Fierce Kingdom

  • by Gin Phillips
  • Narrated by Cassandra Campbell
  • 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she'll go to protect him.
The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours - the entire scope of the novel - she keeps on running.
Suddenly, mother and son are as trapped as the animals. Joan's intimate knowledge of this place that filled early motherhood with happy diversions - the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines - is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger.
A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself - from its tender moments of grace to its savage power - Fierce Kingdom asks where the boundary is between our animal instinct to survive and our human duty to protect one another. For whom should a mother risk her life?

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What the Critics Say

"It tore at every maternal fiber in my body. I couldn't put it down." (Fiona Barton, New York Times best-selling author of The Widow)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Fantastic Fast Paced Listen

This book was an intense page turner that grabbed my attention and kept me listening non-stop. The struggles of this diverse set of characters were compellingly conveyed to the listener through Phillips' ability to capture their internal chatter and thoughts. The book spans only about three hours of real time but with the use of flashbacks and memories we learn a great deal about these people. Heart pounding, horrifying and insightful are words that come to mind when I reflect on the story.

More than this, the book tackles many difficult topics by looking at the individual will to survive, motherhood, personal strength and how far our responsibility goes in regard to helping strangers in peril. This is my first book by this author and I am impressed with Phillips' skill at stepping beyond the simple thriller aspect and deftly taking us into the minds of the characters.

Campbell's narration was excellent. She was able to capture the terror and turmoil subtly with her voicing of each character. The reading never became too extreme or over the top which could easily have happened with a less experienced narrator. Campbell is becoming one of my favorite readers.

Be aware that this book delves into gun violence and sociopathic behavior and you most probably will find yourself repelled by much of what happens in the story. At the same time Phillips' will have you thinking and asking yourself repeatedly--what would I do in this situation. Compelling, thought provoking and really scary. This is excellent story telling but in my opinion not for the faint of heart listener as the violence is very intense.
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- Sara

fierce kingdom is fiercely suspenseful

If you could sum up Fierce Kingdom in three words, what would they be?

suspenseful; soul-searching; heartfelt.


What did you like best about this story?

I liked the way that the author showed how good of a mother the main character of this story is, she's patient, loving, protective, and fierce. :-)


Have you listened to any of Cassandra Campbellā€™s other performances before? How does this one compare?

If I have I do not remember, but her performance was very good.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes, definitely.


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- Brenda Bass

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-25-2017
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio