What qualifies a book as a good book? When you stay up the whole night to finish it, despite knowing you have to get up early morning for work. And then when you get up in the morning with a book hangover you admonish yourself “Why did I have to stay up the whole night? I could have finished it tomorrow.” But when a good story has ensnared you, it’s hard to escape its clutches. When you come across such a book, treasure it, enjoy it to the fullest. That’s what I did with my last book. I can’t remember the last time a book that entertained me so well. It left me thrilled and wanting for more.
I have been wanting to read The Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell, ever since it came out in January. Due to some unknown reason it wasn’t released in UAE until July. I had to resort to ordering it from an online bookstore Jamalon, which also happens to have the largest collection of books in the Middle East. I finally received it from them around the same time it got released here. But, it was totally worth the wait. James Rollins happens to be one of my favorite authors in the history-cum-adventure fiction genre. I have read all of his books and am waiting for his latest The Eye of God to hit the stands here.
When I got this book I thought, The Blood Gospel, hmmm has to be about some secret gospel from the time of Christ, telling us about some super secret that is going to affect the Church (a dozen books have been written along the same line after The Da Vinci Code). What I never thought it would be about….VAMPIRES! The “blood” should have tipped me off but in my wildest of imaginations I could not have thought vampires and that too from the time of Christ.
The story starts of with one of our main characters Dr. Erin Granger, an archaeologist on a dig in Israel, called out by the military to investigate a mysterious event in Masada. She is joined there by the other two main characters, Sergeant Jordan Stone and Priest Rhun Korza. A tomb has been unearthed in the mountain after an earthquake strikes, releasing a deadly gas and killing many tourists in the area. An archaeologist and an army man’s presence makes sense but what is a priest of the Church doing there? It has something to do with the identity of the person entombed there as well as a secret manuscript supposedly hidden there, which holds information that could possibly destroy the world (don’t all secret manuscripts hold such secrets).
However, Rhun is not the only one in search of the book. Also in search of the gospel is a gang of villians-cum-vampires, headed by a human, Bathory, who has an undescribable control over the vampires such that they don’t attack her. She is a member of a covert group Belial, which is a union of humans and vampires to discover this secret gospel. Their head is someone I guessed before the book ended, but it still came as a surprise.
The gospel is not found in the mountain and the church requests Granger and Stone to assist Korza with the quest. This takes them on a world tour, following clues to its true location. Granger is the smart, beautiful, brains behind the operation part of the trio, Stone is the self proclaimed muscle and Korza is the mysterious, brooding member of the trio. That’s not all he is. He has supernatural abilities; he is super fast, mean with a knife and also is a….VAMPIRE! Well not a vampire, but a ‘strigoi’ as the book calls them. The have existed since the time of Christ and have been corrupting and creating many others like them. However, there are a few who have joined the Church and taken a vow never to drink blood again. They sustain themselves by drinking Christ’s blood, that is holy blessed wine. They are the Order of the Sanguines and they have been fighting the bad guys since eons. I imagined Korza to be like Wesley Snipes of Blade, but wearing a robe and a collar round his neck. Lol
James Rollins brings his style of adventure, thrills, a little bit of history inspired quest and a lot of bad guys on the trail. I love reading his books and his style of writing is fun, easy and super entertaining. I haven’t read anything by Rebecca Cantrell, but I am going to check out her books after this. I think the characterisation of Korza as an anguished priest, penitent of his troubled past, the dark, gothic nature of his Order is the influence of Rebecca Cantrell. I know I haven’t read anything like this in any of Rollins’ novels. The sad part is that I will have to wait until next year for the second part of the series to come out. I can’t wait to read the rest.
Is it a Hit? No need to ask a James Rollins fan, it surely is. As for the rest, it’s a good, thrill read, especially if you’re into the whole vampire scene. I am not a Twilight/Vampire Diaries fan, but mix in some history, origin and examples of vampirism from the past and I am sold. On a separate note, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is one of my evergreen favorites about vampires and I totally recommend you guys check it out.
Is it a Miss? If Anne Rice meets Dan Brown is not your type, then give this one a miss. I can’t think up of any cons for this book.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and most definitely recommend you all to give this one a try.