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An earthquake in Masada, Israel, kills hundreds and reveals a tomb buried in the heart of the mountain. A trio of investigators—Sergeant Jordan Stone, a military forensic expert; Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist—are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body o An earthquake in Masada, Israel, kills hundreds and reveals a tomb buried in the heart of the mountain. A trio of investigators—Sergeant Jordan Stone, a military forensic expert; Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist—are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body of a mummified girl. But a brutal attack at the site sets the three on the run, thrusting them into a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb’s sarcophagus: a book rumored to have been written by Christ’s own hand, a tome that is said to hold the secrets to His divinity. But the enemy who hounds them is like no other, a force of ancient evil directed by a leader of impossible ambitions and incalculable cunning. From crumbling tombs to splendorous churches, Erin and her two companions must confront a past that traces back thousands of years, to a time when ungodly beasts hunted the dark spaces of the world, to a moment in history when Christ made a miraculous offer, a pact of salvation for those who were damned for eternity. Here is a novel that is explosive in its revelation of a secret history. Why do Catholic priests wear pectoral crosses? Why are they sworn to celibacy? Why do the monks hide their countenances under hoods? And why does Catholicism insist that the consecration of wine during Mass results in its transformation to Christ’s own blood? The answers to all go back to a secret sect within the Vatican, one whispered as rumor but whose very existence was painted for all to see by Rembrandt himself, a shadowy order known simply as the Sanguines. In the end, be warned: some books should never be found, never opened—until now.


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An earthquake in Masada, Israel, kills hundreds and reveals a tomb buried in the heart of the mountain. A trio of investigators—Sergeant Jordan Stone, a military forensic expert; Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist—are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body o An earthquake in Masada, Israel, kills hundreds and reveals a tomb buried in the heart of the mountain. A trio of investigators—Sergeant Jordan Stone, a military forensic expert; Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist—are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body of a mummified girl. But a brutal attack at the site sets the three on the run, thrusting them into a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb’s sarcophagus: a book rumored to have been written by Christ’s own hand, a tome that is said to hold the secrets to His divinity. But the enemy who hounds them is like no other, a force of ancient evil directed by a leader of impossible ambitions and incalculable cunning. From crumbling tombs to splendorous churches, Erin and her two companions must confront a past that traces back thousands of years, to a time when ungodly beasts hunted the dark spaces of the world, to a moment in history when Christ made a miraculous offer, a pact of salvation for those who were damned for eternity. Here is a novel that is explosive in its revelation of a secret history. Why do Catholic priests wear pectoral crosses? Why are they sworn to celibacy? Why do the monks hide their countenances under hoods? And why does Catholicism insist that the consecration of wine during Mass results in its transformation to Christ’s own blood? The answers to all go back to a secret sect within the Vatican, one whispered as rumor but whose very existence was painted for all to see by Rembrandt himself, a shadowy order known simply as the Sanguines. In the end, be warned: some books should never be found, never opened—until now.

30 review for The Blood Gospel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shane O'Neill

    This is a book I had wanted to read for so long. Every ingredient in the synopsis whetted my taste buds - it is so my kind of book. Unfortunately, I spend the majority of my time in Norway and ordered it at my UK address. Okay, I accept I do stupid things on occasion. My embarrassment was compounded when one of the authors asked me if I had read it after I had told him/her (I won't say which one) that I couldn't wait. It was well worth waiting for anyway. I could read this book a dozen times. I w This is a book I had wanted to read for so long. Every ingredient in the synopsis whetted my taste buds - it is so my kind of book. Unfortunately, I spend the majority of my time in Norway and ordered it at my UK address. Okay, I accept I do stupid things on occasion. My embarrassment was compounded when one of the authors asked me if I had read it after I had told him/her (I won't say which one) that I couldn't wait. It was well worth waiting for anyway. I could read this book a dozen times. I won't bore any of you by repeating half of the synopsis as it's up there in black and white for your perusal. What I will do, is say what I loved about it. I have always loved Rollins' style and the kind of book he writes. To me, he is akin to Dan Brown, but with a keener edge. Where Brown takes a breather with lengthy descriptions of historical locations (which is okay for a history buff such as myself) Rollins just ploughs on with the story and never relents with his pace. Of course, this is a collaboration with Ms Cantrell and together I feel they are a formidable partnership. A cocktail of ancient mysteries, cults, vampires of both persuasions, secret societies, the Nazis, a host of historical greats, and the Catholic Church. What more could a reader want? I liked also the use of three main protagonists as opposed to the usual ritual of hero plus one(usually female). All three have their intricacies and complexities that keep them interesting, as well as their individual interactions with each other that bring us to identify with and care for them. I loved too the introduction of many great historical figures going back two thousand years. I don't give spoilers so you will have to read the story for yourselves, but they each add real substance to the book, leading up to the final excellent twist at the end. Blood Gospel is an action-packed, fast-paced, thrilling read that I would recommend to anyone. I'm going straight to Amazon now to order Innocent Blood. I know it will be money well spent. Five glowing stars from me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cherei

    WOW!! James Rollins really stepped outside of his comfort zone with 'Blood Gospel'! I didn't get caught up in the wave of 'Twilight' readers or movies. So, haven't really read many "vampire" books. Though.. one does NOT walk away thinking vampires when finished with 'Blood Gospel'!! I really like the terminology he introduced in the story. It separates out Rollins works.. into a genre of it's own! I truly TRULY enjoyed the read! Now, the HISTORY!! That's where he get me every time! From the siege WOW!! James Rollins really stepped outside of his comfort zone with 'Blood Gospel'! I didn't get caught up in the wave of 'Twilight' readers or movies. So, haven't really read many "vampire" books. Though.. one does NOT walk away thinking vampires when finished with 'Blood Gospel'!! I really like the terminology he introduced in the story. It separates out Rollins works.. into a genre of it's own! I truly TRULY enjoyed the read! Now, the HISTORY!! That's where he get me every time! From the siege at Masada to modern day Rome! I'm sorry I'm not very eloquent with words.. but.. in my own way.. I'm trying to tap out.. I LOVED THIS BOOK! WOW! I was lucky enough to get an advance copy to read! If you've not put this one on your wishlist.. do so now!! It's the MUST read novel for 2013!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Spinster

    I love archaeology, relics, religious conspiracies and vampires so I was hoping for a good ride, but The Blood Gospel just didn't work for me. I felt like it was riding the success of a bunch of bestsellers without adding anything original or even that interesting to the mix. The book was clearly trying to create a sinister atmosphere with the constant underground tunnels and caverns and torches, and scary beasts like wolves and bats and bears. Oh come on! Why can't there be a bad bunny for a cha I love archaeology, relics, religious conspiracies and vampires so I was hoping for a good ride, but The Blood Gospel just didn't work for me. I felt like it was riding the success of a bunch of bestsellers without adding anything original or even that interesting to the mix. The book was clearly trying to create a sinister atmosphere with the constant underground tunnels and caverns and torches, and scary beasts like wolves and bats and bears. Oh come on! Why can't there be a bad bunny for a change, instead of feeding people's fears of already misunderstood species? In the end the atmosphere felt more pompous than anything else. I think it was the action, guns and big booms that took the focus from the story itself, leaving me yawning. Some action is good, even preferred in these types of books, but enough is enough. One of the few things I liked about this book was Grigori's character. He was the only one who intrigued me as a character, not a stereotype of a good or a bad guy like the rest of them. The funniest thing about the characters was that the only two really good guys in a bigger role were American. What a shocker! As a European I could feel a little offended that the book insinuates there's something wrong with all of us "foreigners", but it's just too funny. Like the German archaeology student who gets upset when the Bible isn't referred to as an academic book. I mean, really? That was a hard one to imagine. I like religion as a theme in fiction, but mainly only when the subject is approached from a more scientific point of view - what it means for different people, what in the holy books is actual fact and what is metaphor and so on. In The Blood Gospel the religion was pretty much shoved in your face in the form of a lecture and apparently Catholicism is the way to go if you wish to go to heaven. Also, enough with the Bible quotes and prayers already. It's like when I read a sci-fi book, you can and should explain the laws of physics or whatever that are relevant, but don't fill the book with endless formulas or geek talk because I just don't care. On the whole I think the book was unnecessarily prolonged, glorying in violence, blood and gore, there was far too much destruction (my heart bled for the priceless historical buildings and artefacts that got wiped away), it had really lame punchlines and the romance part was ridiculous. Ending a book in a cliffhanger should be illegal, although I'm probably not going to read the next installment. Still, I'm giving it 2 stars because of Grigori, OK pacing and the few pieces of historical trivia I got out of it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jaidee

    4 "holy tamale" stars !! (3.5 stars really for the writing and a bonus half-star because the story was so damn exciting and horrific) Wow this was soooooooooooooo damn good. Not literature but a mass market paperback that made me tremble with excitement and frightened me a number of times so that I did not want to go to sleep without my bedside lamp on low. A sexy vampire priest, a pretty and smart female archaeologist and a macho (but somewhat annoying) American army sergeant hunt for a gospel wr 4 "holy tamale" stars !! (3.5 stars really for the writing and a bonus half-star because the story was so damn exciting and horrific) Wow this was soooooooooooooo damn good. Not literature but a mass market paperback that made me tremble with excitement and frightened me a number of times so that I did not want to go to sleep without my bedside lamp on low. A sexy vampire priest, a pretty and smart female archaeologist and a macho (but somewhat annoying) American army sergeant hunt for a gospel written by Jesus himself. There are so many tight and fascinating twists and turns. A fascinating mix of science, history, religion and the supernatural. Way to go Mr. Rollins and Ms. Cantrell. You have created a story that I am soooo excited to see to its apocalyptic climax!!! I am so looking forward to book 2.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    The Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell Published 2013, William Morrow Stars: ★★★★★ Review also posted at: Slapdash & Sundry Doesn't matter how many times I read this book (this reread makes #3), I am consistently impressed with Rollins and Cantrell's ability to tie supernatural elements seamlessly into historical events, blending and merging the two to create a fantastic story of good versus evil, betrayal and redemption, and Rollins' typical "save the world" scenario. Couple that w The Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell Published 2013, William Morrow Stars: ★★★★★ Review also posted at: Slapdash & Sundry Doesn't matter how many times I read this book (this reread makes #3), I am consistently impressed with Rollins and Cantrell's ability to tie supernatural elements seamlessly into historical events, blending and merging the two to create a fantastic story of good versus evil, betrayal and redemption, and Rollins' typical "save the world" scenario. Couple that with some amazingly written and developed characters, and you've got yourself one hell of a fun romp! Now, on to a reread of book two before I tackle the final installment!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I am not rating this book as I didn't finish it...a lot. I didn't get that far into it and I've had people get upset when I rated books I'd not finished and had what I thought were valid reasons for giving a rating. I won't comment here on the writing or the story telling. Maybe the characters are some of the best ever to grace the pages of literature. I don't know. I couldn't get passed the vileness of the book itself. Look, if you aren't offended by the book I'm not criticizing you or judging y I am not rating this book as I didn't finish it...a lot. I didn't get that far into it and I've had people get upset when I rated books I'd not finished and had what I thought were valid reasons for giving a rating. I won't comment here on the writing or the story telling. Maybe the characters are some of the best ever to grace the pages of literature. I don't know. I couldn't get passed the vileness of the book itself. Look, if you aren't offended by the book I'm not criticizing you or judging you. Though I do want to give a heads up to Christian readers who may be offended. I see a couple of friends here on GR who are Christians and they read the book without my reaction so I leave it to you. We open the book insulting both the Christian and Jewish religion. Christ's name and Jewish traditions are invoked at what is essentially the human sacrifice of a little girl. First off Christians weren't at the siege of Masada. This was a last stand battle of Jewish Zealots and ended in a mass suicide to keep from falling into Roman hands. The storyline uses it as part of it's ritual. Just story telling to some maybe so as I said, no rating I leave it to you. The book revolves around the idea of a volume written by Christ the contents of which can be disastrous. Look, Christ brought one Gospel (the word Gospel means "good news" which casts odd implications around the title of this novel to begin with). The actual, real Gospel has been misrepresented and twisted enough. The idea of this book just makes me sigh and feel I need a bath. Jesus brought the Good News that through His act human kind is forgiven. All the questions like, "how can a good God allow this or do that" boil down to one thing. He doesn't. He has given humanity it's head so to speak. This is a human world run by human ideas and actions and if allowed to run it's course we will eventually destroy it and ourselves. Humanity is in rebellion against God (isn't it?) Be honest with yourself about prevalent ideas and beliefs. God has simply reserved to Himself the right to say no, I won't allow you to destroy yourself. That's the point, He took the penalty, for everyone. I won't argue the details as I know other Christians will now want to argue details and specific doctrines. This book is actually based on Jesus having written another book. Yes it's fictional, yes we go into it knowing it's fictional. But it misrepresents Christ and uses Him as fictional Character. So, I could say more but I won't. As noted reading the book leaves me feeling as if I need a bath. You make up your own mind.

  7. 5 out of 5

    J.F. Penn

    This is James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell on the edge of blasphemy and I loved the book, devouring it in two sittings. Opening with a glimpse into the heart of Masada, Israel, a dark tomb is revealed. As it is destroyed in an earthquake, three survivors escape to face a demonic creature, before a priesthood come to spirit them away on a mission to save mankind. Packed full of fast-paced action, vampires and corrupted creatures, religious themes and emotional resonance, Blood Gospel will delight f This is James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell on the edge of blasphemy and I loved the book, devouring it in two sittings. Opening with a glimpse into the heart of Masada, Israel, a dark tomb is revealed. As it is destroyed in an earthquake, three survivors escape to face a demonic creature, before a priesthood come to spirit them away on a mission to save mankind. Packed full of fast-paced action, vampires and corrupted creatures, religious themes and emotional resonance, Blood Gospel will delight fans of Rollins. My only criticism is that it is only the first of a new series, and I hate waiting ...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    2.5 stars but I’m feeling kind. I’ve never read this author before and on the basis of this, I m not sure I will in the future. It was a meh blend of Dan Brown , Sanctus and a romance novel. I’m not a Christian but I didn’t like the idea of trying to include Vampires in Church cannon. Generic and nothing original. Walk on by.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Simona

    I really feel bad to give one star to a book, so I think that I need to explain myself. Since the book is all about suspence, I have to alert that, from this point, all this review is going to be a HUGE spoiler. (view spoiler)[ Reading this book I got the feeling that the authors decided that the two best commercial trends in books are vampires and shocking-revelations-about-Jesus-and the church, so they put the two together to write this one. Unfortunately, I generally dislike books about vampires I really feel bad to give one star to a book, so I think that I need to explain myself. Since the book is all about suspence, I have to alert that, from this point, all this review is going to be a HUGE spoiler. (view spoiler)[ Reading this book I got the feeling that the authors decided that the two best commercial trends in books are vampires and shocking-revelations-about-Jesus-and the church, so they put the two together to write this one. Unfortunately, I generally dislike books about vampires with superpowers and/or sexy (yes, I tried Charlaine Harris, Laurell Hamilton...and I still prefer Bram Stoker) and I am tired about books about descendants of Mary Magdalen, cousins of Judas, friends of John the Baptist, new Gospels, all powerful holy relics and so on - and I don't think that mixing two old ideas you can obtain a good new one. The plot is fast but not brilliant. You have good vampires, bad vampires and a couple of humans that manage to immediately fall in love among all the chaos; and chaos it is, because the authors aren't interested in small deeds, and in two strokes they manage to destroy Masada and Vatican City. Apparently the happy couple is all that stands between us and the end of the world, which will happen in the next book, since this one conveniently ends on a cliffhanger. I feel that this book is a product expecially concocted for commercial purposes. Not a bad thing in itself, but not exactly my taste. (hide spoiler)] I usually like Rollins' books, and I'll give a try to the next Sigma force one, hoping that the ones he writes by himself will still be entertaining and original. I'm sorry but I can't say so about this one.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Falconer

    Anyone who loves archaeology, combined with religious conspiracy, combined with vampire legend, will LOVE this novel...Can't wait to read the rest of the series! http://librarycrystal.wordpress.com/2... Anyone who loves archaeology, combined with religious conspiracy, combined with vampire legend, will LOVE this novel...Can't wait to read the rest of the series! http://librarycrystal.wordpress.com/2...

  11. 4 out of 5

    The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)

    Blood Gospel – overall 4 stars. I have seen mixed reviews on Blood Gospel and, I’ll be honest, I don’t understand all of the negative comments. I have some idea of what may be affecting those readers and I’ll mention it through this review. Having said that, I thought it was good. I liked it and I’ll be looking for the second book of this series. 4-4 1/4 stars. Overview(not synopsis). Because there may be some spoilers involved, I’m going to shy away from giving a “Synopsis.” I’ll protect some inf Blood Gospel – overall 4 stars. I have seen mixed reviews on Blood Gospel and, I’ll be honest, I don’t understand all of the negative comments. I have some idea of what may be affecting those readers and I’ll mention it through this review. Having said that, I thought it was good. I liked it and I’ll be looking for the second book of this series. 4-4 1/4 stars. Overview(not synopsis). Because there may be some spoilers involved, I’m going to shy away from giving a “Synopsis.” I’ll protect some information by spoiler tags. Generally this is an Urban Fantasy, that fits well in what we are used to in a James Rollins created story world (spec ops, scientific mysteries of historical significance, super secret shadow organizations etc.). Having said that, it would be a mistake (a tragic mistake on some levels) to believe that this is a “Rollins” novel and that Rebecca Cantrell was just a rider on it. It would also believe that Rollins is a ‘non-participant’ author loaning his name to a project. Rollins is very much a participant in the writing of this story and Cantrell’s influence has definitely turned this into something that is noticeably different than James Rollin’s other works. Since I’m a male reader of Action Adventure Novels, I presumed, prior to reading that Rollins is the bigger name here. Having said that, if I were a female reader of Horror (Urban Fantasy) and Y/A books, I might believe that Cantrell is the star and Rollins is piggybacking on her work to break into a new genre. So, I feel pretty safe in saying that this book likely has some similarity with their other books, and, even more likely will have some noticeable differences. Perhaps this is why some people have not expressed the same satisfaction with this story that I have, they expected something more like what they were used to (and love) from these authors. I have not read anything from Rebecca Cantrell, so, for me, it’s about what’s different between this book and Rollin’s other novels. In this book, you get that same depth of background research that is all over Sigma Force and Rollin’s other stand alone stories. You get the same blend of the unexplained phenomenon mixed with a rich understanding of historical events along with the sinister shadow organizations trying to manipulate the keys to ruling the world. Instead of the over the top action sequences that start a little past midway and keep rolling and building like a mushroom cloud from an atomic test in the Bikini Island, you get close quarters combat that is personal to the characters and much more one against one, even when it’s centered in a larger battle. Rollins has always tried to tie threads between past events, villains and heroes, but those tended to almost always appear superficial or irrelevant to the story. With Cantrell in the picture, there is a much better job of managing the integration of past and present events with the main characters and we get less of the greater meaning to the world on a “macro-scale” and more of those ties that are more significant and personal to the characters involved. Most Rollins books tend to be “Hero by committee” where a group of characters have major roles each in how things turn out with two or three that look more like Spok, Kirk and Scotty (Star Trek reference, hang with me). In Blood Gospel, we have three protagonists, vying for top billing and, rather than each part of some sub-plot or another on their own, they are all tangled up with one core story. So, if I were a James Rollins “FAN(atic),” I might be disappointed because the sense and feel of this book is more what you get with an Urban Fantasy (or Horror) than with the wide open pedal to the metal Action Adventure story we usually associate with Rollins. I’m not sure how Rebecca Cantrell fans will see this story, but I’m betting that if you made a mark in the center of Rebecca Cantrell’s story worlds, and one in James Rollin’s story worlds, drew a line between them that halfway down that line from either end is where this story resides, in its own world or a hybrid of both styles. It’s likely there is fodder enough for both to say “meh, it’s not Cantrell,” or, “meh, it’s not like his (Rollins) other books.” There’s a saying, “resentments are unfulfilled expectations.” The less you come into this book with an expectation of what you’ll get, the more you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what is like those things that your favorite author (of the two) are known for in Blood Gospel and find those things that are different cast in an enjoyable and interesting light. This is more “personality (and personal history) driven” than “event (and world history) driven.” The plot can be followed from the inside out, rather than from the outside in as in Action/Adventure Novels. My general impressions: Blood Gospel is an Urban Fantasy. It may have some parts of it that include exciting Action/Adventure Elements (I bet Rollins loves those Ducati Attack Motorcycles…I do), but, at its core, it’s a Horror Novel or more accurately an Urban Fantasy with a strong historical thread woven into a complex Urban Fantasy Plot. To me, it’s a winning combination. My favorite “Urban Fantasy Monster Butt-kickin’ Novel, Monster Hunter International, is really an Action Adventure Story with Fantastic elements, or a Werewolf disguised as a genetically altered and enhanced, hybrid, man/attack dog’s clothing. Blood Gospel is a Horror/Urban Fantasy Novel that allows itself to be advertised as having ties to the action adventure world, but has its own unique identity. (view spoiler)[ This is Katherine Neville’s “Eight” with Vampires and silver bullets fired from sub machine pistols (hide spoiler)] . I would not have thought that “toning down” Rollins’s free ranging action sequences, that seem to go through osmosis doubling in size with every page, would make a story better before I started reading it but, at least for this story, I think that it did. I also believe that Rollins’s sense of perpetual motion in a story helped this one break out of the emotional romantic tail chase that some Urban Fantasy novels go through (or Horror). I also like the depth of back story here which involved mixing some unique elements into a generally traditional interpretation of lions and tigers and bears (Oh my!) or in this case, werewolves and vampires and God (Oh my!) better known as “fantasy elements” with real historical events that have some hard to explain or unexplained things about them. I thought the “blast from the past” or this more traditional approach to the supernatural was refreshing since the modern storytelling world is going many different directions with horror and supernatural/occult story themes. A more traditional supernatural side allowed there to be a strong traditional, religious or spiritual side to things that actually enhanced the story, rather than making it less believable or intolerable due to message. I mean, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the story of a man and a woman on a spiritual journey that we should get the meaning of living through God out of, yet, the general plot and story themes supported (demanded) the acceptance of traditional, religious (Catholic) beliefs. People tend to wonder why lots of Christian writers like Urban Fantasy elements, for me, it’s because they demand the agreement to believe, at least for story purposes, that God, Jesus and Heaven exist and, in Blood Gospel, it’s served in a dish that’s palatable to even the most existential non-believer. Characters Ruhn – Loved this guy. I loved the conception of the Sanguinst Tradition that comes with him. Loved the idea that redemption is possible and love the idea that, no matter how bad the acts that we have committed, or caused to be committed, that, given enough time working on amends, anything can eventually be forgiven. I love the “fallen Priest” concept and found this to be, not the most likeable (certainly not) but, for me, the most interesting of the bunch. Lots of enternal conflict, lots of temptations and desires at play, lots of doubt, and self-doubt, lots of bitter sourness and, lots of smarts. I think his struggles with his relationship with Erin was a bit muddled, and that helped in some places, but hurt in others and they (Cantrell and Rollins) made us wait too long for his relationship with Jordan Stone to become stronger. At the end of the story, Jordan and Ruhn are going different directions and, no accounting of those differences has happened (yet). Very Dark, very Interesting and Complex character. Erin – I liked Erin. She was well designed. She had a tragic back-story that sometimes came across as awkward but explained much about her role in the overall plot. As I saw it, Erin developed into “the main character,” even though Jordan Stone and Ruhn get equal billing. I also liked how both writers did not let her become a clinging vine, or helpless heroine, better known as “the damsel in distress.” In fact, in one of the opening action scenes she plays the helpless heroine and actually makes a conscious decision not to be that way, and though she was physically “less capable” than her male counterparts, she was intellectually equal to Ruhn, with more “human insight” and ahead of Jordan. (but we already knew from the opening scenes with her.) I also like that she resolved her issues with faith in the course of the story. We’re not sure where Jordan’s faith lies, and Ruhn has his own issues where faith is concern but we get to see Erin “come to believe” based on events, and, be rewarded for that faith. I’m not a big religious fanatic, nor am I a loud mega-phone lawyer toting atheist, I just like stories to shake off fears of how they are precieved and stay true to form, true to the plot they are following. Good for them! (that’s what you get with seasoned, veteran writers.) Jordan Stone – Wow, a rollins story with male eye candy, really? Who’d have thunk it? G.I. Joe meets Ken. Compared to the conflicted Ruhn and the self-doubting agnostic Erin, Jordan was the eye candy. Tall blond haired blue-eyed hunk of Grade A Male…gun oil for cologne and a shining, reassuring smile that sparkled, of course he’s special forces too, even sensitive, because, most special forces guys have that touchy-feely side. I bet he even sweats testosterone and pees napalm. Obviously my favorite character (not). It’s strange how “out of place” a James Rollins Action Figure is in a story with a complex heroine and conflicted co-hero isn’t it? I’m okay with Jordan Stone. I think he’ll appeal to female readers more than male readers (he is a “hot” hard bodied male with a sensitive side and a brain, should he chose to use it). I just think what as rich as Ruhn turned out to be, and as potent as Erin became, he faded in importance in the story. He had all the grace and charm of a guard dog, complete with the sweet face and hang dog eyes. I’m surprised that Erin didn’t slap him! …okay, not that surprised, he was a nice guy, but, I hope in the next book, that he gets to grow out of his stereotypical action hero shell and become more human and less G.I. Joe meets Lassie. Having voiced my problems, I will say, that he doesn’t detract from the story. Instead, he runs the risk of becoming supporting cast for Ruhn and Erin if he doesn’t get some growth in the next book. I can live with him as he. Jordan’s not a spoiler, just a character with some unrealized potential to make the story better. The Villainy – I’m not going to get too deep into the villains because I don’t want to spoil, but, in the tradition of Urban Fantasy/Horror, the Villainy is almost more interesting than the hero brood, if decidedly more deadly and less pleasant to be around. I liked all of them, though the Villainess, clearly stands out as “the” best bad girl in a long time and, I’m betting that her namesake turns out to be as complicated and interesting as she did…next book though, I guess. I’m not ready to go “Seichan who?” yet, and she was a heroine mostly, but, I liked the bad guys, even the grimwalds had character. (view spoiler)[ I’m also a BIG fan of anyone who can figure out how to use Rasputin as a villain! What a rich character vein in history this Gregori Rasputin turned out to be? (hide spoiler)] Supporting Cast – (Heroes) an extension of Ruhn mostly. They were like the supporting cast in the Sigma Force Novels or Rollins stand alones, save one thing, that rich back story that comes with Ruhn and those like him. I hope we get to see Nadia again…A hot warrior woman who wears leather and uses a whip and drives a Ducati Attack Motorcyle! What’s not to like? (And she had some moments that let me know there’s a lot of potential in her for a bigger role in future stories. Though, unlike Jordan, I think she was used well and this was a hint of things to come, rather than a lack of development.) World Building Better than expected. Rollins super-complicated style mixed with the greater focus on main characters as in a Horror Novel (Cantrell’s influence I’m guessing) made a really rich and interesting supernatural world. I loved the fantasy/paranormal elements and how they were designed and fit into a history common to our own. I liked the traditional paranormal figures that had their own unique twists to things. Overall – 4 to 4 ¼ stars. No warnings of note. There are some scary things. It’s darker than Rollins Novels tend to be, but the violence is acceptable for Television, and sexy characters, little to no sex (though there were some sexual themes) but likely not to “hot” for Y/A (though this is a warning, not a recommendation for Y/A). Combat is more personal and therefore different than the macro combat scenes in action adventure but, generally, good story!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    This is the most incredible mash up of current popular memes in popular literature. It hit every irritable nerve in my body. First, we have yet another take on vampires. Give it a rest people, that genre is so worn out at this point. In fact I think Ann Rice and Charlene Harris have pretty much written the definitive vampire stories for the next century. Second, this is combined with Nazis and archeology for about the 10 billionth time. Another overdone genre. Third we bring in the "Da Vinci" cod This is the most incredible mash up of current popular memes in popular literature. It hit every irritable nerve in my body. First, we have yet another take on vampires. Give it a rest people, that genre is so worn out at this point. In fact I think Ann Rice and Charlene Harris have pretty much written the definitive vampire stories for the next century. Second, this is combined with Nazis and archeology for about the 10 billionth time. Another overdone genre. Third we bring in the "Da Vinci" code angle of secret gospels, mysteries and stupid prophecies. Can I ask a question? When there is a prophecy why can't it be straight out - "Hey watch out for Novemeber 12, 2013 because the Nile is going to flood." But prophecies are always obscure, and lately seem to be tied in with big Secrets Of The Vatican. Woo woo. Fourth, for those afficianados of Romance novels, we have the two gorgeous, educated and emotionally mature male and female leads whose attraction is so hot it even bothers the vampires, yet the authors use the time honored tradition of making it impossible for the lovers to consummate their love due to all sorts of stupid reasons, none of which make any sense. Finally, the authors bring into the story, as living characters, the following historical figures: Gregori Rasputin, Elisabet Bathory and fresh from his stint in Hell...Judas himself! Well if that isn't enough for you, you are insatiable. Why three stars? Because I couldn't put the son-of-a-bitch down after I started it. Damn I'm shallow!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    I was very disappointed! I was expecting historical fiction blended with good suspense. What I got was teensy little bits of history (that was comprised of tidbits of already well-known facts) mixed with cheesy romance. I abandoned half-way through. The premise of the book is too silly (priest vampires who survive on the blood of christ - just too cheesy for me). The characters were completely non-credible and I imagine this is what romance novels are like (I don't read that genre). Each charact I was very disappointed! I was expecting historical fiction blended with good suspense. What I got was teensy little bits of history (that was comprised of tidbits of already well-known facts) mixed with cheesy romance. I abandoned half-way through. The premise of the book is too silly (priest vampires who survive on the blood of christ - just too cheesy for me). The characters were completely non-credible and I imagine this is what romance novels are like (I don't read that genre). Each character being of utmost physical beauty and form with both incredible youth AND a wealth of experience (wow - how incredible!) making them not only top physical specimens, but also the world's foremost experts in their respective fields. The main female character - knowing how absolutely desirable she is (to EVERYONE in the book who comes across her: students, colleagues, young, old. priest alike) turns down ALL men in her life due to her complete dedication to her job. Oh - except when her life is on the line, she suddenly swoons within minutes of meeting the excellent male specimen in the book. THen - every time they are in horrible danger, fleeing for their life, or perhaps seeing the most ghastly frightening things (also lacking in the writing by the way) she stops for a moment to gaze upon "his lips" and recall how they touched…. Or perhaps admire his big arms that are always whisking her out of danger……. OH - C'MON!! Other discrepancies - main female character is a world expert in archeology, plenty of experience with excavating and finding skeletal remains - suddenly cries and becomes empathic for a skeleton she sees on a dig. Not going to happen in real life and not consistent with the character that was written. All of these sorts of things drive me crazy when reading a book and I decided it was not for me. I am amazed at the number of five-star reviews this book gets. I found the writing to be superficial and too conveniently and predictably written to satisfy the author's plot planning. Ridiculous book. Just plain silly. I wouldn't mind silly if the book was entertaining, but it was actually a little bit nauseating. I found several times, the characters wondering aloud "Hmnnnn, I notice that __ _____ _(insert whatever trait is being written about the religious folks in the story, or made up history for this story), I wonder if that is the reason why in this day, the ___ ____ do/act/behave _______." That is to say, I felt that the author felt quite clever in coming up with a possible reason for today's religious traditions, and then, instead of letting the reader deduce this on their own, had the main character ponder it for us. This happened more than once and drove me crazy. One star only for…..well, I don't know what. I did not like this book. Perhaps I just picked the wrong genre for my tastes.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Helene

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really like James Rollins Sigma Force books and I really like vampires, so I thought ok give it a try.. yeah should have left it on the shelf. Its Dire... we have a special group of Vampire Priests called the Sanguines hidden among the Catholic Priests - well it was a stretch and kept on stretching... It basically asks the following questions.. Why Do Catholic Priest wear Pectoral Crosses? Why Are Catholic Priests sworn to celibacy? Why Does Catholicism insist on the transformation of wine into th I really like James Rollins Sigma Force books and I really like vampires, so I thought ok give it a try.. yeah should have left it on the shelf. Its Dire... we have a special group of Vampire Priests called the Sanguines hidden among the Catholic Priests - well it was a stretch and kept on stretching... It basically asks the following questions.. Why Do Catholic Priest wear Pectoral Crosses? Why Are Catholic Priests sworn to celibacy? Why Does Catholicism insist on the transformation of wine into the blood of christ during mass? well if you read this its because of Vampire Priests... What you actually get when you buy this book is a combination of Dan Brown's Da Vinchi Code and Indiana Jones.. and while it makes for a light hearted read ( if you are really really bored) Don't get me wrong it had some hysterically funny moments... Like the introduction of Rasputin ( he was a Sanguine only he got pissed with the Vatican) But on the whole it is a terrible book, nothing at all like the Sigma novels.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    Genre* Mystery, Suspense, Paranormal Rating* 3.5-4.0 *Review* James Rollins, author of the Sigma Force series as well as Subterranean, collaborates with author Rebecca Cantrell on The Blood Gospel the first book in the Order of the Sanguines series. As with other Rollins books, this story takes readers on a thrill ride that doesn’t stop until the very end. The main characters journey starts out in Israel where they uncover a starting find, to Germany where the Nazi’s tried to hide away their loot, Genre* Mystery, Suspense, Paranormal Rating* 3.5-4.0 *Review* James Rollins, author of the Sigma Force series as well as Subterranean, collaborates with author Rebecca Cantrell on The Blood Gospel the first book in the Order of the Sanguines series. As with other Rollins books, this story takes readers on a thrill ride that doesn’t stop until the very end. The main characters journey starts out in Israel where they uncover a starting find, to Germany where the Nazi’s tried to hide away their loot, to Russia where the always interesting Rasputin shows up, and finally to the home of the Catholic Church in Vatican City where even more secrets are uncovered and faiths are tested. After a bizarre earthquake levels the town of Masada, Israel where it is said that 900 Jews faced off against a battalion of Roman Soldiers before committing suicide en mass, Archaeologist Dr. Erin Granger, Ranger Sergeant Jordan Stone and the mysterious Father Rhun Korza are sent to uncover a secret that has been buried for nearly 2,000 years. Right from the start, the trio is forced to fight for their lives from a group of strigoi, and werewolves led by Bathory Darabont while at the same time, trying to uncover the secrets of the Blood Gospel which is said to have been written in Jesus Christ’s own blood. Bathory belongs to a rival group known as the Belial who would love nothing better than to open the book and bring about the end of the world. The trio of main characters is truly an eclectic bunch. With Erin Granger, you have an archaeologist who is highly skeptical of religion because of her families’ ineptitude and disgraceful behavior when she was a child. She is more likely to ask the important questions and cause waves along the way than believe everything religious scholars have to tell her. However, when all is said and done and the chase for the Blood Gospel is at hand, Erin is at the center of all the action and learns to open her eyes when it comes to the bible and its teachings and her own forgotten faith. As for Jordan Stone, he is a leader of a rag tag Ranger team that gets caught up and swept away by the events of Masada. He hesitates only briefly when asked to form a trio that includes Granger and Father Korza in finding the Blood Gospel before Bathory can get her hands on it. Extremely protective of Erin to the point where you want to tell him to back away and let her decide what she wants to do. Brave and stubborn to a fault and determined to see the mission through to the end no matter what happens. Father Korza is a member of The Order of the Sanguines a secret sect and part of the Vatican See. As a Sanguine, he has taken an oath not to consume any human blood. Instead, he drinks wine transubstantiated by priests into the Blood of Christ to help him heal and survive. His faith is constantly being tested just by being around Erin and Jordan. Korza has a long history that is revealed throughout the book including his own transgression of drinking human blood and mistakenly turning someone into a strigoi. This is a mixed bag for me in that some may find the underlying Christian tones offensive and unnecessary to the story while wondering what made Rollins and Cantrell team up to write a novel that is surround with supernatural beings. Again, the Catholic Church is once again called out for turning its back on different atrocities over the millennia. There are several lingering questions remaining like who the hell is Tommy and what does his presence in this series signify? What part will Rasputin play when all is said and done? Is Erin, Korza and Jordan truly the right trio to unearth the conspiracies, or is there someone else that has yet to be identified? Rollins and Cantrell have created a fantastic new world & series which I am absolutely planning on continuing to the next book. I look forward to further discoveries and revelations. Rollins has always been, and always will be on the top of my must read when new books come out and that hasn’t changed with the release of The Blood Gospel. *ARC Recvd from Edelweiss 11/1/2012* Expected publication: January 8th 2013 by William-Morrow

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB

    There is a reason James Rollins is regarded as one of the very top writers on the scene today. Heralded worldwide for his superb Sigma Force novels, Mr.Rollins has produced a most stunningly amazing new novel, so very original in concept and execution, that one cannot simply pigeon-hole THE BLODD GOSPEL, co-written with the very talented Rebecca Cantrell, into any single genre. This is a very complex and involving novel, one which is extraordinary in it's reach and concept. The novel begins in th There is a reason James Rollins is regarded as one of the very top writers on the scene today. Heralded worldwide for his superb Sigma Force novels, Mr.Rollins has produced a most stunningly amazing new novel, so very original in concept and execution, that one cannot simply pigeon-hole THE BLODD GOSPEL, co-written with the very talented Rebecca Cantrell, into any single genre. This is a very complex and involving novel, one which is extraordinary in it's reach and concept. The novel begins in the legendary city of Masada, after the site where thousands of ancient Jews committed suicide rather than be taken by their pursuers. Right from the start, one can see that Mr. Rollins' trademark and remarkable skill for detail is quite in evidence. The location ..like the many others in this unforgetable tome, is described in a meticulous and engaging manner. The reader truly feels as if they are part of the action, along with the three main characters,Dr. Erin Granger, Sgt. Jordan Stone, and the truly unforgetable, Father Rhun Korza. The interplay between the three is vital to the overall success of THE BLOOD GOSPEL, and Rollins (and Cantrell) take great care to word-paint each of them into fully realized people, characters the reader can cling to. ...And cling to is not overstating it..the action that takes place, the amazing characters (some horrifically evil!) and events, are truly gripping and very affecting. Father Korza is a member of The Order of the Sanguines - a top-secret group- based out of The Vatican. This makes his character quite pivotal as the basic plot (and there is NOTHING BASIC ABOUT IT!) concerns the perilious search for ..The Blood Gospel..a gospel rumored to be written by Jesus using his own blood. While I will not rehash specific events and re-tell the story, (in my reviews I like to review what I feel is most integral to a book's success, it's characters, location and originality) I can say that there is not a dull or false note to be found in this book. What facinated me the most about this sterling success is the mixing of genres. James Rollins, as we all know is a major writer of gold standard thrillers. THE BLOOD GOSPEL is certainly a thriller, and the twists and turns come quick and smooth. What I did not anticipate was the remarkable ability of Mr. Rollins, along with Ms. Cantrell to seamlessly interweave doses of historical mystery, ancient facts,and most stunningly, a hair-raising supernatural element to the mix. It would seem almost impossible to combine such diverse genres into one book and not end up with a hodgepodge of conflicting prose and events. James Rollins has accomplished this remarkable feat - showcasing that a genuinely talented writer can not only succeed in writing a brilliant multi-dimensional novel, but at the same time create a brand new genre!! I am not sure what to name it, MYSTICAL-HISTORICAL THRILLER? Whatever the proper name for the genre James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell have introduced and perfected with THE BLOOD GOSPEL, I most heartily recommend this brilliant stunner of a book! AN OFFICIAL JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB MUST READ RICK FRIEDMAN FOUNDER THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB (6,425+ MEMBERS)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    Book Info: Genre: Historical fiction/Supernatural Thriller Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Folks who enjoy treasure-hunt type stories, stories that intertwine history with fantasy, fast-paced thrillers Trigger Warnings: murder, torture, child abuse (implied), child murder (historical) My Thoughts: Come on, who can resist a book that combines ancient religious conspiracies with vampires? I know I can't! The story is fast-paced and that helps prevent the reader worrying too much about details. Ho Book Info: Genre: Historical fiction/Supernatural Thriller Reading Level: Adult Recommended for: Folks who enjoy treasure-hunt type stories, stories that intertwine history with fantasy, fast-paced thrillers Trigger Warnings: murder, torture, child abuse (implied), child murder (historical) My Thoughts: Come on, who can resist a book that combines ancient religious conspiracies with vampires? I know I can't! The story is fast-paced and that helps prevent the reader worrying too much about details. However, some things stood out to me. For instance, as far as I'm aware (and if so, it's only recently), Stetson does not make a straw cowboy hat. Stetson is the gold-standard for cowboy hats and makes high-quality felt hats. Also, at one point Rhun bloodies his palm “where the nails had been driven into the palms of Christ.” However, research has shown there is absolutely no way that anyone was crucified by driving nails through his hands; the small bones would not support the weight of the body and would rip free. Likely the nails would have been driven through the wrist, between the major bones of the arm. Jordan is really funny. Every time I laughed, it was at something Jordan said. For instance: “We [soldiers] just bang on it [mass spectrometer] with rocks, Doc, but it seems to work.” Or this conversation with Erin: [Erin:] “What do you think they want with us?” [Jordan:] ... “Don't know. Maybe to debrief us. Swear us to secrecy. Maybe give us a million dollars.” [Erin:] “Why a million dollars?” He shrugged. “Why not? I'm just saying... let's be optimistic.” I felt really badly about Magor and Bathory. Yeah, Magor was a vicious, bloodthirsty killing machine, but he was so devoted to Bathory. The scene made me cry. There were a lot of “Oh!” moments in the story, like when they revealed who the Vitandus was, who Aloysha was, and who the head of the Belial was. These were sprinkled through the story, providing one surprise after another. It kept things interesting! In the end, I really enjoyed the story. I'm not well-enough versed in Church history to know how much of the dogma and history used in the story is accurate, but it is provided in such a way as to keep the reader interested and focused on the story. The pace is fast and furious, and it definitely keeps you reading. If you like these sort of stories, don't hesitate. It's a good 'un. Disclosure: I received an ARC paperback from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Synopsis: An earthquake in Masada, Israel, kills hundreds and reveals a tomb buried in the heart of the mountain. A trio of investigators—Sergeant Jordan Stone, a military forensic expert; Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist—are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body of a mummified girl. But a brutal attack at the site sets the three on the run, thrusting them into a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb’s sarcophagus: a book rumored to have been written by Christ’s own hand, a tome that is said to hold the secrets to His divinity. But the enemy who hounds them is like no other, a force of ancient evil directed by a leader of impossible ambitions and incalculable cunning. From crumbling tombs to splendorous churches, Erin and her two companions must confront a past that traces back thousands of years, to a time when ungodly beasts hunted the dark spaces of the world, to a moment in history when Christ made a miraculous offer, a pact of salvation for those who were damned for eternity. Here is a novel that is explosive in its revelation of a secret history. Why do Catholic priests wear pectoral crosses? Why are they sworn to celibacy? Why do the monks hide their countenances under hoods? And why does Catholicism insist that the consecration of wine during Mass results in its transformation to Christ’s own blood? The answers to all go back to a secret sect within the Vatican, one whispered as rumor but whose very existence was painted for all to see by Rembrandt himself, a shadowy order known simply as the Sanguines. In the end, be warned: some books should never be found, never opened—until now.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kym's Open Books

    I was disappointed in this book. I have loved all of Rollins books, which is saying a lot since some of them can get pretty weird! This one was so different from his others that it made me sad. Where was all his science? I love the scientific discoveries he makes and the adventures that go along with them. This book had his adventures but lacked so much. He chose to focus on the Catholic religion and.... get this... Vampires. Uh huh. Weird. How he connected vampires and the church was really.... I was disappointed in this book. I have loved all of Rollins books, which is saying a lot since some of them can get pretty weird! This one was so different from his others that it made me sad. Where was all his science? I love the scientific discoveries he makes and the adventures that go along with them. This book had his adventures but lacked so much. He chose to focus on the Catholic religion and.... get this... Vampires. Uh huh. Weird. How he connected vampires and the church was really.... Irreverent. I can't think of a better word. I knew going into this book that he was focusing on this religion but I wasn't worried because when he chose my religion to have in a book (LDS/ Mormons) he did it with respect and got most of the info correct. I hated that Rollins chose vampires. Vampires are lame, that bandwagon ended long ago! I should've given this book 2 stars but when I could forget the vampires and just enjoy the adventure, it felt like the Rollins I fell in love with. It's so sad he's wasting his time and making this a series. That means longer for me to wait for the next book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Siobhan

    Although I enjoyed The Blood Gospel, I’m going to be honest and say it’s not quite a full four-star rating. It was close enough for me to round up – after all, I was addicted throughout and happily devoured it – but it didn’t quite wow me in the way I had hoped. As much as I love a good paranormal novel that intertwines with history, I found this one dragged a little bit at some points. I wanted to see how everything came together, but certain parts felt a bit slower than I would have liked. The Although I enjoyed The Blood Gospel, I’m going to be honest and say it’s not quite a full four-star rating. It was close enough for me to round up – after all, I was addicted throughout and happily devoured it – but it didn’t quite wow me in the way I had hoped. As much as I love a good paranormal novel that intertwines with history, I found this one dragged a little bit at some points. I wanted to see how everything came together, but certain parts felt a bit slower than I would have liked. Then there were other parts – such as the romance – that felt a bit forced. It certainly held my attention throughout, but it didn’t quite grip me as tight as I had hoped. I’ll certainly be reading the second Order of the Sanguines book, but I had been hoping for a wee bit more.

  20. 5 out of 5

    L.A. Starks

    Like Dan Brown with vampires. While I like James Rollins' books, Rebecca Cantrell's co-authorship was a strong addition. A good read, and historical enough to be recommended for (sophisticated) high school history readers. Like Dan Brown with vampires. While I like James Rollins' books, Rebecca Cantrell's co-authorship was a strong addition. A good read, and historical enough to be recommended for (sophisticated) high school history readers.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Arnis

    https://poseidons99.wordpress.com/201... https://poseidons99.wordpress.com/201...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan Tunis

    New series, new collaborator, new genre for the New Year! It’s no secret to readers of my reviews that I’m a huge fan of James Rollins’ novels, and have been ever since Subterranean was first published. In the years since, in addition to penning the wildly popular Sigma Force series and several excellent stand alone thrillers, he has written seven fantasy novels under the name James Clemens as well as two young adult adventures. I love that he isn’t content to write the same type of story over an New series, new collaborator, new genre for the New Year! It’s no secret to readers of my reviews that I’m a huge fan of James Rollins’ novels, and have been ever since Subterranean was first published. In the years since, in addition to penning the wildly popular Sigma Force series and several excellent stand alone thrillers, he has written seven fantasy novels under the name James Clemens as well as two young adult adventures. I love that he isn’t content to write the same type of story over and over. Not only has he expanded his own literary horizons, he’s very much expanded my own. The Blood Gospel is yet another new direction for Mr. Rollins. Well, two new directions, actually. For the first time, he’s sharing authoring responsibilities with Rebecca Cantrell, a writer well-respected for her own historic mystery series. And while The Blood Gospel is as much a fast-paced thriller as anything Mr. Rollins has written to date, it also falls firmly in the territory of a new genre: horror. The novel opens with a brief prologue set in the past—AD 73 in Masada, Israel—where readers are witness to events leading to the tragedy for which the historic site is known. However, we are also witness to a far more inexplicable drama… After just a few pages, the action shifts to present-day Israel, at the dig of American archaeologist Erin Granger. Her own promising work is interrupted by an earthquake—and is further interrupted when Israeli and American soldiers arrive to escort her to Masada. The quake has unearthed something and her expertise is required. Along on the journey is a mysterious figure. “He was no soldier. He was a priest. He wore black pants, overhung by an ankle-length hooded cassock, along with black leather gloves, dark sunglasses, and the familiar white collar of the Roman Catholic clergy.” You’ve just been introduced to Father Rhun Korza. He’s not the first priest to appear in Rollins’ fiction, but I’m telling you right now that he’s the most interesting. At Masada, this is what Erin finds: “A macabre sculpture hung on the wall, like a blasphemous crucifixion. She moved past the corner of the sarcophagus. With each step, a growing horror rose in her. It wasn’t a sculpture. On the wall hung the desiccated corpse of a small girl, maybe eight years old, dressed in a tattered, stained robe. A handful of blackened arrows pinned her in place, a good yard off the floor. They pierced her chest, neck, shoulder, and thigh.” What can I say? These authors can paint a tableau, and sometimes the details are haunting. I don’t know if it was Mr. Rollins or Ms. Cantrell who supplied the detail of the doll, but that is the beauty of collaboration. It’s hard to say who did what (I couldn’t tell), but hopefully the work is stronger when two talents bring their a-game. I’m not going into any detail about the plot of this novel. What I can tell you is that the third primary character is an American soldier named Jordan Stone. The novel is the first of the new “Order of the Sanguines” series. These three diverse characters find themselves on an urgent quest for an artifact called the Blood Gospel. “It is the Gospel. Written by Christ’s own hand. In his own blood.” So, let’s talk about religion. You may have heard, it’s a hot-button topic for some. I’ll be VERY curious to see the popular response to this novel. Me, I’m a secular Jew. I’m not going to lie. This got kind of New Testament for me. BUT this is not—emphatically— Christian fiction. I wouldn’t call it excessive, but there’s foul language within the text. Even more noteworthy, there’s some fairly steamy erotic content. (Well done, too!) So, this is NOT Christian fiction, but it has a fair amount of religion, some of which might be considered blasphemous by certain segments. Rollins tries to look at faith from different angles. At one point, Erin asks, “Why me?” and is told: “I have followed your work, Dr. Granger. You are skeptical of religion, but steeped in biblical knowledge. As a result, you see things that nonreligious scholars could miss. Likewise, you question things that religious scholars might not. It was that rare combination that made you perfectly suited to bring the Gospel back to the world.” Suffice it to say, there is significant opposition to our heroes’ quest. Some of it is worldly and some of it is otherworldly. There’s a big word that I’m not saying, but it won’t take you long to discover the supernatural elements to the tale. Readers have seen a lot of this in recent years, but James Rollins is putting his own twist on the familiar. Mr. Rollins and Ms. Cantrell are off to a strong start with this series. This book introduces some truly intriguing characters with complex backgrounds and motivations. And it features a plot that surprised me at every turn. More importantly, there’s a complete story arc to Book One, with a conclusion. That’s not to say that there aren’t bigger picture questions left unanswered for future books—and one flat-out jaw-dropper in the final chapter. (Seriously, DO NOT PEEK.) You’ve gotta love the jaw-dropper! Um, when is Book Two out?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chris Bauer

    Let me start by saying I've read everything Rollins has published and have read none by Rebecca Cantrell. After reading "Blood Gospel" I will have to remedy that oversight. But first things first. If you're expecting a Sigma Force novel, stop right now. This ain't it. Completely different in just about every way. Very much supernatural elements and rife with foreign matter to that excellent series. I think I was able to determine which portions were handled by the authors based on familiarity of s Let me start by saying I've read everything Rollins has published and have read none by Rebecca Cantrell. After reading "Blood Gospel" I will have to remedy that oversight. But first things first. If you're expecting a Sigma Force novel, stop right now. This ain't it. Completely different in just about every way. Very much supernatural elements and rife with foreign matter to that excellent series. I think I was able to determine which portions were handled by the authors based on familiarity of style, but the narrative was well wound into a cohesive whole. The novel has a number of intriguing elements; - supernatural conspiracies - black magic - a hero torn between duty and nature - a complicated love triangle - exceedingly rich back story (at times too much...) - frantic pacing and ticking clock compelling events and races against time As alluded to above, the only negative aspects of the book were; - too much flashback as a way to convey character - very close to "tropey" protagonists. But to be fair the "bad guys" were quite original - at a few times it seemed a little formulaic but not enough to be a big deal This is going to be a great series and I eagerly await the next installment. And I can't help but wonder if Rollins is at all tempted to "cross the streams" with his Sigma Force universe. I know that I'd be tempted even it was just a novella or short story. One other point. There are a number of themes, setting elements and "secret history" which may be considered negative by members of the Catholic Church. Without putting to fine a point on it, I suspect certain readers will be immediately turned off or even offended by some of the fictional elements introduced early on. I was not one of those readers, but I REALLY appreciated the way Rollins & Cantrell make no apologies or try to traipse around the subject. Some authors will temper their plot and characters to make it more palatable for all readers. Not in this case. I was impressed by the tone of the narrative which makes no apologies for some of the assertions and plot. It is simply part of the story; not an attempt to obliquely attack or offend the Church. The duo simply wrote the story the way they wanted to. And it turned out very well.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Casey Wheeler

    This is a very poor attempt by Rollins to start a new series. If you are a fan of the plethora of vampire romance novels that are all the rage (and hopefully becoming passe)you may find this series of interest. It is easy to tell which sections Rollins wrote and which sections his coauthor wrote. It is very sluggish in parts and only builds up to a medium pace - very unlike his Sigma series. I kept hoping that the book would pick up to no avail. As this is a series, the ending was written to ent This is a very poor attempt by Rollins to start a new series. If you are a fan of the plethora of vampire romance novels that are all the rage (and hopefully becoming passe)you may find this series of interest. It is easy to tell which sections Rollins wrote and which sections his coauthor wrote. It is very sluggish in parts and only builds up to a medium pace - very unlike his Sigma series. I kept hoping that the book would pick up to no avail. As this is a series, the ending was written to entice the reader to move on to the next one when it comes out. I will not be one of those people. Bottom line - if you are a fan of the Sigma series and like the pace of those books, save yourself the time of purchasing and/or reading this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    itchy

    i vant to suck your vlud p105: the grenade coughed behind him, a giant, barking wheeze that blew a dusty fireball across his back. p147: so far, nothing had stirred on the dark avenue, the shops remained shuttered, the lights dark. p193: he counted down to his death. one. two. three. four... p263: a crossbow bolt grazed his cheek, snapping him back to the present. the arrow winged off the edge of the tree and buried itself in dirt behind him. p402: without touching her throat, she knew that the black i vant to suck your vlud p105: the grenade coughed behind him, a giant, barking wheeze that blew a dusty fireball across his back. p147: so far, nothing had stirred on the dark avenue, the shops remained shuttered, the lights dark. p193: he counted down to his death. one. two. three. four... p263: a crossbow bolt grazed his cheek, snapping him back to the present. the arrow winged off the edge of the tree and buried itself in dirt behind him. p402: without touching her throat, she knew that the black mark had returned. p422: the bullet had passed through bathory's body before it struck the wolf, carrying her blood with it. - and here i thought they were all fond of hollow points p444: "cover her," ordered the palatine. the palatine threw a soiled blanket across her bloodstained shoulders.

  26. 5 out of 5

    W.

    Began listening it through Hoopla but the narrator accents were bad . Also his voices for all females characters young and old sounded old and very creepy. Ended up reading it through Overdrive and really enjoyed it. Loved the archeological , history , vampires and religion aspects of it . As well as the Indiana Jones action adventure type thriller.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    This supernatural thriller has a simple plot in which an archeologist, a soldier, and a priest with some special abilities seek out the so-called Blood Gospel, a book supposedly written by Jesus himself using his own blood. The story breaks no new ground, so those who enjoy stories set in our modern world in which the supernatural exists will have seen its like before. While the writers of this work know how to craft their sentences and present some fairly well-developed characters, their plot’s This supernatural thriller has a simple plot in which an archeologist, a soldier, and a priest with some special abilities seek out the so-called Blood Gospel, a book supposedly written by Jesus himself using his own blood. The story breaks no new ground, so those who enjoy stories set in our modern world in which the supernatural exists will have seen its like before. While the writers of this work know how to craft their sentences and present some fairly well-developed characters, their plot’s lack of originality brings it to a screeching halt by the book’s end. The story centers in large part around the Roman Catholic Church, yet the authors didn’t bother with the most cursorary of research. The archeologist’s back story includes a troubled childhood in which she lived in a compound run by ultra-religious Roman Catholics who disdain medicine and only believe prayer can heal. While such communities do exist here in America, none belong to the Roman Catholic Church. For Catholics, salvation of the soul comes in large part by partaking in the sacraments, especially Communion and Confession. To get this, such a community would have had to have found a priest to administer them, and any Catholic minister who catered to such fanaticism would find himself in big trouble if not face excommunication. Some of the story takes place in Russia and involves the church there. Here the authors made a major mistake in making Russia’s major religion as Roman Catholicism the official religion derives from Eastern Orthodoxy. The Roman Catholic and Easter Orthodox Churches parted ways in 1054, and from the latter the Russians broke. They formed the Russian Orthodox Church under its own patriarch. During the days of the czars, no Russian priest involved with the royal family would belong to any institution but the Russian Orthodox Church. Yet one wanders about in this book’s pages. Anachronisms exist as well. First century books, for example, came in the form of scrolls, not bound books. The first of this latter type, the codex, did not appear until around the fourth century. I liked this book well enough to read it to the end. The authors did a decent job developing their characters, although they did have some pretty stiff dialog here and there. This book serves as the first of a series and it ended with an intriguing cliffhanger, but I don’t plan on reading any sequels.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Wow! What can I say about The Blood Gospel except, "HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE NEXT BOOK?!?!" The Blood Gospel was an incredible adventure reminiscent of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons & The Da Vinci Code with one main difference: the incorporation of the preternatural. James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell weave a tale that grabbed a firm hold and would not let go. The relationship between the trio charged with saving the world from an enemy that no one knew existed is interesting and complic Wow! What can I say about The Blood Gospel except, "HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE NEXT BOOK?!?!" The Blood Gospel was an incredible adventure reminiscent of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons & The Da Vinci Code with one main difference: the incorporation of the preternatural. James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell weave a tale that grabbed a firm hold and would not let go. The relationship between the trio charged with saving the world from an enemy that no one knew existed is interesting and complicated and engaging. I really felt enthralled by the story and had myself wondering if it wasn't completely impossible to have a modicum of truth. I understand, now, having finished the book why I didn't learn very much about one key character named Tommy but would have liked him to have been explained a little earlier on. This could have been accomplished without having revealed the secret they were holding til the end. All in all though, this book was a fantastic read and if you're a fan of the conspiracy theory archaeological adventure that has a ton of hidden secrets, you'll love this! A definite MUST READ!

  29. 4 out of 5

    DAISY DISNEY

    **SPOILER ALERT** ** I won this book as an ARC giveaway** Blood Gospel was not what I expected. The beginning did grab me into the storyline. However by halfway through the book I was losing interest really fast. I didn't care for any of the characters and although I like vampires, I just didn't like that element in this particular story. I did not dislike the whole book, as these author's do know how to write well. I just wasn't that impressed as I would have hoped. If you liked books such as "The **SPOILER ALERT** ** I won this book as an ARC giveaway** Blood Gospel was not what I expected. The beginning did grab me into the storyline. However by halfway through the book I was losing interest really fast. I didn't care for any of the characters and although I like vampires, I just didn't like that element in this particular story. I did not dislike the whole book, as these author's do know how to write well. I just wasn't that impressed as I would have hoped. If you liked books such as "The Divinci Code" with a vampire-ish twist then this book is one you might want to pick up. It just didn't work to my liking for me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Keri

    4.75 Stars. This was a really great kick off to an awesome new series. I have read everything of JR and nothing of RC, so we will see. There is already a ton of wonderful reviews by my friends...so what they say. :-) I also loved the strong thread of romance that we were provided between Jordan and Erin. .25 stars was subtracted by the romantic in me because we didn't get the big reveal love scene. Awesome read though and I look forward to the next one in the series. Now bring me on some Painter 4.75 Stars. This was a really great kick off to an awesome new series. I have read everything of JR and nothing of RC, so we will see. There is already a ton of wonderful reviews by my friends...so what they say. :-) I also loved the strong thread of romance that we were provided between Jordan and Erin. .25 stars was subtracted by the romantic in me because we didn't get the big reveal love scene. Awesome read though and I look forward to the next one in the series. Now bring me on some Painter Crow and Grey Pierce...I needs me some. :-)

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