Birmingham novelist Gin Phillips’ latest book is a page-turning thriller

Birmingham Alabama
Alabama native Gin Phillips – Photo courtesy of Penguin /Random House

Fierce Kingdom, the latest suspense novel from Alabama native and Birmingham-Southern College alumna, Gin Phillips has received rave reviews in the literary world and was recently featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon.

A page-turning thriller, Fierce Kingdom was released nationally in July and will be published in 29 countries. In addition, the film rights have also been optioned by Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment.

Available at local Books-A-Million stores and online, Fierce Kingdom is an electrifying story of a mother trapped in a zoo with her son after gunshots ring out, forcing those left behind to hide for safety.

Birmingham Alabama

Publisher Penguin/Random House offers a closer look into this literary thriller.

“The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son, Lincoln, soak up the last few minutes of the day. It is something close to perfect. So when Joan hears a noise crack through the air, she assumes it’s construction work or practice fireworks for a Halloween celebration. But as Joan rushes to the zoo exit to make it through the gate before closing time, she freezes at the sight of a figure with a gun. She grabs her son and runs. 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. As the police finally breach the walls of the zoo, Joan has a choice to make. She knows she would die for her child. Would she die for someone else’s?”

Fierce Kingdom transforms the minutiae and routines of motherhood into tools for survival to create a nail-biting page-turner leaving readers asking: “What would I do?”

Library Journal explains, “Phillips skillfully captures the terror of the situation but also the beautiful minutiae of our everyday lives. This literary thriller encompasses three terrifying hours in the lives of some zoo visitors and the gunmen hunting them, movingly conveying much of the action through the viewpoint of a mother and her young son. This would be an excellent book club pick.”

Highly acclaimed, Phillips’s first novel, The Well and the Mine, was awarded the 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Award. Her second novel, Come in and Cover Me, was published in 2012. She published two novels for children, including: The Hidden Summer in 2013 and A Little Bit of Spectacular in 2015.

Sponsored by:


Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

Articles: 2087