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Fierce Kingdom Audiobook

Fierce Kingdom: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

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?

©2017 Gin Phillips (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What the Critics Say

"It tore at every maternal fiber in my body. I couldn't put it down." (Fiona Barton, New York Times best-selling author of The Widow)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (152 )
5 star
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3.9 (142 )
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4.3 (144 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Sara 08-11-17
    Sara 08-11-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Fantastic Fast Paced Listen"

    This book was an intense page turner that grabbed my attention and kept me listening non-stop. The struggles of this diverse set of characters were compellingly conveyed to the listener through Phillips' ability to capture their internal chatter and thoughts. The book spans only about three hours of real time but with the use of flashbacks and memories we learn a great deal about these people. Heart pounding, horrifying and insightful are words that come to mind when I reflect on the story.

    More than this, the book tackles many difficult topics by looking at the individual will to survive, motherhood, personal strength and how far our responsibility goes in regard to helping strangers in peril. This is my first book by this author and I am impressed with Phillips' skill at stepping beyond the simple thriller aspect and deftly taking us into the minds of the characters.

    Campbell's narration was excellent. She was able to capture the terror and turmoil subtly with her voicing of each character. The reading never became too extreme or over the top which could easily have happened with a less experienced narrator. Campbell is becoming one of my favorite readers.

    Be aware that this book delves into gun violence and sociopathic behavior and you most probably will find yourself repelled by much of what happens in the story. At the same time Phillips' will have you thinking and asking yourself repeatedly--what would I do in this situation. Compelling, thought provoking and really scary. This is excellent story telling but in my opinion not for the faint of heart listener as the violence is very intense.

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda Bass 07-31-17
    Brenda Bass 07-31-17
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    "fierce kingdom is fiercely suspenseful"
    If you could sum up Fierce Kingdom in three words, what would they be?

    suspenseful; soul-searching; heartfelt.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the way that the author showed how good of a mother the main character of this story is, she's patient, loving, protective, and fierce. :-)


    Have you listened to any of Cassandra Campbell’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    If I have I do not remember, but her performance was very good.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes, definitely.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marian Williams 08-11-17 Member Since 2010
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    "couldn't stop listening!!"

    indeed it is a "Fierce Kingdom" that grabs you by the seat of the pants and takes you on a ride that you just can't seem to get off of, even the final words...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynda Quinn-Bennett 07-29-17 Member Since 2011
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    "excellent story"

    this book kept me mesmerised and wanting to read more. The author does an excellent job of reaching out and pulling and describing the truest of emotions.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mel 10-10-17
    Mel 10-10-17 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "View from the Hunted"


    5* reviews and a *fantastic* sold me; I love a fantastic listen. The story is told by the mother; an idyllic day at the zoo for mother and son, shots are fired, and the day is turned into a nightmare. As the mother realizes the pops she's heard were actually gunshots she instinctively scrambles to protect her life and her little boy's, her mind frantically racing through different scenarios. Philips does an impressive job of keeping the shock and the responses authentic to the psychology while balancing it with the increasing intensity of the situation. This is the strength of her novel, telling the story from inside the head of one of the hunted. So, with the mother and little boy crouched behind a bush with bullets firing, why did I set the book down? I'll try to explain my complacency....

    The mother's narration started to feel myopic and while that may have been part of the author's strategy, I found the mother and son getting on my nerves in spite of the situation. I found her intimidatingly perfect and nurturing, a Wonder Mom; the little boy went from being precocious to obnoxious. I should have been wondering who is shooting, at whom, and why, and where are the police, but I was fixated on the mother's patience with her little 4 yr. old in the situation. She gives him his action figures, fishes for animal crackers in her purse and worries about his playing too loudly and I was pumped up with the fight or flight response, wanting her to ditch the *Inside voice only please,* and instead give him an urgent *SHHHH! We could be shot here!!* That's what the mind does with stories we know are fiction... the psychology is there but detached. The ending is already there a few chapters ahead and these are just fictional characters from a writer's head. So, I stopped reading what I thought was just another every-day-situation-turned-disastrous story. I was about to return the book but more reviews were in and decided to give it another try -- that was August 30th.

    During their fight for survival, the author brilliantly gives us the mother's self-examinations of what she sees and her reactions. She mentally chastises a woman that leaves a baby in a garbage can under a speaker blaring Halloween rock and roll music...then contemplates under what conditions such a sacrifice would have been made, what it would mean to her and her son's survival if she picked up the baby as they were fleeing the approaching shooters, where is the infant's mother. These thoughts and decisions will both haunt her and encourage her as she flees just steps ahead of the gunmen and eventually as she adjusts to her own ethics in a world where this kind of terror will forever be a reality to her.

    A day later, Oct. 1st, Gin Phillips's novel didn't feel so much like fiction. Today I finished the book, read from a different perspective than what I started with, and in a different world. As I read I kept wondering *How do you gather your thoughts in such a situation; how do you make sense of such insanity?* I can't imagine.
    My heart is with the victims and heroes from Las Vegas, 10/01/17.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
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    Jennifer Sing 10-07-17 Member Since 2015
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    "great listen"

    heard about the book in a cbc interview with the author. great listen.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    barbara keckler pa 10-03-17
    barbara keckler pa 10-03-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Thriller short story stretched to be tedious novel"

    Great idea for a thriller page turner that really missed the mark. A mom and her 4 year old are stalked by wandering gunmen in an urban zoo after hours. She attempts to elude them by hiding in various exhibits and soothing and quieting her little boy.
    The novel is marred by a number of things. Descriptions of the boy's role playing and cute thoughts are used interminably as filler and could only be of interest to doting grandparents.
    Another peeve is that no one really interacts with the animals, except for a couple of scenes of gore. And my biggest complaint, there is not a complete ending. Even the author says, essentially, imagine it for yourself. A number of key stories, including a man one are never wrapped up.
    Very disappointing-wish I could get my money back

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad&Britney 09-22-17
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    "Society is becoming a bunch of Animals!"

    Fierce Kingdom was such a fantastic book, I literally could not stop listening to it. Of course, I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Cassandra Campbell.

    Gin Philips writing is truly remarkable and her prose is so eloquent, defined, and masterful. She grabs your attention in the first chapter and has the ability to make you experience a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute, I'm thinking Joan and Lincoln are safe, the next minute I'm praying for their luck to turn around.

    Another positive aspect about this book is the powerful way Ms. Philips can write a scene and have the reader stop and think, "what would I do in this situation?" There were so many moments that I found myself asking that question. I LOVED Joan as a main character. She's the queen of calm--even though I knew her character was freaking out, she never displayed that in front of Lincoln or the others.

    Let's talk about the audiobook. Cassandra's narration was clear, crisp, and thrilling to listen to. She had me on the edge of my seat the entire time and I loved it!!! Her voices for each character was flawless. If she had to be an old lady, she did it. If she had to be a little boy, she did it. If she had to be teen girl, she did it. And if she had to be a creepy sadistic gun loving psychopath---she did it. The production of this audiobook was amazing.

    The only problem I had were the animal deaths. Not sure I wanted to imagine an elephant getting shot down. Another aspect that I'm disappointed with was the fact that Joan and her son didn't really interact with many animals. I was hoping for an intense "Joan vs. Lion" scene. Or "Monkey swoops up Lincoln to protect him" scene. There wasn't any of that. The gunman was the scariest part. I think that was the point of the novel is that humans and what society is becoming are the real animals, but I was still hoping for some vicious literal animal drama! This negative wasn't enough to keep me from enjoying the book, though. Still an amazing book!!! Loved every minute of it!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-21-17 Member Since 2017
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    "A book about motherhood"

    Although the story was awesome, I found it really hard to relate to the main character and Lincoln was sooooo whiny it made me want to stop listening at multiple times. Definitely more of a book about motherhood than a thriller.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Johna 09-19-17
    Johna 09-19-17 Member Since 2010
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    "Thoughtful"

    Great book, loved that you hear what the mother is thinking , great narrator. I liked the ending , whited a little more information on what happened to the other people. Overall I enjoyed it and think it would make a great movie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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