The Key (Sancti Trilogy #2) by Simon Toyne

I read the first book of Simon Toyne’s trilogy, Sanctus,  in 2011 and enjoyed it despite the weakness/genre:

Sanctus is an entertaining and intriguing thriller but, like many, requires you to suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the fast paced action and interesting twists and turns


If you like your thrillers fast paced with a taste for conspiracy theories and religious mythology be sure to check this one out.

I missed the fact that the sequel, The Key, had been released last year.  So when I saw the audio book at the local library I decided to give it a listen.

She is the most important person in the world. She is The Key

Journalist Liv Adamsen has escaped from the highly secretive Citadel at the heart of the ancient city of Ruin and now lies in isolation, staring at hospital walls as blank as her memory. Despite her inability to recall her past, something strange is stirring within her. She feels possessed by a sen-sation she can’t name and plagued by whispers only she can hear: “KuShiKaam,” the key.

To others the meaning is clear. For a mercenary operating in the Syrian Desert, a man known only as “the Ghost,” Liv may hold the key to one of history’s most powerful secrets. For the brotherhood of monks in the Citadel—now cursed by a terrible plague—her return to Turkey may be the only way to ensure their survival. And for a powerful faction in Vatican City, her very existence threatens the success of a desperate plan to save the church from ruin.

I listened to this in the car for the last few weeks and I have to say I enjoyed it more than I remember liking the first book. The audio book seemed to bring out the suspense and drama and made for some entertaining time in the car stuck in traffic

The early action is focused on setting up the characters and the roles they will play.  It is a race between The Citadel’s desire to regain the Sancti and return things to the way they were and Liv and Gabriel’s quest to unpack the mystery and fullfil a new prophecy. And of course, save Liv.

But now there is a new wrinkle: the Vatican is involved in a plot to prevent the unraveling of its finances and the repercussions that would bring. In addition, there seems to be someone in the heart of the Ruin police department that wants Gabriel and Liv dead.

There are some at The Citadel who seek to move beyond the old ways but powerful forces are nonetheless arrayed against Liv and Gabriel.  And even if they can unlock the keys to the mystery and the mirror prophecy, living long enough to complete the task seems nearly impossible.

As noted above, for some reason the audio version made the suspense and conspiracy more entertaining and more engaging. Hearing it out loud, with the excellent voice of Simon Vance, somehow brought it to life in different way from reading it. I actually looked forward to being in the care for extended periods and listening to it.  The drama seemed more real, and less corny, in this format.

To be fair, the underlying plot is still made up of rather silly conspiracy theory type stuff where the Catholic Church schemes to deceive the planet rather than allow access to the true history of the Garden of Eden and other stories from the bible. But this is, for me, just  another aspect of suspending your disbelief. After all, much of the history is fictitious.  It makes for great entertainment but not good history or theology.

If you liked Sanctus, it is likely you have already picked up The Key. But If you like your thrillers fast paced with a taste for conspiracy theories and religious mythology be sure to check this series. And if you haven’t tried audiobooks, give it a try. It is a great way to get some “reading” in when you can’t actually be reading.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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