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Sanctuary [Hardcover]

Raymond Khoury
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 21 2007
Portugal, 1705. In the dungeons of a Templar castle, a dying old man bequeaths an ancient, half-burnt book to his young inquisitor. Keeping one step ahead of those who would kill to wrench the book's secret from his hands, the inquisitor turns his back on his calling and sets off on an impossible journey to complete the old man's quest. Baghdad, 2003. A military unit makes a horrifying discovery: a hidden state-of-the-art lab, where dozens of men, women and children have died. The scientist they were hunting is believed to be working on a bio weapons programme. But the man known only as the hakeem - the doctor - has escaped, taking with him the startling truth about his work ...
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Description

From Booklist

Here is one of those novels that spans centuries, interweaves stories from past and present, and involves a brave hero trying to uncover the truth behind an ancient conspiracy that unnamed individuals will kill to protect. It's hardly a new premise, but here's the good thing: in Khoury's hands, it feels fresh and exciting again. When archaeology professor Evelyn Bishop is kidnapped, her daughter, Mia, vows to find her and to find the secret behind the artifacts that apparently led to Evelyn's abduction. Her odyssey takes her into unexpected corners of history, quickly putting her own life at risk. The action takes place mostly in Iraq but also journeys to eighteenth-century Italy and present-day Lebanon. The large cast of characters includes plenty of villainous types, including "the hakeem," a doctor whose grisly medical experiments seem linked to a centuries-old mystery. There are dozens of ways this novel could have collapsed under its own narrative weight, but Khoury makes the conspiracy feel utterly believable and imbues his characters with infectious passion for finding the truth. A surefire hit with fans of conspiracy-based historical thrillers. Pitt, David

Review

'murder and mayhem and a heart-stopping seat-of-pants ride that will leave you thoroughly glad you decided to stay in to read it...' DAILY SPORT 'A high octane rollercoaster ride of thrills and spills' IRISH MAIL ON SUNDAY 'Ancient, mysterious clues mingle with the latest scientific advances in this cinematic thriller. The pace is fast, the dialogue sharp, the characters plausible. Khoury knows what he is doing.' GLASGOW EVENING TIMES 'A tense thriller' LANCASHIRE EVENING POST 'From a sinister experimental camp in Saddam's Baghdad to every dark corner of the globe, Khoury ensures that the pace never relents.' GOOD BOOK GUIDE --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bo-ring! Oct. 1 2007
Format:Hardcover
I loved Khoury's first book - The Last Templar - even if like all novels of this genre, it was rather silly. So I expected more of the same enjoyable nonsense with this book. How wrong could I be? The big problem is that he takes far too long to reveal The Big Secret. Anybody with half a brain will have figured it out well in advance, realised that it's not such a big deal after all, and nowhere near interesting enough to fill a 450 page novel.

The other problem I have with this book is the page after page after page of chase scenes and shoot outs. I guess the authors of these books think it's necessary, but it's also horrendously tedious, and makes me skip page after page in a desperate attempt to get back to the point.

This really was absolutely underwhelming stuff. When you have to force yourself to finish a book on point of principle, you know you're in trouble.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By FRED
Format:Hardcover
I loved Raymond Khoury`S first novel The Last Templar. So I could not wait for "The Sanctuary." Khoury is able to mix a historical mystery from the 18th century into a fascinating suspense thriller. I don't want to reveal too much of the plot as that would ruin the read, but it starts out in 2003 with a US Army unit on patrol in Baghdad making a gruesome discovery. How is what the Army unit find related to an 18th century feud between an Italian prince and a mysterious marquis? You'll have to read the book to find out, but the author deftly mixes the action with plenty of historical scholarship to create a fascinating "what if?" If you liked "The Last Templar" or The Da Vinci Codeyou'll be just as happy reading "The Sanctuary."
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  70 reviews
56 of 65 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A huge disappointment from Khoury Aug. 29 2007
By Brian Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I really liked Khoury's first novel, "The Last Templar", and gave it a rave review last year when it first hit the shelves. I was eagerly awaiting his next book.

What a disappointment. Most writers improve upon the skills they exhibit in their first published work; sadly, Khoury hasn't pulled this off. I didn't think it was possible for a writer to become formulaic with only two published works, but sadly that's what's happened here.

Whereas I found "Templar" to be original, fast paced, and with richly drawn characters, "Sanctuary" was simply a "Templar" knock-off without the upside. The characterizations were flat and - in some cases - confusing. Characters suddenly changed actions and apparent motivations mid-stream simply as a device to create surprise twists in a mundane and linear plot. The "McGuffin" of the story (I won't reveal it so as not to spoil it for others) was unbelievable, and again lacked clarity. Whereas in "Templar" the flashback scenes almost stole the whole book, in "Sanctuary" they were - again - muddled and disjointed.

Further, Khoury wrote this whole thing in the breathless style of pulp fiction, with non-stop chases and gunfights, and cliché damsels-in-distress. Frankly, that's pretty boring. Look at some of Tom Clancy's best work; the scenes of actual violence are few and far between, used to great effect as highlights to the plot, not as the only point to the story. As Hitchcock said, it's not the violence that's terrifying, it's the anticipation of the violence. Khoury needs to learn that lesson.

One last thing. Whoever edited this book needs to take another crack before the paperback version comes out. There are a lot of misusages of American English, unforgivable for a book in which the central characters are all Americans. For example, many times in the book, when writing about a gun being pointed at another character, Khoury refers to the end of the gun barrel as the gun's "nozzle". I don't know what Khoury's native language is, but fire hoses have "nozzles". Guns have "muzzles".

Sorry, can't recommend this one at all.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Quit mid stream Jan. 25 2008
By Paul Forcina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
For those who pressed on, I hope the book gets better. Never before have I quit a book in the middle. The Sanctuary forced me to do it.

Ladies, please don't take this next section the wrong way. Tess, the heroine of Khoury's The Last Templar, I could handle. As an encore, Khoury drums up a grandmotherly archaeologist and her daughter. The characters didn't have much substance, whether on the side of good or evil, they were character props more than well drawn characters. They simply couldn't hold my attention.

A struggling author friend of mine read one time that, "the road to hell is paved with adverbs". Now, I may be exaggerating here because I no longer have the text in front of me, but - in the first section, taking place in Naples of the past, Khoury uses "menacingly" four times in as many paragraphs. Amateurish.

Skip over this one.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quasi-immortality does not bring happiness! Oct. 15 2007
By Robert C. Olson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Good read. Mr. Khoury tackles an interesting subject: What if you could live 3 times longer than the average person? Would this bring you happiness? Or, would it bring problems that the average person does not have to deal with? In this interesting "time" thriller Mr. Khoury endeavors to answer this. Using flashbacks to prior centuries and a race between ancient antagonists and their offspring, The Sanctuary alternates between the old and modern day to analyze a quest for an age altering elixir of life. It's real, it works, but does it bring happiness? That seems to be the premise that Mr. Khoury tries to answer.
The problem with books of this type is they usually become bloated with several plot lines running simultaneously. Not so with The Sanctuary. Mr. Khoury keeps the past in perspective and keeps the reader engaged with the present. Hard to do but The Sanctuary pulls it off. Also, when dealing with elixirs and immortality the tendency is to pontificate but in The Sanctuary Mr. Khoury allows the story to carry the action. The ending is reasonable and not too far fetched. Mr. Khoury does a good job with a difficult subject and keeps the reader involved.
No gratuitous sex or language. Some violence but necessary for plot development. The wolves scene toward the end is well done.
Recommended. Not quite as good as The Last Templar but a good solid read that tackles a difficult subject. Will make the reader think.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good until the end Sept. 24 2008
By G. Henson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This fantastical thriller is a riveting thriller with some interesting curves thrown in for the first 80 percent of the novel. The last 20 percent, however, is a disappointment. Much of it seems like filler, and the ends that need to be tied up are done so in a hurried and a little too pat manner. It seems strange that he seemed to waste so many pages on unnecessary scenes and then hurried at the very end. Still, it is a cut above much of the other thriller genre.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fast read that bogs down Sept. 1 2007
By Henry Lawrence - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I found the book a fast read, faster and more riveting than The Last Templar. The scenes read like a movie script for a Matt Damon movie. However, the last part of the book became very convoluted as characters switched from good guy to bad guy and bad guy to good guy. Plot twists are fine, but Indiana Jones would never step out of character.
It seemed that Khoury reached a point in his writing where he didn't know how to end the book.
I felt the secret society connection should have been explained more and had a bigger role in the overall plot.
Yes, I enjoyed the book. I was just hoping for a little bit more.
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