Fierce Kingdom

Fierce Kingdom

A Novel

Book - 2017
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"An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she'll go to 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. Suddenly, mother and son are as trapped as the animals. Joan's intimate knowledge of this place that filled early motherhood with happy diversions--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?"--
Publisher: New York :, Viking,, 2017.
ISBN: 9780735224278
Branch Call Number: FICTION Phillips Gin 07/2017
Characteristics: 275 pages ;,24 cm


From Library Staff

It's closing time at the zoo. A young mom and her four-year-old kid are the last ones to head for the exits. And then they're on the run...for the rest of the book. Warning: you'll finish this in one sitting.

From the critics

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Oct 31, 2019

I had a chill the whole time reading this book. I could not put it down, it kind of just hit a little too close to home for me though thinking that this could easily really happen.
Nice writing and I liked the perspective of the woman (main character).
Good ending but I would have liked to know more beyond it.
Unique story, unlike any I have read before.

Sep 25, 2019

I don't read thrillers very often and this one really got to me. I liked all the characters and different perspectives. But I would have liked more closure but that's just a personal preference!

Jul 31, 2019

Nail biting, hard to put down and well written. Whew—tense until the very end.

Apr 21, 2019

4 1/2 - 5 stars. This was a compelling book and I found I couldn't put it down. I had to read it to the end. Joan and her 4 year old son Lincoln are in the zoo, one of their favourite places to be. As it is almost closing time, they head towards the exit and they hear noises that sound like popping balloons. Getting closer to the exit, Joan sees bodies on the ground and realizes that there is an active shooting going on. Her first instinct is to protect her son and hide. After hiding for some time, she and Lincoln seek out some food for Lincoln. By the snack bar, she meets up with some other people. But one of the shooters finds them and they disperse into the zoo grounds again, being hunted. Joan will stop at nothing to protect her son and keep him safe. What a page turner and a great read.

Oct 24, 2018

A page-turner for sure, with the mother’s intense protectiveness of her small child portrayed authentically in this deadly cat and mouse thriller. For the most part I could accept the protagonist’s pressured decisions …but to throw away her phone??
However, I was disappointed that it ended so abruptly without learning what happened to the other characters introduced throughout the book. It needed an epilogue.

DBRL_ANNEG Jun 13, 2018

I was drawn into this intense story from the opening pages. The story is very cerebral--much of it is spent in the protagonist's head, with not much action. But, this is a story of a mother and lengths she will go to in order to save her child. I can't think of a relationship that is more defined by its roles of protector and protected. Most people will thankfully never find themselves stuck with a 3-year-old while murderers stalk them through the displays of their local zoo. But it's a scarily easy scenario to imagine and I think Gin Phillips captured the fear and intense emotions of a mother trying to just get through these few hours alive in a rather vivid way that had me questioning just what I would do in her shoes.

neyoscribbles Apr 20, 2018

Great book! I absolutely loved the primal instincts of the victims to survive, juxtaposed with the environment of the zoo, where the instincts of all the animals are basically restricted.
I liked being inside the mother’s head and understanding the adrenaline and worry that would accompany the desire to safe keep her child. I also couldn’t help but get mad at myself for allowing the author to manipulate me by offering different perspectives towards the end. As a reader you can assume one person to be the villain, but then of course as humans you want to rationalize all kinds of behaviour, which then leaves you wondering, who really is the villain in this story? As a result, I think the ending was very disappointing. And it was also a weird surprise to have additional perspectives with only 100 pages left in the book.

Feb 24, 2018

This book was just okay. I felt a bit overwhelmed with the mom's thoughts about every peep, squeak, word etc that her son had ever made. It did get kind of boring during those parts.
Also found the ending a bit vague but perhaps that was the intent.

Feb 12, 2018

I found this book gave a unique perspective (which caught me off-guard when it switched between characters). It was enlightening to see the author go into the territory of what makes someone decide to commit murder, and how sometimes it just doesn't make any sense at all (if there are mental problems). As a victim trying to "reason with" someone like this, it likely isn't possible. I wish the author would have taken the time to finish off more of the story (i.e. what happened with the crying baby?, why didn't the police use night vision goggles to locate people?).

Dec 12, 2017

Thriller about a woman trapped in a zoo with her son and an unforeseen horror occurs. The novel is about survival and the primal instincts of a mother's love. Not enough for me here, just indiscriminate mayhem.

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Aug 04, 2017

skimm says you'll finish this in one sitting


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