Sunday, September 18, 2011


Simon Toyne has worked in British television for twenty years. As a writer, director, and producer, he has worked on several award-winning shows, one of which won a BAFTA. He lives in England with his wife and family.

Toyne applied the Page 69 Test to Sanctus, the first volume of the Ruin trilogy, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Sanctus is a rare quiet moment where two of the main characters are reflecting on the single most dramatic event at the start of the book and trying to decide what the significance of it is. It’s a phone conversation so it’s almost all dialogue, with just impressionistic descriptive notes here and there to dictate the rhythm a little. In effect it’s a slight pause, giving the reader a small breather and a change of pace after what has happened and what is to come. On every page my main intention is to make the reader want to read the next one, so if this one doesn’t do that, then I’ve failed.
“Did you hear?” She didn’t quite know how to frame the question. “Did you hear that he ... that the monk...”

“Yes,” he said. “I heard.”

She swallowed hard, trying to hold back the emotion.

“Don’t despair,” her father said. “We should not give up hope.”

“But how can we not?” She glanced up at the door and lowered her voice. “The prophecy can no longer be fulfilled. How can the cross rise again?”

The crackle of the transatlantic line filled the long pause before her father spoke again.

“People have come back from the dead,” he said. “Look in the Bible.”

“The Bible is full of lies. You taught me that.”

“No, that I did not teach you. I told you of specific and deliberate inaccuracies. There is still much in the official Bible that is true.” The line went silent again save for the rising hiss of long-distance interference. She wanted to believe him, she really did; but in her heart she felt that to carry on blindly hoping everything was going to be OK was not much different from closing your eyes and crossing your fingers.

“Do you really believe the cross will rise again?”

“It might,” he said. “It’s hard to believe, I admit. But if you’d told me yesterday that a Sanctus would appear from nowhere, climb to the top of the Citadel and make the sign of the Tau, I would have found that equally hard to believe. Yet here we are.”

She couldn’t fault him. She rarely could. It was why she wished he had been around to talk to when the news had first broken. Maybe then she wouldn’t have thought herself into such a melancholic state. “So what do you think we should do?”

“We should watch the body. That is the key.”
Learn more about the book and author at Simon Toyne's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Sanctus.

Writers Read: Simon Toyne.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue