Book Review: The Blood Gospel by: James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

Rating: 3/5

Publisher: William Morrow

Publish Date: January 8, 2013

Origins: From Publisher for Review

Format: Hardcover

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

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 not 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.

Review: The authors of ‘The Blood Gospel’ ask you to suspend disbelief, as you would for any other form of entertainment, while reading this fantastical tale. Three people, a priest, an archeologist, and a solider get caught in a race against time and unknown enemies to find a book – none other than The Blood Gospel, purported to be written in Christ’s own hand. Now here comes the truly fantastic part – vampires. There are two factions of vampire; the Sanguine and the Strigoi. The Sanguines are a part of the Catholic Church; priests who are vampires yet do not drink human blood. The Strigoi, according to the Sanguines, are no more than animals. Killing indiscriminately and very disorganized. Yet someone is fighting the Sanguines’ every move to find the book, someone who knows the very inner workings of their order…

Vampires, the Catholic Church, Israel, the Nazis, Rasputin, and a Gospel written by Christ himself…these are all featured in ‘The Blood Gospel’. I do like Mr. Rollins’ “Sigma Force” novels, but I haven’t read anything by Ms. Cantrell before. I was intrigued by the premise of this story, but I wish the characters were a little more developed. Erin had issues with the Church, Father Rhun was deeply conflicted about his own nature, and Stone had survivor’s guilt. These three were supposedly a prophesied triumvirate, but they didn’t seem to work well together because of the awkward love triangle. I actually liked Rasputin’s character better than any of the others. At least he knew himself and was brutally honest about it, even if he wasn’t so honest about his motives (but who would expect him to be – he’s the Mad Monk!). I might pick up the next book (yes, this is a series) just to see where the authors take us and I hope the characters come to life more and are a little less angsty. Overall, interesting revisionist history, okay characters, and decent action. 

Order of the Sanguines Series: City of Screams (novella), The Blood Gospel (1)


  1. I thought it had potential, but their lack of commitment to the big ideas ruined it for me. Several times they raised some interesting questions about faith and belief, only to get cold feet and abandon the questions.

    Having said that, I would definitely read a Rasputin centred tale.

    1. As would I. Thank you very much for your comment!


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