Book Review: ‘Fierce Kingdom: A Novel’ By Gin Phillips

So you decide to take you four year old son Lincoln to the zoo for a fun outing. What could possibly go wrong? The weather is bad? An animal escapes? He gets sick? June only wishes that was one of the problems. It’s a whole lot worse than that in the novel Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips (Viking; in stores Tuesday, July 25).

The zoo closes at 5:30 and it’s just about that time. Joan and her son Lincoln are making their way to the exit when Joan notices something isn’t right. She sees a man with a gun at the exit and sees things don’t look right. She grabs her son and looks for a good hiding place. She texts her husband and tells him to call the police. She finds a good hiding place (at least she thinks she does) and tries to explain to her son what’s going on. Her husband says the police are on the way. When she hears voices near where she’s hiding, she and her son have to be real quiet. There are two men talking and luckily for her they don’t find them.

Lincoln is getting hungry and cranky and Joan says they will go and get some food. Before they can the men come back and she thinks they know she’s is here. In a desperate moment she throws her phone and some rocks to get the men thinking someone is on the run. She’s able to get to vending machines and get some food. There she meets up with a sixteen year old worker and a 68 year old teacher. They are hiding in a place they think is secure. Soon they are discovered and there’s a surprising connection between one of the shooters and the teacher. He leads them out and tells them where to go and hide. They of course don’t listen and the next thing they know is it could cost them their lives in a climatic ending.

A mother’s determination to save her child and her own life is at the heart of the story. Best selling author Fiona Barton says ‘It tore at every maternal fiber in my body. I couldn’t put it down.’ I agree with her that I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. Still something left me empty about the story. Wasn’t bad at all, just expected a little more (and not sure what that was).

Check it out for yourself on Tuesday, July 25th.

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