The Sanctuary

by Ted Dekker

Hardcover, 2012



Call number



Center Street (2012), Edition: First Edition, 416 pages

Original publication date



Serving time for murdering two abusive men, vigilante priest Danny Hansen must escape from prison after the woman he loves receives a threatening note and a box containing a bloody finger.


Original language


Physical description

416 p.; 9.25 inches



User reviews

LibraryThing member StarrReina
The Sanctuary
By Ted Dekker

Admittedly, I’ve not read Ted Dekker before this book. If his other books are even half as good as “The Sanctuary,” I fear I’ve missed some wonderful yarns.

Once a priest in cloth and always a priest in heart, Danny Hansen is now behind bars for a crime he didn’t
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commit. He ‘confessed,’ not to save his soul but to protect Renee Gilmore, his one true love. I say ‘not to save his soul’ because although he may not have committed the murders he was convicted for, he did kill to protect the innocent. He did what he thought was right in the eyes of humanity but illegal in the eyes of the law.

After serving some of his sentence at Ironwood State Prison, a typical prison, Danny is transferred to Basal Institute of Corrections and Rehabilitation, a not-so-typical prison. What people believe to be an institution to mend the broken in order to keep criminals from repeating the same mistakes is anything but, and Danny finds this out in the most horrific way.

The warden, Pape, is out to break Danny and to convince all of his ‘members’ (prisoners) that he is God within the confines of Basal and they will do as he says or they will view the word ‘torture’ as nothing but a mere spanking. It is inhuman suffering Pape puts his members through, not simple torture. And Danny can handle the beatings and the extreme pain…until the warden brings Renee into the mess. Renee is thrown into dangerous situations and manipulated so that she unwittingly ends up making Danny break his vow of nonviolence to once again protect her.

Dekker’s story is incredible. The reader is catapulted headlong from one page to the next with his powerful ability to pen a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat, thrilling novel that will leave you wondering how you missed some of the red herrings that are amidst the well-written text. Amazing and most definitely recommended.
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LibraryThing member WeeziesBooks
This book was much too violent and twisted for my interest. I found it too far from reality to be able to identify with any of the characters, including the priest or the warden. I can only give this book a 2 star rating.
LibraryThing member shadowelf76
I picked this up not realizing that it was part of a series. While it stands alone fairly well, if I had read the first one I might have rated this one higher. But I haven't, and until I do, my 3 star rating will stand.
Usually I love Ted Dekker's books, but I really couldn't get engaged with this
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one, mostly because of the POV switches. Not that they were hard to follow; one chapter of Renee, one of Danny. Easy enough. The scenes in the prison with Danny were awesome, and knowing that another "prison chapter" was next was the only thing that kept me reading, after a point.
Renee, on the other hand, bored me. This is where reading the first book involving these two might have helped. Maybe then I would have some sympathy for her bizarre paranoia. I understood, eventually, why she's like she is, but I still didn't really care. The very first chapter is her POV and the only thing that kept me reading was my strict personal requirement of reading at least 100 pages before I give up on a book. She annoyed me that much. Hope continued to spring eternal with every new chapter that she'd redeem herself, but it never happened. Later, she managed to drift from un-sympathic to just dumb in my opinion. By then I was hooked on the "prison chapters" though, so I kept going. It just seemed that she never stopped and thought about anything logically, and bumbled around like a stupid puppet the whole time. Stupid being the operative word here, considering she really was getting jerked around. But did she have to do it in such a clueless manner?
If it weren't for the obvious research Mr. Dekker did on the prison system in general and the culture therein, I'd give this 2 stars, but again I say, the chapters from Danny's POV in prison were awesome, and the choices he made were very much in line with how his character was drawn. I loved the character of Danny, actually, and the way he handles some of the situations he was placed in.
The ending was decent, I suppose. I enjoyed the last action scene, and the choices Danny made of how to finish it were great. I was pretty sure on who responsible by half way through, although why wasn't at all clear, (the first book might have helped here too). Beyond that all I can say about the ending is that I strongly dislike absolutes with exceptions.
All in all, it was a good story, if it hadn't been for Renee.
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LibraryThing member Deankut

Love Dekkar, but this one was just okay. Well written, as usual, but lacked an 'a-ha' moment that I always so desperately crave and strive for in my work.
LibraryThing member Carol420
The book was entertaining but not as good as The Priest's Graveyard. Even though the characters were mostly the same they lacked the personality of before. The scheme was frustrating because you knew that whatever path Danny chose it was going to be wrong. I believe this is often the problem with
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"follow-up" books - they just loose something in the writing.
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LibraryThing member JenniferRobb
Ted Dekker is one of those authors who has layers of meaning in his books--layers that I don't always "get". I found that to be true in this book since I didn't understand the title until late in the book when Dekker reveals it through one of his characters.

I suspect there is another book with
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these characters that occurs before this book, though if so, I haven't read it.

Danny confesses to a crime he didn't commit to protect Renee and is sent to prison. At the beginning of this book, Danny is being transferred from that prison to a new experimental prison called Basal. At the same time, Renee gets a call threatening Danny's life as well as a package delivered by a woman who implicates a fellow prisoner. This starts Renee down a path where she ends up partnering with Keith Hammond, a former law officer, to try to save Danny.

The puppeteer, whom Renee nicknames Sicko, sends Renee through a series of tasks that culminate with her getting into the prison in the guise of an inspector where all is revealed.

There is a lot of violence and torture in this book.
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