Sanctuary Paperback – May 1 2008
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"nail-biting suspense and colourful characters" WATERSTONES BOOKS QUARTERLY "This high-octane thriller will grip you from the start" SOUTH WALES ARGUS "the pace never relents" GOOD BOOK GUIDE --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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.