Simon Toyne’s first novel in a new trilogy has been compared to The Da Vinci Code with good reason, but this reader was reminded more of Umberto Eco’s wonderful The Name of the Rose. In any case, Sanctus will leave readers looking forward to the next book in the Ruin series. The Daily Mirror (UK) says: “Hard to think of it as a debut, better to think of it as the beginning of a massive new adventure.”

This bold thriller has an almost relentless quality as Toyne builds a remarkable, twisted world, complete with futuristic details housed within the very epitome of antiquity. Nothing is as it seems on the surface, and this soon becomes apparent to the reader in this stylish and entertaining novel that is built upon a foundation of its character’s lies and deceit.

Sanctus opens with a monk climbing a high cliff to top the mountain called the Citadel, a closed off Vatican-like city towering above the lower city of Ruin in what we know of as Turkey. His bold gesture, seen and documented worldwide by the media, sends a message to several groups with far-reaching circumstances. The Citadel is the oldest inhabited place on earth, and the monk’s climb brings attention to this group living within, the Sancti, who hold a terrible secret, built upon thousands of years of protection and tradition.

Liv Adamsen is an American reporter seeking answers to a tragic personal loss. She finds herself suddenly traveling to Turkey to unravel a message left to her from beyond the grave.  The monk’s gesture also has particular meaning to a foundation worker, Kathryn Mann, and her family. What Liv finds with Kathryn’s help, and how she solves this mystery will change the very foundations of what the world has known from the beginning of Man.

This is highly ambitious thriller, with an imaginative plot. It’s high concept will immediately draw fans of grand conspiracies, with its plots and subplots, relentless action and superb writing. It is to Toyne’s credit that his mix of action, history and suspense seem almost credible as the reader is plunged into a cinematic ride that reveals Toyne’s background in television as a writer, director and producer.

The second book in the trilogy, The Key, will be released June 19th, and Auntie M has no doubt readers will be lined up to buy it.

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