*** WARNING: THIS REVIEW IS CONSIDERED PG-13 ***
The Sanctuary is the gripping story of vigilante priest Danny Hansen, who is now serving a fifty-year prison term in California for the murder of two abusive men. Filled with remorse, Danny is determined to live out his days by a code of nonviolence and maneuvers deftly within a deadly prison system.
But when Renee Gilmore, the woman he loves, receives a box containing a bloody finger and draconian demands from a mysterious enemy on the outside, Danny must find a way to protect Renee while at the same time Renee enacts a plan to free Danny from incarceration.
They are both drawn into a terrifying game of life and death. If Renee fails, the priest will die; if Danny fails, Renee will die. And the body count will not stop at two.
The Sanctuary follows the story of Danny Hansen, priest-turned-vigilante-turned-Christian, and the woman he loves, Renee Gilmore.
Danny has taken a vow of nonviolence and turned himself in for the murders of to abusive people. While in prison, he is faced with the questions: "How far am I willing to go to protect the one I love? How far am I willing to go to defend the innocent?" The Sanctuary is a tale that centers around grace, mercy, love, and "situational" ethics. Danny doesn't want to compromise his beliefs in order to conform to Warden Pape's twisted take on the grace of God.
Renee loves Danny. When she receives a threat on his life, of course she would stop at nothing to warn him.
There are points in this book where characters do things that they normally wouldn't do, all in order to help the one they love.
A recurring theme in The Sanctuary is that of rape. Danny's first victim was a pedophile, who, with the help of his father a judge, escaped and killed someone he had raped whose testimony sent him to jail. This was what caused Danny to become a vigilante. In prison, rapists are referred to. And it is implied that one prisoner has raped another.
When Danny is first transferred to Basal Facility, Pape's "Sanctuary", Warden Pape gives him a list of things you are not allowed to do. Among these things was masturbation, pornography, and any form of homosexuality.
Language: Scr**ed, b*st*rd, b*lls, cr*p
Sexy Stuff: References to rape; the term "b*lls" is used a couple of times; Danny is stripped completely naked and Renee is stripped to her underwear, though neither are sexually assaulted; Danny cuts the pedophile's penis off in an act of vigilantism;
Violence: Danny and Renee both remember several of Danny's acts of vigilantism; Renee shoots a crooked judge's toes off; Danny shoots guards in an attempt to rescue Renee; a boy's finger is severed;
Scary Images: Other than action sequences, or sequences of violence, there are no scary images.
At times, the message of love that Ted Dekker is trying to get across can seem a bit shady, though at the end it becomes much clearer. There were frequent points in this book that made me uncomfortable reading, which included the references to sexual violation.
All in all, I did enjoy The Sanctuary by Ted Dekker, however I enjoyed it less than I did some of his other works.
I would not recommend this book to anyone younger than 16 years of age.
4 of 5 stars!