“The Sanctuary” by Ted Dekker (The Suspense Zone Tour)

Punishment and Rehabilitation Becomes Torture When Based on a Warped Set of Human Techniques and Power

The Sanctuary is the thrilling story of Danny Hansen, a priest-turned-vigilante. Danny took the law into his own hands and murdered two abusive men, so he’s now serving a 50 year sentence in a California prison.

Coming to the realization of what he’s done, Danny is filled with remorse and promises himself that he will never seek vengeance in that way again. He decides with determined resolution that he’ll live the rest of his life in a non-violent way, despite having to survive in a prison system where he can’t let his guard down for one moment.

This is going well until Renee – the woman he loves and who he killed for – receives a bloody finger in a box. The finger comes with some harsh demands from an unknown enemy, so Danny decides he needs to escape from prison.

Renee and Danny are drawn into a cat and mouse game that endangers their lives. If Renee doesn’t succeed, Danny will die. If Danny doesn’t succeed, Renee will die. And it won’t only be two people that are set to be killed.

The Sanctuary by Ted Dekker explores how far punishment and rehabilitation can be pushed, both in a corrections system that is flawed, as well as the human heart.

Pre-order Ted Dekker’s The Sanctuary today, so that you can be one of the first to read this exciting new novel by the king of thrillers when it’s released on October 30, 2012.

The Sanctuary – Hardcover

The Sanctuary – ebook (Kindle)

The Sanctuary – Audio Book

Ted Dekker is an author of more than twenty novels. He is best known for stories which could be broadly described as suspense thrillers with major twists and unforgettable characters, though he has also made a name for himself among fantasy fans.

Born to missionaries who lived among the head hunter tribes of Indonesia, his parents’ work often included extended periods of time away from their children.  Dekker describes his early life in a culture to which he was a stranger as both fascinating and lonely. It is this unique upbringing that forced him to rely on his own imagination to create a world in which he belonged.

Dekker graduated from a multi-cultural high school and took up permanent residence in the United States to study Philosophy and Religion. Upon earning his Bachelor’s Degree, he entered the corporate world. But his personal drive left him restless and, after many successful years, he traded corporate life for wide range of entrepreneurial pursuits.

In the early nineties, he decided to pursue a long-held desire to be a novelist. Over the course of two years he wrote two full length novels before starting from scratch and rewriting both. Now fully enamored by the process and the stories, he realized that storytelling was in his blood and a new obsession to explore truth through story gripped him anew.

He sold his business, moved his family to the mountains of Western Colorado and began writing full-time on his third novel. Two years and three novels later his first novel was published.

Dekker resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Lee Ann and two of their daughters.

My Review:

Warning:  Torture and Mutilation

Danny Hanson’s childhood and adolescent years were lived out in the midst of war, rape and murder, some of which was deeply personal.  When he finished his war tour, he became a Catholic priest.  He’s wasn’t just an ordinary priest–but a vigilante-priest who allegedly murdered two abusive men.  Filled with remorse, he leaves the priesthood and lives out his life under a self-imposed code of non-violence.  Is remorse enough?  What about repentance?  To Whom does vengeance belong to?

Renee Gilmore had her own criminal background, which included two murders.  Prior to these murders, Danny had left the priesthood and ‘technically’ married her.  Though there was no forensic evidence of her involvement in those murders, Danny gave a statement of his culpability and was sentenced to fifty years in prison, as he knew she’d never survive prison life should they find her guilty.  Transferred from Ironwood State Prison to the Basal Institute of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Danny begins his life of torture.

Dekker’s book is written in his organized, analytical, well-planned-out format, with characters fleshed out as in true life, most of whom you would probably not want to meet.  If one has watched ‘Shawshank Redemption,’ you will have a basic idea of the despicable level of defilement man can reach in Dekker’s book, The Sanctuary.  With a distinct set of flawed human techniques of punishment and rehabilitation, you will find yourself horrified at the scenarios that take place in this ‘Rehab’ Institute.  Knowing prisons are hard and degrading, you will find Basal to be the worst of the worst.  Yet Danny kept his self-imposed code of non-violence in this prison, though he is tested to break his own ideal.  Will he keep his own code of non-violence?

The author will shock you with a twisted plot conclusion of why the circumstances are what they are.   I was mostly hooked on one character based on his past circumstances, but I also had a hunch on another, but wasn’t even close to the actual reason.  Typical Dekker surprise ending!

I can’t say I’d recommend the book, as I didn’t find much, if any, form of redemptive value to the story.  That to me is the crux of a Christian novel.  You will find that man, without God, becomes more of an animal than true animals–depraved, without the influence of the Holy Spirit.  And the torture and mutilation proved that aspect.  I also found the ending to be less than ideal.  Though Dekker does enumerate the numbers of people in prisons of their own making, the solution of breaking down those walls wasn’t clear.

This book was provided by Susan Sleeman of The Suspense Zone in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was exchanged.

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