The Sanctuary by Ted Dekker
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Christian
Incerpt from the inside cover: "The Sanctuary is the gripping story of vigilante priest Danny Hansen, who is now serving a fifty-year prison term in California for the murder of two abusive men. Filled with remorse, Danny is determined to live out his days by a code of nonviolence and maneuvers deftly within a deadly prison system.
But when Renee Gilmore, the woman he loves, recieves a box containing a bloody finger and draconian demands from a mysterious enemy on the outside, Danny must find a way to protect Renee while at the same time Renee enacts a plan to free Danny from incarceration.
They are both drawn into a terrifying game of life and death. If Renee fails, the priest will die; if Danny fails, Renee will die. And the body count will not stop at two."
So, sometimes I think I'm crazy and morbid for reading Dekker's thrillers books since they are about someone wanting to kill someone else, and there is always some kind of violence or torture involved that I don't enjoy reading about. But I think the reason I like them is that Dekker uses killers and their prey to explore the deep recesses of the mind and the beliefs that people hold to motivate them to act the way they do.
The Sanctuary was a very intense ride and difficult at times to read because of the things that happen in the prison known as the sanctuary and what the characters are forced through. But I love the themes that Dekker explores in this novel: violence/non violence and justice/injustice and, in all of his novels, love. I also like how he points to God without saying it very explicitly. All of his novels also end happily/hopefully, which is awesome after all they have gone through!
I believe The Sanctuary is the sequel to The Priest's Graveyard, which I didn't read before I read this novel. I could still understand what was going on and had a clear image of the characters, even though I read this one second.
Overall, I give this novel a 3.75 out of 5 (and yes, decimals are allowed!) because it wasn't as good as some of his other thrillers, like Boneman's Daughers or Three, and because it tended to be didactic in places. Be warned, there is some torture and killing, and rape is hinted at. I recommend it to 18 yr olds and older.
What I learned: Love/mercy triumphs and is more powerful than punishment. And prisoners often come out of prisons more tough and dangerous than they entered because they had to toughen up in order to survive prison.
P.S. If you didn't notice, I like to review all different kinds of novels. So if you don't like a specific genre I've reviewed, stick around and it'll likely switch soon. Also, I'm going to try to write more about writing fiction itself, but it'll probably be random ramblings since I'm learning more about that all the time. Thanks for visiting, and I hope you have a lovely day!