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Toyne, Simon - 'The Key'
Hardback: 400 pages (Apr. 2012) Publisher: HarperCollins ISBN: 0007391595

This book, the sequel to SANCTUS, that was listed as number 1 of my "Top Five Books for Eurocrime, 2011", was worth every second of the long months of waiting that were required before its appearance. It is every bit as fabulous as the first in this trilogy and the only problem with it is that it was so good I read it too fast and am now back to waiting again. In the same way as SANCTUS, it focuses on the whereabouts of Liv Adamsen, whose brother ends his life by taking a plunge off the top of the mysterious Citadel, home to both the monks that live within its walls, and the secrets that they keep.

Without giving away too much information from either SANCTUS or THE KEY, Liv is in hospital. She has been rescued from the Citadel but has lost her memory of the events following her brother's death. For various reasons, the monks and the police want to keep her safe but she manages to escape and return to the USA, desperate to get her life back on track and somewhat disturbed by the whispering voices she hears whenever something traumatic happens. Unbeknown to her, Liv now carries The Sacrament from the Citadel deep within herself and she must avoid the hit-man who has been hired to eradicate her at all costs. She must also get in contact with Gabriel - her hero and saviour - who is on the run from the Turkish police and has the information needed to help Liv restore The Sacrament to its rightful place before it is too late. Hunted by persons unknown, and haunted by her dreams, the race is on for Liv to save humankind from itself.

This book and its predecessor have hit a nerve with me and score extremely highly on my "All Time Favourites" list. The plot is original and addictive; the ending provoked strong reactions and the story so well written, in terms of richness of vocabulary and grammar, that I am able to tick all my boxes in that regard as well. Having said that, it isn't at all heavy going and can easily be read in a day or two. Most importantly, THE KEY doesn't read as a typical second book in a trilogy. You do need to have read SANCTUS in order for the story to make sense but THE KEY is way more than a linker between books one and three and has enough tension of its own to keep me happy while I wait for the final part of the trilogy.

Extremely highly recommended.

Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland
April 2012

Amanda blogs at Old Dogs and New Tricks.

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 25/04/2013 20:16