Fierce Kingdom: A Novel by Gin PhillipsFierce Kingdom: A Novel by Gin Phillipssticker-burst

Fierce Kingdom: A Novel

byGin Phillips

Paperback | July 4, 2017

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An electrifying literary thriller introduces an unforgettable mother and son, whose simple trip to the zoo one afternoon is transformed into three hours of terror and survival after gunshots ring out. What would you do to protect the ones you love?

After school on a late October day, Joan has taken her four-year-old son, Lincoln, to one of his favourite places on earth: the zoo. Just before closing time, as they need to go home, she hears some loud pops like firecrackers. Not thinking much of it, they head for the exit...until Joan realizes the eerie human emptiness means danger, then sees the figure of a lone gunman. Without another thought, she scoops up her son and runs back into the zoo. And for the next three hours--the entire scope of the novel--she does anything she can to keep Lincoln safe.
     Both pulse-pounding and emotionally satisfying, Fierce Kingdom is a thrill ride, but also an exploration of the very nature of motherhood itself, from its saving graces to its savage power. At heart it asks how you draw the line between survival and the duty to protect one another? Who would you die for?

Heather's Review

Fierce Kingdom Fierce Kingdom is the very best type of thriller, thick with tension but also rich with emotion. A mother, Joan, and her 4-year old son Lincoln are trapped in the zoo when gunmen being shooting. Joan must hide from the killers while also pacifying the tired and hungry Lincoln, with the fear of death lurking around ev...

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GIN PHILLIPS grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, and has been writing for as long as she can remember. After earning a degree in political journalism, she worked as a freelance magazine writer for nearly a decade. She has lived in Ireland, Thailand, New York and Washington, DC. She is the acclaimed author of The Well and the Mine (winner o...
Title:Fierce Kingdom: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6.1 × 0.7 inPublished:July 4, 2017Publisher:Random House of CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0735273197

ISBN - 13:9780735273191

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Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh Was really excited to read this but I found it very slow and uneventful.
Date published: 2019-01-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Powerful Well written book, with nice characters and story development. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2018-08-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Well worth the read even if you didn't love the characters I did really enjoy this book - the pace was fast at the beginning, then slowed down a bit but enjoyable. Very easy to read, and hard to put down once you get into the story. I did not identify with the mom as much as I thought I would, but you do still care about the characters even if you don't love them. A great vacation read.
Date published: 2018-08-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from mediocre running around during a zoo terrorist attack is somewhat of a weird topic
Date published: 2018-08-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Quick, easy read I'd call this a beach read without it being a typical romancy type easy read. I read it in one day, just enough drama and suspense to keep you hooked and turning the pages, but nothing amazing
Date published: 2018-07-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it I absolutely loved this. The whole story unfolds over a few hours so it moves fast and hooks you right in. So well done and I want more from Gin Phillips.
Date published: 2018-06-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun read A easy quick read, I feel like it was a bit drawn out and the plot could have taken a better direction, but if you want a fun easy beach read, I recommend!
Date published: 2018-06-27
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A painful read This was a struggle to read. I'm all for a good thriller, but I found it very difficult to care what happened to the main character. A bland personality with an irritating son. In attempt to add suspense, the author described the main character's surroundings throughout the book in an excruciating level of meaningless detail which added little to the story. I read this book as part of a book club, and the six of us did not enjoy this book. A disappointing Heather's Pick.
Date published: 2018-06-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Waste of Time There was nothing suspenseful or thrilling about this book at all. It was super boring and personally I don't think it was well written. The dialogue is jarring and the random chapters that focus on other people but don't give us any insight into their character is random. The characters or shallow and really don't make sense. And I did not think Joan was likeable at all. She made every wrong decision she possibly could have. After reading this book I just felt like I had wasted my time. Would definitely not recommend to anyone who is looking for a good thriller. You won't find it here.
Date published: 2018-06-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Slow Start But Good Ending This book had a slow start for me. It took until about midway for me to get into it, but then I was hooked. I read the last half of the book in only a couple of nights. It had me thinking about what I would do if I was in that situation, and I don't even have children.
Date published: 2018-05-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from nothing special I got very bored as it only spanned one day through the whole book. I pushed myself to finish. Not as good as I heard it to be.
Date published: 2018-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exciting Read I loved this book! Kept me on the edge of my seat. I haven't read something in a long time that I truly could not put down! Great book for a Sunday read.
Date published: 2018-04-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Could not put it DOWN!!!! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time reading this book. Wish the ending had a bit more closure as I felt it was kinda left open. But still an amazing read!
Date published: 2018-04-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from quick read This book starts out grabbing your attention...but then leaves less to be desired. I hated the ending still kind of confused as to what happened to the mother? I could reread that portion again...but I'd rather read something else.
Date published: 2018-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Scary This was a very quick read. The suspense starts from the first chapter right to the very last page. It was sort of anxiety provoking, I found myself wondering "what would I do in a situation like this?" as this sort of thing is actually happening in our world today, the author did a great job at making the story and characters very real. What would you do if you were trapped in a zoo surrounded by unpredictable and dangerous animals and two psychopaths with guns with your 4year old child, trying to keep him quiet and still when he's hungry and cranky, not very patient and not really understanding why he has to sit very still and keep quiet? And then your phone vibrates on the cement and the screen lights up with a text while you're hiding in the dark and the gunmen are right behind you, taunting you like a wild animal's prey.
Date published: 2018-04-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gripping! This was a real page turner, it kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. 4 star only because I didn't really know what to think of the ending.. you'll have to read to find out!
Date published: 2018-04-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it until the end I read the first half of this book within a few hours, but the rest took me few weeks, which is very unlike me. It was fast paced, but I was was disappointed with the ending and I still feel like I missed a chapter or something.
Date published: 2018-04-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was okay This book I found to be just okay. It had some twist and turns, but it was not a book that I had a hard time putting down. #plusreview
Date published: 2018-04-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Lots of twists and turns I could completely identify with the mother and found myself skipping ahead to sneak a peek at what was going to happen. At times I found the book to be a little slow, particularly in the first half.
Date published: 2018-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it!!! Well written and kept you on the edge of your seat the whole time!
Date published: 2018-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not your everyday thriller The book immediately picks up speed in the first chapter. It primarily focuses on a mother and her son trapped in the zoo during a mass shooting. I didn't want to put the book down - it was very captivating. The story also takes the point of view of other people in the zoo at the time of the shooting which helped to build the storyline and add suspense.
Date published: 2018-02-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An honest story about a fight for survival A story told many times but from a different angle. Everyone thinks what they would do in such a situation, a very raw and honest telling for a mom fighting for her and her child's survivial. Near the end the story got a bit theatrical however still very gripping.
Date published: 2018-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A short but engaging read I was initially skeptical that a full length book could span only three hours, but I enjoyed every moment of this read. I'm not a mother myself, but this definitely gave me a sense of the fierce love and intense bond between mother and child. Made my mom read it after I finished - it was an interesting conversation after we had both finished, both of us bringing our different perspectives to the table. #plumreviews
Date published: 2018-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read This was a quick read for me but kept me interested from the beginning. A great thriller
Date published: 2018-02-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Read it Because I Purchased It Not a good read, the story could have been so much better and I still don't even know the end result
Date published: 2018-02-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Simply Difficult.. I dont think I have struggled with a book this much in a long time. It just plods on and on and its simply boring. The characters are not interesting, and poorly developed and repetitive descriptions, make it a slog to read. Great premise, and this could have been a good book, but unfortunately this wasn't the case.
Date published: 2018-02-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from quick quick read, keeps you interested. Could use more content. Would be a good movie.
Date published: 2018-01-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from IF you LOVE THRILLERS you HAVE TO READ THIS ONE A must read thriller. Unique suspense. Unpredictable action. THANK YOU Heather for highlighting this thriller and for recommending it. A FANTASTIC THRILLER.
Date published: 2018-01-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Parental Nightmare! I couldn't put the book down, I read it in one sitting. That being said, it wasn't due to complex plot or exceptional writing (though there are some lovely and accurate descriptions of what it's like to be a mother). What kept me reading was simply maternal fear. I don't think anyone who isn't a parent would find it quite as suspenseful. It really is a parent's worst nightmare.
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from NOPE Sure, you could read this book in four hours. But don't do it. To be honest I am extremely disappointed in Chapters/Indigo for recommending this book. It is disturbing and twisted and brings nightmares to any parent. NO THANK YOU
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It! A great read; gripping and haunting. Left me speechless at the end.
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Nope I thought this was a total wast of money
Date published: 2018-01-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from good was pretty good this book was pretty good, i had a lot of questions after wards but in all and all it was good
Date published: 2018-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Intense! Loved this one and have recommended it many times since I’ve read it.
Date published: 2017-12-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Refreshingly Different I really enjoyed this book, it was a fresh air from your average thriller.
Date published: 2017-12-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Bit of a let down The prose in this novel are beautiful, but that's it. The story lagged, the pace was off, and the ending makes you wonder what you were reading for the last 200 pages
Date published: 2017-12-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Didn't get the hype with the book I didn't particularly find this book as a thriller and the ending left me still with a lot of questions.
Date published: 2017-12-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not fast-paced with some loose ends This book had an interesting plot filled with terror but I found it slow to develop. Also, I felt that there were many missing details.
Date published: 2017-12-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not fast-paced with some loose ends This book had an interesting plot filled with terror but I found it slow to develop. Also, I felt that there were many missing details.
Date published: 2017-12-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intense Shows what a person will go through when faced with immediate danger
Date published: 2017-12-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Promising concept with entertaining results Definitely not a light read and not for those who seeks to escape the daily news, but very easy and quick read that will have your attention from beginning to end. May be difficult for those with children to read but definitely worth a look - especially if you have a long car ride or flight...the time will pass without you even noticing.
Date published: 2017-12-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Book, Easy Read Great read! Was captivated throughout. Loved how the mother/son relationship was captured in the novel.
Date published: 2017-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best of 2017 I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down. I literally finished it in 3 days.
Date published: 2017-11-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing! I am hooked! This book is amazing, it has you reading non-stop and constantly wondering what is going to happen next. I felt like I was in this journey with Joan and her son, and I could see the zoo around me as they searched for safety. My heart was beating faster and faster as the scenes intensely developed throughout this book. I highly recommend this read, however be prepared to not want to put it down!
Date published: 2017-11-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from good really good easy read. thrilling!
Date published: 2017-11-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down I really enjoyed this book. It was so easy to read and I found it hard to put down. Definitely recommend!!
Date published: 2017-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read This is a terrific book. Great plot, great characters, great writing style.
Date published: 2017-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a good read Awesome read, read it so quick, could not put it down! Keeps you interested until the end.
Date published: 2017-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down! I found this book wonderful and extremely captivating. With everything going on in the world lately I found it extremely relatable and realistic. I loved how the book spanned over the course of only a few hours. It was a very intense, primal and protective story and I could not put the book down until I was finished!
Date published: 2017-11-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This book gripped me from start to finish I loved the mother/son relationship this book. The precious little boy came to life for me with all of the descriptions, which made the story even more gripping as danger comes ever closer to him and his mother. The choices that the mother makes throughout the story in order to protect her son were believable given the circumstances and certainly makes one wonder what we might do in the same situation. There were some disturbing parts to this story, but I didn't find any of it too graphic for me to handle. I did find the ending to be a bit abrupt and wanted more, as there were a few unanswered questions. Still, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a gripping page-turner.
Date published: 2017-11-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from entertaining A great read, I thoroughly enjoyed it
Date published: 2017-10-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great writing, easy read I thought this novel was an interesting read. It really made you think "what would I do" when you are faced with each situation. I just found it a little frustrating as I thought the main character was a little to naive to be acting the way she was. Just drove me nuts a little. In saying that, the writing was great. Easy to read, finished easily, and overall a good book. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-10-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Major page turner Read this in just a few sittings, page turner for sure. Especially being a mom. We will do anything to protect our children.Great read
Date published: 2017-10-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from no It's not especially well-written and basically serves as millennial bait.
Date published: 2017-10-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok I love the examination of place in this novel. It's visceral and intriguing
Date published: 2017-10-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh After all the hype surrounding this novel, maybe my expectations were too high, but I just did not enjoy it as much as I thought I was going to. I wasn't a big fan of the writing style and I was hoping for a little bit more in terms of twists and turns.
Date published: 2017-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't Put Down This is one of the better books I have read in a while. I finished it the same day that I started it.
Date published: 2017-10-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fast The must read in one sitting review was very accurate. The writing was quick, focused, and relatable, and with heart pounding I burned through page after page like MY life was on the line.
Date published: 2017-10-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from alright but not amazing This book was alright. I don't know that I would've finished the book as a physical book instead of audiobook because nothing really seems to happen until the very end and even then...I found it a little underwhelming. I also did NOT like the wrap-up...or total lack thereof. There's no real explanation for anything that happened. Maybe that was deliberate but it came off much more like the author scrambled or didn't know how to end it.
Date published: 2017-10-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thrilling, Fast-Paced Read I get this book is divisive because it's not exactly heavy on character (or even plot, to a degree) but it is a super riveting, tense read that I couldn't wait to tear through. What surprised me the most was how much of the story was about being a mom and how extra challenging the situation was as a result. It's not Pulitzer-quality by any means but this is a great read you can finish in a weekend!
Date published: 2017-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Locked in my grip until the last page I loved this book. Not one to pick up a thriller, I grabbed this book off of those "buy me!" shelves at the front of the store. Boy, am I glad I did. After about 50 pages I relinquished all other responsibilities of the day, silenced my phone, and burned through the rest of the book faster than my previous 1 day Hunger Games binge. I am not a mother to any human or pet but found myself drawn to the main character and deeply connecting with her need to protect what she loves. Something we can all relate to. You will root for the characters the whole way through. Make yourself a, pot...of tea and settle in for an afternoon inside this book.
Date published: 2017-10-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Very Disappointed I purchased this book and was very disappointed with the story. Seemed to go on and on I literally forced myself to finish it.
Date published: 2017-10-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a smart thriller Not a fan of the genre, but this is a cut above the genre. Well enough written that you can easily picture yourself in this situation with your child. Terrifying.
Date published: 2017-10-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Hard to put down, but... I found the characters and dialogue not well-developed enough to be believable at times. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-10-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok I couldn't put this book down. There is always something going on that keeps you reading
Date published: 2017-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent If you enjoy a thriller that grabs you and doesn't let go, this one is it. I read it in two sittings. Would have read it in one, but started it late one evening and finished it the next day. Moves very fast. Captivating.
Date published: 2017-10-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a little slow A little slow but in the end worth the time
Date published: 2017-10-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok Found it somewhat dry at times.
Date published: 2017-10-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I was bored I was pretty disappointment. It didn't spark my interest I stopped reading halfway through the book.
Date published: 2017-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from love!!!! I am almost finished reading this book and I absolutely love it. Every chapter almost has a little plot twist and it is so exciting!! The author is so great with her writing, one of the best books I have read this year!
Date published: 2017-09-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from ok A great novel with clever, easy to follow writing with funny and witty characters. Definitely a must read!
Date published: 2017-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eerie Eerie, suspenseful and all around thrilling. Very adrenaline packed as well as spooky. You'll be hooked 'till the end.
Date published: 2017-09-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! I couldn't put this book down
Date published: 2017-09-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from yes I enjoyed this book so much
Date published: 2017-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING! I read this book in one sitting, I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. The story pulls you in and forces you to think of what you might do in a similar situation. By far the best book I have read this year!
Date published: 2017-09-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very suspensful Unbelievable amount of emotion in this book. It kept me wanting more.
Date published: 2017-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Slow Burning Suspense Fierce Kingdom is a page turning suspense novel that I enjoyed reading every minute of. It's so suspenseful, I didn't want to put it down and when I did I couldn't wait to pick it back up again! I couldn't wait to know what'd happen next! Fierce Kingdom happens in a span of a day but while reading the story it feels like hours have passed after each chapter! The premise of the book is horrifying. Prior to reading Fierce Kingdom, I'd heard some people say this book was good but I think it deserves more than "just good", it was great!
Date published: 2017-09-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring! I had high expectations for this book but I was disappointed. I stopped reading halfway through the book.
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved it! couldn't put this one down
Date published: 2017-09-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from gripping This is an adrenaline-filled thriller that brings a mother’s worst nightmare to life and explores the anxiety and terror involved in protecting one’s child. The characters are a mix of protective, determined and strong, and young, callous and ruthless. The writing is compelling and sharp. And the plot, which is told in real-time over a period of three hours is bursting with tension, angst, violence, fear, panic, instinct, and survival. I have to say that overall this is an insightful, harrowing novel and even though I would have liked some of the subplots to be wrapped up just a little bit more it definitely kept me on tenterhooks from start to finish.
Date published: 2017-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can't put it down Read this book from start to finish, very captivating and no boring parts
Date published: 2017-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from O.k. I liked the writing, but the plot was not for me.
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Read!! This was one of the best books I have read all year. It had an intensity throughout the whole thing that made you not want to put it down. There were many times where I blew right past my bedtime so I could read the next chapter! However, there was also a very human element to the whole story and it made you think about the importance of survival. I highly recommend it!
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good book. A little choppy, the character switching was hard to follow at times but for the most part I really loved this book!
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from nope not a great read, needs some improvement
Date published: 2017-09-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent! With all the hype surrounding this book I was prepared to be disappointed yet again. But I was wrong...I got sucked into the story and was hooked on the premise of Joan needing to keep herself and her son alive. Very well written.
Date published: 2017-09-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read The story line is interesting; page after page you're enthralled. I enjoyed the different angles of the characters, how things weren't just from the mother's point of view. Some parts weren't as convincing, but others had me emotional or even in tears. Glad I read it.
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good book It is true that I couldn't put this book down when I began to read it, but it wasn't exactly a smooth read for me. I did enjoy it, the suspense, the changes of point of view between characters, especially as you realize their role in the story, made me flip it page after page wondering what else was ahead. However, for those same reasons, it was a bit hard to truly enjoy it as every change a bit of a whiplash for me and toward the middle, my reading slowed down considerably. And I'll admit that the ending frustrated me to no end when I finished the book. All things considered, I do really think it's good book. Joan's actions and thoughts about her son on how to hide him, how to protect him, how to care for him, is the highlight of this book. What I enjoyed the most was definitively her thought process and those moments she could only think of Lincoln and acted with his safety in mind.
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed The description of this book had me very intrigued to read it, but I was very disappointed. I liked the idea of this story so I'm giving it 2 stars. I didn't like the author's writing style and the ending didn't seem to tie up any of the loose strings.
Date published: 2017-09-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from disappointing If you read the first chapter and the last, you pretty well get the whole story. Not worth buying. I could not believe how tedious this book was to read. Page after page of the same story. And I totally disliked the main character Joan, and how she was portrayed. Honestly, one of the worst books I have read this year.
Date published: 2017-09-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Such a good book! Had me flipping through the pages quickly until the end. Would definitely recommend.
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Suspenseful This book was great! I loved the plot of it, I just wish that it had a better ending!
Date published: 2017-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it! Fierce Kingdom is a page turning suspense novel that I enjoyed reading every minute of. It's so suspenseful, I didn't want to put it down and when I did I couldn't wait to pick it back up again! I couldn't wait to know what'd happen next!
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved! So good. Couldn't stop reading it!
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Suspenseful Great book with a unique storyline.
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not bad We read this book for our bookclub, and it was ok. There are some plot holes and the end seemed very rushed, but was entertaining enough.
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Such a disappointment The only good aspect of this book was the author's exploration of the mother/son relationship. Otherwise the suspense was disappointing, way too many questions as the book ended. Missing a chapter at the end to wrap it up. Waste of time and money
Date published: 2017-08-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good one I feel as though I read this book frantically and on high alert, since that is how the narrative seems. It is a terrifying premise - gunmen opening fire at a local zoo. The author did a great job detailing every little thing so that it was easy to picture Joan and Lincoln’s hiding places and escape routes. Admittedly, not a whole lot happened and the ending seemed abrupt but I did like the fast pace overall.
Date published: 2017-08-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from a nice story it had a nice premise but the characters left something to be desired
Date published: 2017-08-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointed I just didn't enjoy this book. I had to really skim through it to finish it. Sorry.
Date published: 2017-08-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intense An Intense book that leaves you wondering what will happen, and what would you do in the same situation. Definitely hard to read, as you can imagine this happening in this day and age, but still a good book and worth the read!
Date published: 2017-08-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Slow with little payoff The beginning was a bit of a trudge, and the end left me unsatisfied. I'm not a reader that needs everything to wrapped up in a pretty bow, but that ending gave me nothing. It was beautifully written, I just wanted more
Date published: 2017-08-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was just ok! This book was a hard one to read with all the crazy things going on in the world around us with guns and violence, It makes you think what you will do to protect the ones you love. It was an ok book but I found that taking place in one setting got a little repetitive at times but I was also holding my breath and then nothing happened. I was waiting on that wow moment that didn’t come … and the open ended ending drove me nuts I still have questions as to what happened. So overall a lot of hype but not a big delivery 
Date published: 2017-08-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A page-turner with a disappointing ending An overall well-written novel. Slow at times (picks up about halfway through,) and although I couldn't put it down, when I finished it I was left a little angry. There are a ton of unanswered questions, but, if you're looking for a great page-turner, you'll enjoy the ride.
Date published: 2017-08-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from decent took a while to get into it
Date published: 2017-08-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 4.5/5, can't wait for the movie!!! Great for thriller fans that enjoyed Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train + similar blockbusters I absolutely loved this book, and gave it a 4.5/5 stars only because I wanted a bit more from the resolution of the book. Some of the characters are never mentioned again and I still need to know what happened to them! I have a complete review (spoiler free) on my blog A Makeshift Library. Fierce Kingdom takes place in a 3-hour span inside the zoo, amidst attractions, confused animals and the darkness of the night. I only ever realised I was on the edge of my seat every time I had to pause the audiobook to interact with other people! I ended up parking the car for a bit instead of going home just to keep listening and to find out what would happen next. The story starts slow and sweet, as Joan and her son Lincoln spend another day together at one of their favourite places in the city, the zoo. After the first moments of realization following gunshots, readers dive into the thoughts of a mother whose sole focus is to protect their child. I caught myself nodding along to a lot of the thoughts in Joan’s head, like when we look around the room and wonder “If something were to happen right now, would I survive? Would I fight? Would I give up?” I loved the way Gin Phillips presented Lincoln. He’s such a young boy but one of the most intricately constructed characters I’ve ever read about. The sweet co-dependency and love between mother and child came to life when not even the Avengers could reassure and protect the boy. I can’t imagine going through an experience as traumatic as the one in the book, let alone doing it all with your young child. As any thriller, you question some of the character’s decisions and internalize all the things you would have done differently. I did this several times. But it was fun to read Joan’s thought process through it all nonetheless.
Date published: 2017-08-17
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not my favourite book I bought this book when it came out and was excited to read it because it sounded like a fast pace novel set in a zoo. Unfortunately I struggled through it - I found it boring with all the flashbacks and I didn't like how the loose ends didn't get tied up at the end.
Date published: 2017-08-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting book. I recommend to read it because it is really interesting.
Date published: 2017-08-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! Oh my gosh, this book was so intense I could hardly put it down. That Gin Phillips could create such an atmosphere of suspense with mere words is unbelievable. Joan and her son Lincoln are leaving the zoo one afternoon near closing time. They are almost to the exit gates when Joan sees bodies strewn across the pavement, and a man carrying a gun. She does what any mother would do… she picks up her child and runs. What follows is an edge of your seat description of the time in the zoo, hoping with every part of your body that your 4 year old child will remain quiet. I will say Fierce Kingdom winds up a little more quickly than it perhaps should have...there were a few loose ends that the reader never sees resolved. I still loved it. 5 Stars
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable Read I wouldn't normally pick up this book because it looks like a typical thriller novel that we see so often. However, it was given to me by a friend and the synopsis intrigued me. It was nothing like what I was expecting, but in a good way. The author really captures what it's like to be a mother and the tough decisions a mother has to make to protect her child. Enjoyable read
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Intriguing premise but .... The story falls short. Many unanswered questions at the end. Overall, the book did not live up to the hype (at least for me).
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not for me When I received this book, I didn't fully appreciate what the subject matter would be. I would never usually read a story like this. But that said, it could have been a gripping thriller, and wasn't. Almost from the beginning I was speed reading and skipping through. The story moved too slowly and took far too long to advance the plot. I wanted to know how the issues were resolved, but the ending was disappointing. The fates of too many characters were never revealed.
Date published: 2017-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, not great. This book was good but not the best I have read. It engaged me enough to keep me reading but not enough to leave me feeling that I couldn't put it down. I also wish there was a little more to the ending, feeling like I've been left with too many questions still. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-08-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Didn't live up to the hype I thought that this book would be more of a thriller as it was presented this way but i guess my expectations were too high and they fell short. The book has a vibe that reminds me of "the women in cabin 10" where it has a slow start to it and there are twists and turns in the middle but the ending falls short leaving many unanswered questions to the reader.
Date published: 2017-08-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Terrible This book was terrible. I had heard so much hype about it and thought it was going to be good, but it is very boring. I wouldn't recommend it at all.
Date published: 2017-08-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it! This book was amazing! Loved the fast pace of the book.
Date published: 2017-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fierce Kingdom There were things here and there that I questioned, and I would have liked a few more answers in the end, but I thought the suspense was well-maintained throughout, and maybe because thrillers aren’t a genre I read a lot, I liked that this tended to be more introspective than action-oriented. #plumreview I received this through a giveaway.
Date published: 2017-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Feels So glad I got this book. Never read anything like this before. It starts out slow but the ending really gets to you. I almost teared up. It's amazing how much love and sacrifice this mother emitted and the things she went through to protect her baby.
Date published: 2017-08-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intense Ending! I fell in love with the boy and mother's relationship. The beginning was mediocre, a bit slow, but it picked up its pace near the ending, which made it hard to put the book down!
Date published: 2017-08-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fierce Kingdom Great read! The author creates a terrifying situation that makes you wonder what you would do in Joan's position. Would recommend it!
Date published: 2017-08-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fast paced Fast paced, I couldn't put it down, read it in a day! Would have liked the author to have written more on some of the other characters. Great summer read!
Date published: 2017-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it! Great book, couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2017-08-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from You will hear your heart pounding the entire time your reading This novel follows Joan and her 4 year old son Lincoln through a heart racing evening. After a carefree afternoon in the zoo Joan and Lincoln are on their way to the exit when Joan notices something is not right. In an instant they are thrown into an active shooter situation and Joan is forced to use her knowledge of the zoo and her instincts to keep her and Lincoln safe and alive. I might be in a minority here but I love having different POV's. I like knowing whats happening with different characters and what is happening with our characters but from someone else' perspective. Multiple times throughout this story I found myself holding my breathe, heart racing and teeth clenched. I found myself yelling at Joan not to do that, and telling Kailyn to talk quieter. I also read this book in a day because I needed to know what happened and if they survived. What I didn't like was how fast this book wrapped up. I need to know what happened afterwards and I felt the author left us hanging a bit. Overall, I wouldn't read this book again but I probably would recommended it to friends. It could create an interesting discussion of how you think you would handle this situation and what you would do differently.
Date published: 2017-08-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not What I Expected Wasn't what I expected and didn't really get into it.
Date published: 2017-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Suspenseful I read this book in one sitting, it was a pretty gripping story. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Realistic and gripping!! Every parents nightmare turned into a reality. It was a fun read, especially for those tired of only listening to music while commuting to work or school. You have the opportunity to read a good book instead. Overall great read! Highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-07-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Terrifying! Honestly, would I survive in this situation? No, I would not, and especially not with a kid in tow. This is a gripping read that I read in one sitting.
Date published: 2017-07-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from one of the worst books. ever. title says it all. the book has a promising plot then it started to get less interesting. all the character does most of the time is daydream.
Date published: 2017-07-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Gripping Exploration of Motherhood Fierce Kingdom is FULL of tension but the biggest strength (in my opinion) is the focus on motherhood and the lengths a mother will go to protect her child. A literary thriller combined with an exploration of primal instinct!
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable Page Turner Couldn't out it down. Wouldn't have minded an epilogue, but still a really sold read.
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Kind of Boring This book was well-written, though I found some of the descriptions of the zoo somewhat confusing, but nothing really happens. I kept waiting for the book to reach the climax and it felt like it never did.
Date published: 2017-07-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fierce Kingdom Great book, kept me on my toes and constantly wanting to know what was going to happen next. I had a tough time putting this book down. The reason for the 3 star rating is because I absolutely hated the ending. I was really disappointed in the cliffhanger ending. The book was so well written that it deserved a proper ending. I would still recommend the book, just be prepared to finish it without knowing what happens next.
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A true literary page turner Absolutely loved this book! Finished it in two sittings. Such an amazing story of a mother's survival instinct working overtime.
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really enjoyed this Read this entire book in a day, couldn't put it down, loved the concept #plumreview
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Great story I would have liked more of an epilogue especially if one character survived and what happened to the baby
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heather's Pick Fierce Kingdom Fierce Kingdom is the very best type of thriller, thick with tension but also rich with emotion. A mother, Joan, and her 4-year old son Lincoln are trapped in the zoo when gunmen being shooting. Joan must hide from the killers while also pacifying the tired and hungry Lincoln, with the fear of death lurking around every corner of the zoo. The primal love of a mother for her son pulses throughout, and you won’t be able to stop until you get to the end. A wonderful read for a long night at the cottage and also a great bookclub pick.
Date published: 2017-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing!! This was a super enjoyable novel. I would put it on the must read list.
Date published: 2017-07-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good read I liked the overall concept of the book - 2 (or is it 3?) shooters in the zoo (vs a school etc), and people running to save their lives. I only wish the author had focused on multiple perspectives except for the mainly two (Joan and her son) and one of the shooters. I found the story of Joan could drag at times and be repetitive - I understand the love of a mother for her child and her need to protect him, but, I think there was a bigger opportunity here of exploring some of the other victim's and even shooter's perspectives
Date published: 2017-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from thrilling I was on the edge of my seat the whole time! a real page turner
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this book! Captivating and a real page turner! Put aside an entire day to read this book, because once you start reading, you won't be able to stop!
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from You'll want to clear you calendar for the day Most mothers I know say they would do anything for their children. What does that mean. Would they hurt someone, would they kill someone, would they take a bullet to save their child. Author Gin Phillips explores such a situation in her latest book Fierce Kingdom. Joan and her four year old son Lincoln have spent a pleasant afternoon at the zoo and are packing up his toys when they hear several sharp bangs, or are they loud pops. They don't think much about it as they are walking toward the exit. It is almost closing time and they don't want to be locked in. As they approach the gate, Joan realizes something is wrong, very wrong. With Lincoln gathered in her arms, she flees back into the safety of the darkening zoo to escape whatever/whoever is threatening her son. Thus starts the three hour whirlwind of a story. Prior to picking up this book, I made sure that my day was clear as I knew that once I started, I would not be able to sleep until I had read to the final pages. Throughout my day, the pace of the story quickened and my anxiety/exhilaration increased. Would the two be able to hide and escape detection or was someone hunting them, were there any other survivors. Questions flew through my mind of what I would do should I be in the same or a similar situation. Did I have it in me to put my life at risk to save my child. The concept of this story is chilling; it's a parent's worst nightmare. It seemed quite realistic that so many thoughts and experiences passed through Joan's mind as she struggled to stay alert to the risks and to plan possible routes of escape. The only trouble I had with this book is that I didn't make a connection with Joan. As a mother, I felt her pain, but I didn't really care about her; she seemed somewhat standoffish. There was nothing about her for me to latch onto, such as a shared interest or goal. She was a blank slate, the only thing we knew about her at the beginning was that she was a mother. Even though I didn't care for Joan, I was riding an adrenalin high by the final pages. My heart rate was elevated, my flight or fight impulse was raging and I wanted to hug my children and hid them away somewhere safe. If you are looking for a thrilling read that will cause your blood to race, this is the book. #IndigoEmployee
Date published: 2017-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Summer 2017, we have a winner. Just one word: WOW! I am having trouble writing a comprehensive review, because I am still catching my breath and waiting for my heart to stop beating at triple it's normal speed. This book demands to be read in one sitting, and is as tense a read as I have ever picked up. So good!
Date published: 2017-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unputdownable! So, you've heard readers say, "I couldn't put the book down"....but honestly, I truly couldn't put down Gin Phillips' new thriller Fierce Kingdom! Her premise is terrifying......Joan and her four year old son Lincoln are amongst the stragglers leaving the zoo late one day. They're on their way to the exit when Joan hears 'popping' sounds. It's only when she sees the first dead body that she realizes that there is a killer on the prowl within the confines of the zoo. And he's walking on two legs carrying a gun..... Okay, the idea alone is scary enough, but the fact that I have visited the zoo with my young grandson made it even more real. Recent newspaper headlines make it a plausible and appalling scenario. Phillips' descriptions of Joan's love for Lincoln has been described by the publisher as primal - an apt and realistic picture of fierce mother love. Their interactions and Lincoln's imagination and questions all ring so true. Joan's ferocious desire to ensure her son survives this horrific situation had me on the edge of my seat for all 288 pages and the three hours that the novel takes place in. Joan and Lincoln often visit the zoo - she knows the layout and will use that knowledge to try and evade the killer. But how do you keep a four year old quiet? Transmit the danger without terrifying him? What decisions does she have to make to ensure his survival? The killer is also given a voice with some chapters dedicated to his thinking and reasoning. His actions are frightening enough, but the impetus for his actions is downright terrifying - again taken from real life events. There are others hiding as well and we also hear a bit from them. Fast paced, breakneck action will keep you turning pages 'til the wee hours. The tension and the fierce love between Joan and Lincoln will leave you breathless (and hugging the little ones in your life a little bit tighter). An excellent read for those who love thrillers and suspense. I dare you to try and put it down....I can see this novel as a movie as well.
Date published: 2017-06-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Welcome to Fierce Kingdo 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.
Date published: 2017-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Wow. Joan and her son are enjoying an afternoon at her local zoo and right before closing time, gunmen enter the zoo and open fire on both people and animals. The novel takes place over the next couple of hours as Joan tries to keep herself and her son safe. This is an intense novel – there was a part of me that hated it because I found it so stressful to read. Unlike other reviewers, I was only able to read it in parts, only because I found my heart pounding and contemplating what to do in the situations that Joan faces. Do you hide? Do you run? How do you manage a 4 year old, who gets tired and hungry? The prose and occasional shifts of perspective are excellent. The writing is succinct and emotional. This book monopolized my mind similarly to We Need to Talk About Kevin – that is a rare find. I would like to thank Netgalley and Viking for an advanced reading copy of this book. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-06-05

Read from the Book

5:23 p.m.Joan scans the sand pit for any forgotten plastic men, and then she takes Lincoln’s hand and heads down the path leading out of the woods. She wonders when he will stop wanting to hold her hand, but for now they seem equally happy with th earrangement. In less than twenty steps the trees have opened up—it’s only an illusion, the seclusion of this place—and there’sthe sound of the waterfall splattering on the rocks in front of the otter exhibit.The otter is one of their favorite animals, one of the few that will still pull Lincoln from his stories. The two otters have a huge cavern-styled exhibit with faux-rock overhangs, and the animals curve and flip and dive in a greenish pool behind awide glass wall. The rocks jut over the walkway, and a waterfall rushes over visitors’ heads and spills down to a turtle pond thick with lily pads and reeds and some sort of purple-flowered stalk.The wooden footpath that winds over the pond has always struck her as the prettiest part of the Woodlands—but now its eems only empty.Lincoln laughs next to her. “Look at the otter. Look how he swims.” He still struggles with words ending in ‑er. “Ott‑o,” he says, instead of “otter.” Lex Luth‑o. Score a goal in socc‑o.“I like his paws,” she says.“He has paws? Not fins? Real paws like a dog or finger paws like a monkey?”She is tempted to stop and point out the anatomy of otters—this is what she wants most for him, maybe, to see that life is full of astonishing things, to know that you should pay attention—Look, it’s beautiful, he said, staring into a puddle of gasoline in the zoo parking lot—but they don’t have time. She gives his hand a tug, and he comes easily enough, though his head is slow to turn away from the otter. As they step onto the wooden bridge, lily pads to either side of them, she wishes that they would see someone else, some other chattering family also running late. Not that it’s unusual to have the path to themselves. They often see no one else all the way to the exit in the afternoon, and they are pushing it closer than usual to closing time. She picks up her pace.“Want to race?” she asks."No.”“You want to skip?”“No, thank you.”He plods along.She sometimes wonders if his determination not to do a thing is in direct proportion to the amount of enthusiasm she shows for it. He continues meandering along the bridge, pausing to shrink back from a gnat or to stare down at a speckled koi. He comes to a complete stop to scratch his chin. When she asks him to hurry, he frowns, and she knows by the look on his face what he will ask for.“I want you to carry me,” he says.“I can’t carry you all the way to the car,” she says. “You’regetting too big.”She watches his lip slide out.“Here’s my compromise,” she says, before this escalates and slows them down further. “I’ll pick you up when we get to the scarecrows, and I’ll carry you from there. If you can do a goodjob of walking to the scarecrows.”“Okay,” he says, although his voice is wobbly and his lip is extending more, and he is starting to wail even as he moves his feet in time with hers.She did not, it occurs to her, specify that he could not cry as he walks. He is technically meeting her terms. It is possible that he will cry himself out in a few seconds and get distracted by some passing thought of Thor’s helmet or Odin’s eye patch. It is possible that he will only cry more loudly, and she will give in and pick him up because he has actually walked quite a longway, uncomplainingly, on his small legs. It is possible that he will keep crying and she will stand firm and make him walk all the way to the car because she does not want him to turn into one of those children who throw tantrums. Such a system of checks and balances—parenting—of projections and guesswork and cost-benefit ratios. A dragonfly hovers and darts. A heron picks its way alongthe edge of the water. The wooden path cuts back and forththrough trees and wild grass.Lincoln has stopped crying, and she’s fairly sure he’s humming the Georgia Bulldogs’ fight song—“Glory, glory to old Georgia! / Glory, glory to old Georgia!”— althoughas soon as she finishes the thought, he switches to the Texas Longhorns. No one in their family is a fan of either team, but he soaks up fight song lyrics as he soaks up superheroes and villains. He is a collector. He accumulates.Through the trees she can see the tentlike top of themerry‑go‑round. It shines white against the dishwater sky. Theypass a chicken wire–enclosed exhibit for a one-legged eagle and a near-invisible enclosure for a pair of egrets. There are deadlogs and monkey grass and lime-green weeds. She walks toward an overhanging branch, and one of its leaves detaches, turning into a yellow butterfly and weaving up to the sky.Finally they are back on the concrete sidewalks, which are as wide as roads. Jack‑o’‑lanterns perch on the fence posts.They take a few steps into civilization, and she glances over at the merry‑go‑round. It is still and silent; the painted giraffes and zebras and bears and gorillas and ostriches are frozen. Lincoln used to love the merry‑go‑round, although he would only ride a zebra. Now the carousel animals have rubber bats and tiny Kleenex ghosts floating around them, hanging from the wooden framework. She and Lincoln are close enough that the white canvas top covering the carousel spreads over them, bright and calm.“Mommy,” he says. “Carry me.”“When we get to the scarecrows,” she says, ignoring his arms stretched toward her. “Just a little farther.”He doesn’t protest this time. They hurry past the merry‑goround, toward the food court and the Kid Zone Splash Park, with the fountains of shoulder-highwater still arcing onto theblue-raspberry-colored splash pads.“Medusa’s been here,” Lincoln announces, and she looks beyond the spraying water to the shaded spot with the stone statues of a turtle, a frog, and a lizard. These days, anytime they see stone figures it is a sign that Medusa has passed by. Spider-​Manhas been here, he says to spiderwebs.“Those poor guys,” she says, because it is what she says everytime they pass Medusa’s victims.“They should have kept their eyes closed,” he says, because it is what he says every time. She glances at the darkened glass of the Koala Café, with its shelves of plastic-wrapped sandwiches and Jell‑O and hard-boiled eggs, but she sees no sign of movement inside. The plastic chairs are upside-downon the square tables. The staff usually closes down the restaurants and locks the buildings fifteen minutes before closing time, so she’s not surprised.Off to their right is the playground with the rock mountains and swinging bridge. Once upon a time Lincoln was interested in Antarctica, and the big rocks were icebergs. Then last spring he was playing knights and castles on the swinging bridge, yelling at invisible kings to bring out the cannons and to fill the catapults with rocks. Now that same bridge is always Thor’s rainbow-colored pathway to earth. In a year he will be in kindergarten and these days of superheroes will fade and be replaced by something she can’t guess, and then at some point the zoo itself will be replaced and life will have gone on and this boy holding her hand will have turned into someone else entirely.They are making good time now, scurrying past the gift shop and the wooden cut out where a kid can stick his head through a hole and pretend he is a gorilla. They slow by the algae-clogged aquariums at the edge of the children’s area—Lincoln cannot resist looking for the giant turtle—and an older woman appears a few yards in front of them, just around the curve of the aquarium walls, staggering backward slightly. She is holding a shoe.“The rock’s out, Tara,” she says, and there is a certain cheerful desperation in her voice that identifies her as a grandmother.“Come on, now.”Two blond girls, surely sisters, come into view, and the grandmother leans down, holding out the shoe to the smaller girl. Her hair is in pigtails, and she looks a little younger than Lincoln.“We’ve got to go,” says the grandmother as she works the rubber sandal onto a small foot. Then she straightens.The little one says something, too quiet to hear, even though they are all within a few feet of each other now. Several flies tap against the aquarium glass.“I’ll take them off when we get to the car,” says the grandmother, out of breath. She takes an off-balance step, holding thegirls by their wrists. The girls blink at Lincoln, but then the woman is propelling them forward.“That’s a grandmother,” Lincoln says, too loudly, stopping suddenly enough that he jerks Joan’s arm.“I think so, too,” she whispers.Joan glances toward the older woman—there is a flowerychemical smell in the air, perfume that reminds her of Mrs.Manning in the sixth grade, who gave her and no one else a copy of Island of the Blue Dolphins on the last day of school, but the woman and her grandchildren are gone now, already past the curve of the final aquarium.“If I had a grandmother, is that what she would look like?”Lincoln asks.He has been fixated on grandparents lately. She hopes it will pass as quickly as all his other phases.“You do have a grandmother,” Joan says, tugging him forward again. “Grandma. Daddy’s mommy. She was here at Christmas, remember? She just lives far away. We need to go, sweet.”“Some people have lots of grandparents. I only have one.”“No, you have three. Remember? Now we’ve got to get going or we’ll get in trouble.”The magic words. He nods and speeds up, his face so serious and resolute.There is another popping sound, louder and closer than before,maybe a dozen sharp cracks in the air. She thinks it might be something hydraulic.They’ve come to the edge of a pond—the largest one in the zoo, nearly a lake—and she catches a glimpse of swans cutting through the water. The path forks: the right branch would lead them around the far side of the pond, up through the Africa exhibit, but left will take them to the exit in a few more seconds. She can see the green-and-redflash of the parrots up ahead, unusually quiet. She likes their little island in the middleof all the concrete—a bricked‑in pool with a grassy mound and spindly trees—and it is always their first and last stop, the final ritual of every visit.“Start practicing your parrot caws,” she tells him.“I don’t need to practice,” he says. “I just want to see the scarecrows.”“We’ll have to look at them while we walk.”A long row of scarecrows has been propped along the fencethat circles the pond. Many of them have pumpkins for heads,and Lincoln is fascinated by them. He loves the Superman one and the astronaut one—with the pumpkin painted like a whitespace helmet—and especially the Cat in the Hat.“All right, sweet,” she says.He drops her hand and lifts his arms.She glances along the fence, spotting the bright blue pumpkinhead of Pete the Cat. About halfway down the fence several scarecrows have fallen. Blown down by the wind, she assumes,but, no, it hasn’t been stormy. Still, the scarecrows are collapsed,half a dozen of them scattered all the way down to the parrot exhibit and beyond.No, not scarecrows. Not scarecrows.She sees an arm move. She sees a body way too small to be ascarecrow. A skirt, hiked indecently over a pale hip, legs bent.She is slow to lift her eyes, but when she looks farther, past the shapes on the ground, past the parrots, toward the long, flat building with public bathrooms and doors marked employees only, she sees a man standing, facing away from her, unmoving.He is by the water fountain. He is in jeans and a dark shirt, no coat. His hair is brown or black, and other than that she cannot see details, but she cannot miss it when he does finally move. He kicks the bathroom door, his elbow coming up to catch it, a gun in his right hand, some sort of rifle, long and black, the narrow end of it stretching like an antenna past his dark head as he disappears into the pale-green walls of the women’s bathroom.She thinks there is another movement around the parrots, someone else still on his feet, but she is turning away by then. She does not see more.She grabs Lincoln and heaves him up, his legs swinging heavily as he lands against her hip, her right hand grabbing her left wrist underneath his bottom, linking her arms.She runs.

Editorial Reviews

“With time stamps marking the breathless passage of minutes and the emotional stakes ratcheted up to ‘I will kill you before you hurt my kid’ the story is like 24 for parents.” —Chatelaine“Phillips’s latest is expertly structured to maximize tension and emotional impact. The siege unfolds in real time, with each chapter noting the hour and minute. Joan’s inner monologue provides the bulk of the narration, her thoughts a rolling storm of tangents that relate history and inform motivation while governing pace and tone. Phillips’s characters are exquisitely rendered, her prose is artful and evocative, and the restraint she practices with regard to on-screen carnage grants weight to every shot fired and corpse discovered. Poignant and profound, this adrenaline-fueled thriller will shatter readers like a bullet through bone.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)“[P]anic-inducingly gripping. . . . This is the sort of book that, by virtue of its horrific premise, is impossible to put down until its resolution. . . . It is also—and this was unexpected, in such a page-turning, adrenaline-soaked read—an eloquent and meditative insight into motherhood and what it means, its many small trials and joys and wonders. . . . With deft, careful memories and observations, Phillips brings this ordinary—and wonderful in his ordinariness—four-year-old to life. . . . Here the challenge is pure survival, and it’s one hell of a ride watching these characters try to make it.” —The Guardian“This is an elegant, taut and tense survival story that explores the boundaries of parental love. By pitting love against fear, Gin Phillips questions the opposing forces of family bonds and shows how fierce one mother’s love can be.” —Claire Cameron, author of The Last Neanderthal and The Bear  “I was absolutely captivated by this book. So, so tense, but wonderfully written. The perfect book.” —Gillian McAllister, author of Everything but the Truth   “Unbearably tense and yet beautifully written, Fierce Kingdom demands to be read in one sitting. After finishing, I pulled my loved ones a little closer.” —Paula Daly, author of The Mistake I Made   “Taut, tense and moving.” —Chris Ewan, author of Safe House“It tore at every maternal fiber in my body. I couldn’t put it down.” —Fiona Barton, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow   “Fierce Kingdom is a bold exploration of the ferocity of a mother’s love. Riveting and beautiful, and all too real, you’ll find yourself asking, what would I do? It’s brilliant.” —Shari Lapena, author of The Couple Next Door   “I devoured it in one breathless sitting. Outstanding.” —Clare Mackintosh, author of I Let You Go