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3.8 out of 5 stars33
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 13 July 2012
This is a very difficult book to categorise other than to say that it fits very well into the category of 'a good read'. It is an exciting, alarming, frightening, quirky, witty and touching story, all at the same time. The title and the cover art indicate the nastiness contained inside though not the wit and humour which keep a potentially bleak story from becoming overpowering.

Most of the action takes place in the Laurentian region of Quebec in Winter. There is a lot of action going on however in the mind of the main protagonist, Nile Nightingale who has sought sanctuary there from the garden state of New Jersey, where troubles had overtaken his already troubled life and mind. Nile's mental issues were triggered or exacerbated by past drug and drink abuse and addiction. Revealing what is going on in his head is a key element of the charm of this book. When he gets asked a question we usually see what he thinks in answer to the question before seeing the 'correct' answer he actually comes out with. He has a quirky mind and this insight into it is very enjoyable. At the start of the novel he saves his protagonist, Celeste, from a slow death. She is a 13,14 or 15 year old orphan brainiac girl recently escaped from an unloving foster home.

'Sanctuary' is definitely the wrong word to describe this outback region of Quebec, red in tooth and claw with bloodthirsty hunters of anything on four legs or two wings. The description of their cruel activities is gruesome. This could have been a preachy book as it rails against the hunters, but the way in which it is written saved it from that.

Together Nile and Celeste are under siege and as they plot the defeat of the worst of the hunting fraternity, the story builds to its epic climax. As I said before, a good read.
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on 4 July 2012
The setting and main characters of this novel are very unique, but
as all the details were cleverly woven, we the readers just feel
as if the characters actually existed.

The conversation between Celeste and Nile during the Christmas holiday
was first humorously awkward and then getting poignant as Celeste
confided her emotional problems.

As I read on, I liked them more and more, so I got excited with
the adventure in the end.
Since quite a lot of events of this story happened inside of the room or
narrated by characters rather than acted, the last adventure plotted by
Celeste was somehow refreshing.
And the ending... what a surprise!

As I'm Japanese (English is my second language),
when I think about an elaborately structured novel,
I always remember MISHIMA Yukio's novels, which are like a magnificent
historical temple.
This novel was, if I'm allowed to compare, like an elaborately
structured ice sculpture, which is poignantly delicate and clear.
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on 28 January 2013
Wow wow wow and double wow. This is a serious book - it's brutal, sad and doesn't pull any punches. It's also, in my opinion, incredibly important. It's all about conservation of all that isn't human and shines a light on the dark side of humanity and how terribly awful we can be. And it's heart stoppingly beautifully written. A MUST READ.
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on 3 February 2013
The abiding message in this book is one of conservation, but its an amazing story built on the awful history of man's wholesale exploitation of wild animals.

Not for the faint hearted, it describes in vivid detail how animals were and still are trapped and tortured for the huge sums of money to be made around the world.

Having said that, the book draws you in as it begins with two central characters who are violently brought together one night in a swamp in Canada.

Nile Nightingale, a washed up alcoholic who has fled from a failed marriage and an overbearing millionaire father escapes to Alaska where he seems to have jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

He hears a sack being dumped in a swamp on a wet rainy night as he is exploring an old church. In the sack he discovers a half dead young girl with awful injuries who turns out to be highly intelligent Celeste who has also escaped from a home.

They are thrown together as the book slowly unfolds their traumatic histories, and it dawns on Nile just what he has got himself into. He is amazed at the tenacity of this half dead young girl who has taken on the might of the local gang who have a vested interest in carrying on their awful trade in captured wildlife.

Its a gripping story and despite the harrowing subject matter, keeps you turning the pages..
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on 20 August 2014
A deal of the day.....which is why I bought it. Not my usual choice of books and it is fair to say when I started it I wasn't too keen. But I persevered and began to enjoy it more and more. A dark story of two persons with problems in their past set in an unusual location in a hick town in forest and swampland French Canada. The whole novel has a dark and threatening atmosphere.....and the bad guys are pretty do the things they do to animals which is an education in itself about the cruelty of man. I enjoyed the interaction and dialogue between the two main characters....and the way their relationship developed. Also....between the threads of this disturbing occasional flash of humour. A different tale and well written. Worth a read.
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on 6 February 2013
This book started in the oddest way - I'm not going to tell you the storym any hints would completely waste it, but for quite a ways I was left wondering, who is this where is this going? It slowly unraveled a bit at a time like looking through a series of pin holes until eventually you had enough to see the whole picture. As a mystery lover I was drawn in, loathe to put it down till I knew a bit more.

I get a bit fed up of Authors who have to write a book a year whether they have a good plot or not but Moore obviously waited till he had a good plot. When I was finished I looked for more from this brilliant story teller - there aren't many.

For those who like a tidy ending - watch out! My only lost star but it made a cracking story.
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on 11 September 2010
This is a brilliant novel. You are immediately drawn into it and there
isn't a dull moment. You learn some horrific stuff about animal abuse
along the way while getting completely caught up in the characters and
the relationship between Nile and Celeste. And after many unexpected
twists the ending is mind-blowingly good.
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on 12 February 2013
I enjoyed this story and can recommend it. The title tells you what it's about, and the author clearly knows his stuff, revealing many fascinating facts about the region at the centre of the book but they are woven into the plot in such a way that the reader learns them almost without realising it. Too much praise would be misleading. This is not a 'must read' but it's a good story and I enjoyed it.
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on 18 November 2013
This is a splendid novel, dealing with issues I'd not considered deeply with some dark scenes and a general lingering sense of unease despite the beautiful gentle relationship that builds that stays after the book is finished. Moore seems a very accomplished author and I shall be seeking out more of his unusual work.
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on 31 December 2013
I had to skip over the detail of animal cruelty but still got the feelings it intended to create. The characters were unique and unusual but I really built a relationship with them quickly.
The ending was unexpected, a little fast paced and brought up a few tears.
A good story, worth the read.
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