Sancti Trilogy by Simon Toyne

Deep in Turkey in the city of Ruin lies The Citadel built into the side of the mountain with tunnels and libraries carved out of its very rock.  The Citadel is no ordinary monastery it houses a secret which the highest order of monks are sworn to protect, no one must know what lies deep within it’s walls.

Toyne draws us straight into this secretive world where conspiracy theories abound in the opening book of this trilogy, Sanctus.  No one has ever left The Citadel and lived to tell of its secret, indeed it has been decades since anyone even managed to escape, but there are those in the world beyond The Citadel’s wall who know more than most.  When a Sanctus (a high-ranking monk who wears a green habit to identify them) turns the worlds eyes on The Citadel a course of events which some have been waiting for and others are drawn into unfolds.  The secret will not be a secret for much longer and when it is revealed you will be surprised!

The Trilogy continues with The Key and unfortunately like most second books in a trilogy it doesn’t reach the highs of the first one.  Who survived?  Are the green robed Sanctus still keepers of the Sacrament and its rituals?  Will life now go back to normal or will normal be re-written? The search is on for the Garden of Eden and just what is the Vatican’s interest in some ancient stone tablets?  The conclusion is unsatisfactory and feels terribly rushed and manufactured despite this part being longer than the first.  There is also a feeling of a draft rather than a complete book about it, now all the loose ends might be resolved in the final part (it is a trilogy after all and I am writing this having not begun the final part), but for now I feel that Toyne has succumbed to the second album syndrome – rushing to get something out to surf on the popularity of the first without doing the finishing touches that made the first such a hit.  That being said I will be certainly reading the final part to find out just what happens now.

However the final part of Toyne’s trilogy sent me checking to see if I had the right book.  What had the Hubble telescope, a missing scientist and a trainee FBI agent got to do with, monks, the Citidal and Liv?  The Tower, the final book introduces new characters as you read how Liv’s adventure is impacting on the whole world.  I found this book the most fanciful in many ways it is also probably the most anti church of the trilogy, it certainly has the tired old premise as extremists represent the whole Church to the fore.  The story is mostly about the trainee FBI agent who had hidden two years of his life from the FBI and especially from his reluctant partner.  Of course Liv is still there and the question of whether the Citadel will survive is ever present.  Nevertheless it was still a good read nicely rounding off the trilogy and unlike The Key it leaves no loose ends while underlining, for me at least, that utopia is harder to hold on to than it is to attain.

I have tried not to include any spoilers in this post I apologies if something I have unwittingly said has had that effect.


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