Fierce Kingdom – Gin Phillips

An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go 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?

My Review: Fierce Kingdom is a frighteningly realistic story of a mother who finds herself caught up in a terrifying situation trying to protect her four year old son and stay alive.

Joan and 4 year old Lincoln often visit the zoo after school, however on this fateful day, just as they are leaving to go home she hears gunshots and screaming.  What happens next is truly tense and the pace doesn’t let up throughout the story.

Lincoln is a wonderfully inquisitive and typically chatty 4 year old and following Joan’s attempt to keep him alive and safe and secure is heartbreaking.  This book takes a long look at events that unfortunately are part of our crazy world and certainly made me need to hold my children close and tell them I love them.

About The Author: Gin Phillips is the celebrated author of The Well and the Mine (winner of the 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction) and Come in and Cover Me (“original and strikingly beautiful” – Elle Magazine). She has also published two middle-grade novels. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her family.

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