‘The Key’ by Simon Toyne is the second in the ‘Sanctus’ trilogy of thrillers


Rating: 5 stars

“The Key,” the second entry in the “Sanctus” trilogy by Simon Toyne, continues the eerie, scary, and exciting story of a heroine bedeviled, as it were, by her mystical spiritual attachment to an extremely important female biblical character. More about that attachment shall not be revealed herein.

It must suffice to say that the heroine, Liv Adamsen, is a brave, brilliant, and befuddled recipient of the soul of that biblical character, and she must carry that albatross not around her neck, but through the whole of her body and being. And she must escape the wrath of the Brothers of the Citadel (and the Catholic Church), who believe that her survival means their destruction.

But the real commission to which she has been entrusted (possible semi-spoiler) means finding the exact spot of the original Garden of Eden. If she fails in that mission, it is not only she who will die. So, almost surely, will most of humankind.

She is aided in her quest by her co-hero, Gabriel Mann. Note the clever symbolic significance of the characters’ names, which reveal much about their character traits, their functions in plot development, and their relationships to biblical namesakes.

Like “Sanctus,” “The Key” provides — and this is a pretty tricky task — believable and sympathetic characters in a framework of fantasy, suspension of disbelief, and continual plot twists and turns. Plus surprises. The dialogue is crisp and appropriate. The thematic development is quite profound. And the horror, gore, fear, and suspense are all chilling and imaginative. You will cringe.

And you will probably stay right at the edge of your seat in anticipation of the very effectively-set-up third installment. Many frightening issues to be resolved.

Visit Simon Toyne’s website to learn about the series. (JK)

Please note: This book is based on the hardcover book provided by the publisher, William Morrow, for review purposes.