce Kingdom explores the maternal bond between mother and son, which begs the question just how far will a mother go to protect her four year old son from the dangers facing them?Gin Phillips certainly knows how to draw the reader in, from the very first chapter with a tense and horrifying opening scene I found myself desperate to read more, I found myself willing Joan and her son Lincoln to find a safe place to hide, I felt Joan’s fear, her instinct to protect her son rang true, all these factors added a constant sense of terror to what was a thrilling read.Fierce Kingdom is so much more than a tale of a parent trying to protect her child, its a tale of survival, it explores how people in the most awful situations are bound together. Although this is a relatively short book it manages to pack so much in. Yes it’s hard hitting and disturbing and yet it’s also an exhilarating and emotive read that begs to be read in one sitting. Highly recommended.
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  • Tracy Fenton
    June 4, 2017
    My Review: Fierce Kingdom is a frighteningly realistic story of a mother who finds herself caught up in a terrifying situation trying to protect her four year old son and stay alive.Joan and 4 year old Lincoln often visit the zoo after school, however on this fateful day, just as they are leaving to go home she hears gunshots and screaming. What happens next is truly tense and the pace doesn’t let up throughout the story.Lincoln is a wonderfully inquisitive and typically chatty 4 year old and fo My Review: Fierce Kingdom is a frighteningly realistic story of a mother who finds herself caught up in a terrifying situation trying to protect her four year old son and stay alive.Joan and 4 year old Lincoln often visit the zoo after school, however on this fateful day, just as they are leaving to go home she hears gunshots and screaming. What happens next is truly tense and the pace doesn’t let up throughout the story.Lincoln is a wonderfully inquisitive and typically chatty 4 year old and following Joan’s attempt to keep him alive and safe and secure is heartbreaking. This book takes a long look at events that unfortunately are part of our crazy world and certainly made me need to hold my children close and tell them I love them.
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  • LK
    June 22, 2017
    A fast-paced nail-biter, and - unexpectedly - a thoughtful exploration of all the real and imagined fears that accompany motherhood.
  • Janel
    June 3, 2017
    Fierce Kingdom is probably one of the most emotionally intense books any parent can read – your heart starts pounding when the danger becomes clear and it does not stop until the very end!This novel starts at 4.55pm and ends at 8.05pm, narrated in “real time”, Phillips places you at the centre of the story as events unravel. Joan is in survival mode and you are right there alongside her, hoping she and Lincoln can stay safe. But you are also playing out another storyline in your mind, it’s the s Fierce Kingdom is probably one of the most emotionally intense books any parent can read – your heart starts pounding when the danger becomes clear and it does not stop until the very end!This novel starts at 4.55pm and ends at 8.05pm, narrated in “real time”, Phillips places you at the centre of the story as events unravel. Joan is in survival mode and you are right there alongside her, hoping she and Lincoln can stay safe. But you are also playing out another storyline in your mind, it’s the storyline where it’s you and your child in danger and you are telling yourself, you’d do everything possible to keep your child safe. That’s the intensity of this story, it’s so visual and detailed, you truly feel like you could be Joan, and in today’s world, that’s not too hard to imagine and that is what makes this book psychologically thrilling.“I will never let you be hurt, and I am stronger and faster and smarter than anything that could ever be out there.”Those are the words every mother wants to comfort her child with, but as parents, we know there are very real risks out there, risks we may not be able to stop but we’ll sure as hell go down fighting – that’s what Fierce Kingdom is, a mother who refuses to give up. Phillips picked a great setting for this book, the zoo, because Joan has that primal instinct to protect her young.When Phillips offers a look inside the mind of the gunman tracking Joan, it’s so chilling because I remember when I was reading my degree in Criminology and I researched the Columbine High School massacre. As soon as I made that connection, my senses heightened and I began to worry even more for Joan and Lincoln.If done correctly, Fierce Kingdom, would make an amazing film. Comparisons are being made between this novel and Room [by Emma Donoghue] and I can see why, I personally think this book is levels above Room. Fierce Kingdom is breath-taking, it’s primal, it’s heart-poundingly good and should be on everyone’s summer reading list.*My thanks to Doubleday/Transworld Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book*
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  • michelle
    May 25, 2017
    Fierce Kingdom is about Joan and her 4 year old son Lincoln. They decide to spend the day at a secluded part of the Zoo when at closing time, they try and hurry up to the exit. They sense that something is wrong. Suddenly what Joan thinks is fireworks and balloons popping turns out to be gunfire and she sees men going around shooting not only animals, but also people in the zoo.Joan then takes Lincoln in the depths of the zoo as she knows her way around. and hides from the gunmen. Along the way Fierce Kingdom is about Joan and her 4 year old son Lincoln. They decide to spend the day at a secluded part of the Zoo when at closing time, they try and hurry up to the exit. They sense that something is wrong. Suddenly what Joan thinks is fireworks and balloons popping turns out to be gunfire and she sees men going around shooting not only animals, but also people in the zoo.Joan then takes Lincoln in the depths of the zoo as she knows her way around. and hides from the gunmen. Along the way she sees dead animals where the gunmen have been hunting the animals and also dead bodies. She meets Kailynn who is a 16 year old girl and a 60 year old retired High school teacher that we find out had taught one of the gunmen.I liked the concept of this story. It was a tense, original quick read. I liked how the author described Lincoln's habits but then the story just went way off track and just kept writing about Lincoln and it it was so unnecessary and I started getting bored. I wanted more interaction with the gunmen and the police and animals but this only happened in the last 15% of the book. Why did the gunmen do what they did. Because they could??This novel was a great idea, but for me personally it didn't quite hit it off.Thank you Netgalley and Random House of a copy of this book for an honest review.
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  • Veronica
    May 14, 2017
    "Fierce Kingdom" by Gin Phillips starts off with a bang (no pun intended) and never lets up until the very last page. What would you do if you were having a leisurely day at the zoo with your young child and all of a sudden that bliss was interrupted by a gunman shooting people at random? That is exactly what Joan faces when she is trying to leave the zoo after spending a wonderful day with her young and very curious son. The novel works on so many levels. There is suspense, dread, and an emotio "Fierce Kingdom" by Gin Phillips starts off with a bang (no pun intended) and never lets up until the very last page. What would you do if you were having a leisurely day at the zoo with your young child and all of a sudden that bliss was interrupted by a gunman shooting people at random? That is exactly what Joan faces when she is trying to leave the zoo after spending a wonderful day with her young and very curious son. The novel works on so many levels. There is suspense, dread, and an emotional connection if you happen to be a mother. The vivid narration is so very precise and detailed as well with really makes the novel a very rich and enthralling read. I didn't want to put the book down as the suspense never let up at all. This is definitely going to be on my "best books of 2017 list". Highly recommended!
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