Novels written about vampires have steadily been on the increase since Bram Stoker first picked up his pen to write “Dracula”. However, not since Anne Rice’s groundbreaking “Interview with the Vampire” has a vampire novel added something truly new to the genre. “Innocent Blood” by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell is definitely a welcome addition in every way.
The second novel in “The Order of the Sanguines Series”, “Innocent Blood” continues the story of a mysterious Vatican order pledged to protect “The Blood Gospel”, a book written in the blood of Christ and containing a prophecy that could possibly change the world.
Together again, the team of archeologist Erin Granger, Army Sergeant Jordan Stone and Father Rhun Korza are tasked with the responsibility of protecting a young boy who cannot die. Unfortunately, they are not the only ones looking for the child. An immensely old and powerful foe with ties to the earliest stories of the bible is also searching for this miracle. The first to find him will determine whether the world is to be saved or destroyed.
Although coming from vastly different backgrounds and lives, the three main characters share one major commonality. They have all suffered losses that have shaped who they are. The loss of faith, the loss of love and the loss of everything you have ever believed in are constant themes that run through the novel. Their losses form the cornerstone of each character’s determination to see their mission to the end. It is that determination that they draw upon when the world itself stands on the brink of destruction.
Another consistent theme throughout both novels in “The Order of the Sanguines Series” is faith. Faith in another human being, faith in yourself and faith in something larger than all of us is as much a part of the story as the good and bad vampires that we find throughout the novels.
Religion, as well, plays a very important factor in “Innocent Blood”. Many vampire novels use the bible as a basis for the origin of the vampire. Whether they were created due to a curse by God or the belief that Judas was the first vampire since he gave up Christ or that Christ’s blood could cleanse the unholy and keep those vampires pledged to Jesus’s service, from the need to drink human blood, these myths can all trace their histories back to the bible.
The inclusion of such historical figures as Rasputin, Elizabeth Bathory (the blood countess) and Alexei Romanov (son of Czar Nicholas II) fit in perfectly with the tone and flow of the story. Their presence in the novel only adds to the reader’s interest in just how they fit in this new world and what part they will play in the larger picture.
Using a combination of historical fact, myth and science, Rollins and Cantrell have succeeded in bringing the tale of the vampire into the modern age, while still maintaining its ties to the past. From the holy land to the underground world of the Vatican to the frozen artic sea, the story is full of fascinating characters, incredible situations and never ending excitement. The novel engages the reader from the first page and never let’s goes. A truly fun read and great addition to the genre.
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