Friday, December 21, 2012

The Sanctuary

Last year I read the book The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker. It was the story of a priest named Danny Hansen, whose upbringing in war-torn Bosnia led him to take the law into his own hands and to bring justice to those who had escaped the judgment that they truly deserved. Along the way, this troubled man met an equally troubled lady named Renee Gilmore. A woman whose life was controlled by drugs and powerful men. These two found each other at the lowest point of their lives and created something beautiful. At the end of the story, Danny took the fall for two murders that Renee committed and was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Danny would do anything to protect his Renee.

Dekker's latest novel, The Sanctuary, is a continuation to this story. Danny has served three years in a typical California high security prison when he learns that he is being transferred. This new jail is supposed to be a state-of-the-art correctional facility, constructed to be more than just a place for society's deviants to mark time. It is a new type of institution designed to rehabilitate and restore.

When Danny arrives he is determined to continue following his non-violence pact. He has sworn off his days of brutality and conflict. Yet the prison warden continues to test Danny, placing him in situations where he is expected to fight to save himself. The more he works to avoid these traps, the more he is subjected to brutal treatment by the prisoners and the prison staff. As this is going on, Renee is being lured to the prison by someone who knows about her past and has threatened to kill her and Danny. To protect Danny, she is lead to an ex-policeman who was responsible for arresting the ring-leader of the prisoners. This man agrees to help Renee mainly to protect himself, but he also seems to truly care about Renee as well. Yet upon arriving at the prison, all of Renee's plans quickly unravel and both she and Danny must deal with two madmen and a corrupted prison system. Some men are who they appear to be, and others are not. A tale that I really enjoyed, even more than the first part of the story.