27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2009
A Christian vampire novel? Genius. It is quite difficult for vampire fans to find a genuine vampire novel absent of excessive eroticism, yet still embraces the essence to intrigue the imagination. This is not just another spinoff of Bram Stoker's excellent novel, but an exquisitely unique narrative based on vampire lore and enriched with Wilson's originality and creativity. He accomplishes this rare feat while still nourishing an edgy mood. By contrast and point of reference, I've also read Elizabeth Kostova's vampire novel, THE HISTORIAN. Her book is beautifully written, but after a while the suspense fades, which caused me to lose interest. If you like a novel that is a thrill from the first page through the last, Wilson does not disappoint.
The story starts with the events following Judas's suicide in the field of Akeldama, or Field of Blood.
"What if his tainted blood seeped deep into the earth, into burial caves, causing a counterfeit resurrection of the dead?" Counterfeit life was breathed into the buried dead--and born were the undead. They secretly infiltrate pockets of society, walking dead among the mortal. Their mission: lure the unwary into deviltry and collect souls. An opposing force, the immortal Nistarim, battles to protect mankind from the Akeldama, creating epic tension in the spiritual realms.
I appreciate novels that involve impressive research, and this one surpasses typical expectations. The author even travelled to Jerusalem to research the story elements. This depth is important, because it allows the reader to more easily suspend disbelief.
This is a sophisticated story--there are enough plot twists to make a perm look straight. It's not hard to follow, but if you like to daydream about other things while you're reading a novel, this book will make you concentrate.
Although a spiritual thriller, this is not for the faint of heart. It will scare you. If you frighten easily, I suggest you read it in broad daylight, with the lights on...and the doors locked.
Wilson proves it's possible to write a hair-raising, Stephen King-esque novel without the extravagant gore and profanity. It is startling, harrowing, and totally compelling. This is book one in the Jerusalem's Undead series, a series destined to be one of the most talked about in literary circles.
You'll never again look at a mysterious insect bite in the same way. Was it really just a mosquito?
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I've waited a long time to read this book. From the first time I read the premise over a year ago, I wanted to read it. The idea of a book's foundation rooted in the Akeldama and Matthew 27:52-53 (The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.) just seemed to be a powerful combination rich with themes to explore. Wilson did not disappoint. Field of Blood was everything I hoped it would be and much more. With a gentle touch, this dark and gripping story is written with the conviction of an author with a story to tell that the world needs to hear.
Consolidating Field of Blood to a paragraph does little good. There's plenty of background on the book at [...] and it does a far better job than I could ever begin to do. Also absent will be any true critique of the author, style, or overall writing of this book (that's better left in more capable hands anyway). Very quickly--it's well written, well researched, and enjoyable to read. So with all that out of the way, I'll get to the point. This is an excellent book for a multitude of reasons. First off, it's different. It offers a glimpse of what Christian fiction without pious constraints can be. Christian fiction can be original and inventive and it can use elements from secular entertainment to create a mind blowing spiritual novel. It's interesting how modern Christian fiction has really taken to demons and serial killers, but has yet to embrace the use of vampires and other mythological creatures. Admittedly my knowledge of vampires and the legends surrounding them is scant at best. However, one does not have to be a fan of vampire novels to love Field of Blood. The vampires are a tool used to paint a much larger picture. There is no glorification of these undead nor is there any twisting of their intent. Who and what they represent is clear and that line is never blurred. Simply put, they're a very powerful weapon used to illuminate the conflict between good and evil.
The struggle between good and evil is at the heart of so many novels these days. However, often times the good and evil is generalized and the focus is not always clearly directed at the source. Field of Blood does not let anyone off the hook. It's very convicting. The hidden sins, aka our thorn in the flesh, are not something to be ignored. To do so only leads to greater trauma.
As with our own lives, each character is faced with choices. A free will to determine the path we take. While many books devote a great deal of time to this subject, Wilson puts a face to it in a unique and effective way. Each has a choice to follow and each has a choice as to how committed that following is. Even a Collector's host can choose whether or not to obey. None of us are forced to choose the path we do not want to walk.
Not lost is the use of many Biblical passages. From Abraham's conversation with God regarding Sodom and Gomorrah to Jesus' death and resurrection, we are given a wonderful reminder of some of the Bible's powerful stories and an awesome demonstration of God's unfailing love. While many books get so tied up in teaching the Bible and specific lessons, they isolate people, Field of Blood takes a more subtle approach and draws the reader to the story, letting God open their heart to His word.
We know there are wolves dressed as sheep and we know there are modern day Pharisees, but we also know there are devout followers of Christ who have no fear of Satan and his followers. While most of the characters in this book are deeply flawed and struggle with their beliefs, Wilson gives us a couple of awesome and beautiful examples of believers without fear--those who hold the knowledge of Christ and the power of His blood. They are bright and shining lights in an otherwise dark and frightening world.
Couple of more thoughts and I'll wrap up. I don't think there is anyway to not mention the tenderness in this rather rough book. If you read some of Wilson's interviews, you'll see he has a heart for the hurt and rejected. This concern is clearly evident. The pain of those in a world that's dying and suffering is often times overlooked in an effort to convince people to just believe. The problem is when we ignore their pain, why should they listen. With a market flooded with `perfect' heroes and squeaky clean Christian characters, Wilson gives us a healthy dose of reality. We all struggle, we all hurt, we all cry, and we all need Jesus.
Lastly, for anyone who might question the appropriateness of a book which includes vampires and other lore, let me put your mind at ease. There is nothing unbiblical about Field of Blood. From the prologue to the last page, there is a depth to this book that goes well beyond the fictional story being told. There is truth to be seen and there are lessons to be learned. Field of Blood is Christian, but it's not a 400 page sermon. It's realistic and accurate where it should be and pure entertainment where it should be. It's everything you could hope for in a Christian book--something for the lost to contemplate and for the believer to never forget.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2013
I've always admired Eric's ghostly ability to capture a haunting atmosphere like few writers I have ever read. I continually admire his exacting craftsmanship and his nuanced prose as well as his unique ability to make a character truly come off the page in multiple dimensions. Eric is more than a gifted writer. He is one of the few living stylists of fiction whose fiction writing can legitimately be called 'literature.'
When I read Eric I often find myself shaking my head in mute admiration at such awesome, God-given talent.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2010
I just finished this book.
At one point, completely engorged in these God-breathed words, I noticed I was craning the book away from my face as if it were something that could physically reach back to me. The climax was riveting. As I joined the heroine to face the confrontation with her enemy, I was drawn in as Wilson explained her need for forgiveness and found common ground with my own struggles.
Not far from the end, I paused for a break to consider the implications. I put this book down on my foreleg and I wept for us. I wept for all of the people that do not believe and for those of us that do who wrestle with our own vampires. I wept for those I left behind when choosing a life of following my savior. I wept for my small children who's stories have yet to be written and I couldn't help but wonder what flaw in their hearts they would be forced to wrestle with. Without real prayer, I took a moment to acknowledge Him. I gathered myself to finish.
We may not know it, but we need stories like these--parables that speak truth when truth is hard to swallow any other way. Any disparaging comments that tear at this story, no matter the credentials of the administrator, are either the ramblings of someone who has not truly ever dealt with his or her vampires or a Christian fortunate enough to have been redeemed early enough in his walk that he can not relate.
In this story Eric Wilson has created something beautiful and timeless. Although relatively unknown, my prayer is that this and its successive novels find their places alongside C.S. Lewis and Tolkein as historical treasures to be read over and over.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2008
In 1989, a work crew outside of Jerusalem accidentally discovers an ancient burial chamber beneath the field where Judas Iscariot hung himself. In the shadows, evil spirits, known as Collectors, wait for a new opportunity to once again take on human form to bring destruction to the world. As the Collectors claim the bodies of the dead they discover new power from the blood of Judas that was swallowed up by the earth when he died. Armed with evil intent and a never ending thirst for blood, the Collectors seek to destroy their immortal enemies who draw life from the blood of the Nazarene. Caught between both sides, a young Romanian girl is about to discover she is far more important than she could ever imagine.
Eric Wilson blends history and fiction seamlessly in this astonishing beginning to the Jerusalem's Undead Trilogy. Field of Blood is being marketed as a Christian Vampire story, but in reality this is so much more. Fear not bloodsucker fans, there are plenty of vampires to go around and Wilson's original approach to a widely popular genre is excitingly fresh and innovative. However, Wilson has successfully done what few have even attempted: blending vampire lore with Christianity. The result is a wondrous story that is thrilling at every turn, consistently eye-opening, and ultimately inspirational.
Wilson's characters leap off the page drawing us ever deeper into this wonderfully complex story. These villains are evil to the core and we are never spared a detail in the frightening bloodshed and carnage they bestow. The heroes are wonderfully flawed, endearing, and even infectious in their perpetual stand for righteousness. As the story progresses we are whisked from location to location with stunning detail. Whether it's Jerusalem, Romania, or even Chattanooga, Tennessee, Wilson effortlessly convinces us we are along for the ride. Eric Wilson's faithful fans will also love the subtle connections to his previous works that are laced throughout the story.
Field of Blood will no doubt spark controversy and I'm sure many readers will hear the words "Christian" and "Vampire" in the same sentence and run for the hills. Unfortunately for them, they will miss out on what is not only Eric Wilson's best novel to date, but easily one of the most powerful and inspirational novels I've read in years. This is intense and edgy writing to be sure, yet nowhere will you find the redemptive power of Christ's blood explored so brilliantly in fiction. And the best part? There are still two more books to come! I've had my taste and I am so thirsty for more....
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I've never been one for vampire stories, and I don't know much about the vampire legends. So when I picked up Field of Blood, I wasn't sure what to expect. As I read, I was bombarded with terms I didn't understand: Nistarim, Collectors, Akeldama. I would have benefited greatly from a glossary at the beginning or end of the book.
The book is divided into four sections, and I could barely make it through the first. The action jumped back and forth between three or four settings; I didn't feel I had a handle on what was going on in any of those settings. Honestly, the only reason I kept reading was because I had committed to writing a review.
Once I got into the second section, the pace of the story picked up, and I began piecing together what was happening. This book focuses around the house of Ariston, a group of undead Collectors, and Gina, the Romanian girl they are hunting. As Gina learns more about her heritage, the reader is able to understand more of the action and even anticipate some of what is to come.
As this is the first in a trilogy, not much is resolved by the book's end. The action becomes intense in the last several pages as Gina's story finally intertwines with Ariston's, and the end of the book left me curious about what would happen next.
I'm just not sure if it left me curious enough to buy the next book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2009
This review has been a long time coming. I read an ARC for Field of Blood back before it came out and then the final version that everyone can purchase once it came out. I haven't been able to get the story off my mind. I've purchased copies for friends. Upon reading this novel, they became new fans of Eric Wilson's.
I think the problem for me has been that I just didn't know how to write a review for such a remarkable book. I still don't. But I need to do it. I've promised Eric and I'm committed to doing it for Thomas Nelson as one of their review bloggers.
So here goes.
By now, you know the story. A young Romanian girl is one of a special group of people in the world, only she doesn't know it. If that weren't bad enough for her, there is a group of others who know exactly who she is and are trying to find her. They don't want an autograph either.
Story begins with the suicide of Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus Christ into the hands of those who sought to stop him. As Judas lays dying his blood seeps deep into the ground.
A young girl named Gina comes in next and we witness a bit about her life. She has a dog, no father is evident, a crush on a boy. We witness a bizarre ritual between mother and daughter involving a knife. A cleansing of sorts.
In Jerusalem at a construction site a burial ground is discovered and disturbed in that very place where Judas died. A group of beings watch as this is their opportunity. For 2,000 years they've waited, since being cast into swine by the Nazarene.
Unknown to anyone these "collectors" enter the burial site and enter the bodies of the dead. Instantly, the dead rise. Only it's more a mock resurrection as the beings must feed on blood to keep the bodies going. The mission of these collectors is to find a member of the Nistarim and destroy them. If they can do it so, it will be the end of humanity.
From then the chase is on.
I first heard about this story several years ago from Eric. I didn't know nearly as much as I've just related to you, but I knew I wanted to read it if it ever got published. Kudos to Thomas Nelson for having the vision to once again step outside the box and publish something that not only stretches the boundaries of CBA, but obliterates them.
Field of Blood, book one in the Jerusalem's Undead trilogy, is the most imaginative story I've ever read. Easily the best novel I read all of last year. I say these things because it's true. Eric has topped himself with this series. He's always had a knack for blending history with fiction and has even carved out a unique niche for himself in writing movie tie-in novels. But Field of Blood blends so many elements. History, Jewish mysticism, Christianity, the Bible and both contemporary and historical settings in a way that left me wanting the sequel and the final novels right them.
I don't think Eric's writing has ever been better and that is the one thing that impresses me most. I've read all his published novels and with each one he builds on what he's learned and done before and refines his craft to an even better level. This work has his tightest writing and his best pacing to day in my opinion.
The only negative I have is that of one of the character names. The spelling changed several times. This was a bit confusing. I don't see this as an issue the author caused but rather the typesetter and perhaps proofread. I have an idea how many hands a book goes through before it gets to a shelf and something like this should've been caught. This shouldn't detract from an otherwise excellent creepy read. There is a lot of meat in this story to, especially concerning sin and how it nags at you like a little itch. I haven't been able to scratch an itch without first inspecting the area since this read.
It you're looking for boundary stretch stories, the kind that make you think long after you place it on a bookshelf Field of Blood is for you. The second book in the series, Haunt of Jackals, will be releasing soon. Followed next year by Valley of Bones, the conclusion to the series. In a way, I hate to see the end coming. However, it may not be the true end. As I understand it, Jerusalem's Undead is tied to his previous two series. The Aramis Black mysteries and the Senses series. I saw several connections to these. Guess I'll just have to wait and see how it all comes together. It will be a pleasure.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2009
In FIELD OF BLOOD, an excavation crew accidentally gouges a hole in the Akeldama--the Potter's Field, the Field of Blood Judas Iscariot purchased and committed suicide on after betraying Jesus.
From the disturbed burial ground, a resurrected, two-family, cluster of Collectors emerges--eighteen beings in all, with one unaccounted for from the nineteen empty coffins. These bloodsucking creatures that thrive on human blood and souls are somewhat disoriented with the changes that have transpired in society during the 2000+ years they've been Separated. After feasting, they are drawn from Israel to Romania in a quest to find an immortal girl, Gina, marked with a Tav on her forehead, because she could potentially give birth to one of the Nistarim. The thirty-six original Nistarim, those marked to escape judgment during the day of Elijah and resurrected when Jesus died on the cross, work to defend the earth and kill Collectors when they get the chance. In the event one of the Nistarim perishes for good, others are born to take its place. [I'm still not sure how this works.] If Collectors can kill one of the Nistarim, they believe they will usher in their own paradise on earth. This power struggle between supernatural teams goes on with humanity unaware.
Collectors can temporarily leave their human shell and travel in other living hosts but cannot control will beyond prodding. Inhabiting this way is a risk, as it leaves them limited and vulnerable and they must find their way back to their main body, but sometimes it's one worth taking if the situation calls. This ability as well as one to siphon memories from blood helps them in tracking Gina. They also develop a new way to feed on humans without killing, to continually tap the same sources with a thorny vine, taking advantage of human temptations, negative emotions and weaknesses. This symbolically represents how sin can take root in our lives and suck us dry, and the only way to kill it is by drinking the Blood of the Nazarene.
FIELD OF BLOOD is divided into four parts. Each part begins with a journal entry from an unknown person/being, who has received a map with four drops of blood. As he curiously sticks his tongue to the first drop, the memories of others begin to string together in his mind, which compels him to write the story we're reading. We still don't know who this is by the end of the book since it is a trilogy, but I have a theory. ;)
The novel is well-written, weaving humor, history, Truth, family drama, vampiric lore, chess and suspense, and the characters are all interesting and complex. The language is sophisticated, descriptions vivid, and the reservoir of research from which Wilson draws inspiration runs deep. Some of the villains are actually kinda likable and there are laughable moments in their traversing, and Gina, having spent a lifetime of literally being cut by her mother for her sins, is a little bristly in the middle, which is fine for me, as it makes them all the more intriguing and gives Gina has room to grow. I hate when POV characters run on one note, but Wilson's creations ebb and flow, pique curiosity, and refuse to be cardboard. You may, but I did not find the multiple POVs or the timeline and locale jumps too jarring, but I did have to slow down to read because of this.
There's a lot of simmering and slow unfolding in the book, especially in the beginning, so if you want a fast-paced nailbiter, this isn't it. But the story was no less interesting for me and I see the pace as being parallel to how sin imprisons a person, not necessarily seizing a person at once, but slowly hunting, tempting, invading then embedding and stealing your soul.
I am still very confused as to what the Collectors are, and this niggling question still carries. Wilson doesn't seem to choose between vampire, zombie, fallen angel, or a being that is entirely new and different, perfectly fine if that's the case, but the fact that they are referred to as any/all of them doesn't give me clarity. Satan is considered the Master Collector, so perhaps they're demonic vampires. It could be that the characters are unreliable because they don't know, but I felt the author chose not to pigeonhole, leaving it up to readers to draw their own conclusions. These particular Collectors were active during the time of Jesus, and Wilson threads ties to that time period, like by having them as the legion that were cast into swine. Cool angle!
And I didn't totally care for the ending. The climax was excellent, since Wilson didn't hold back any punches or shrink from grit, but the very end, although designed to be hooky, didn't give completion to this story's arch. I know this is a trilogy but I still like a little more definition as a reader. It's a very Lord of the Rings moment.
That said, I highly recommend the book. It was imaginative in successfully blending Christian truth and history with bloodsucking, undead creatures. I especially enjoyed the humor and the symbolism with chess, with Regina being the Queen [that's what her name means] and she's fascinated with the Immortal game. Ironic right? Intentional irony, true, but I love when author's weave in deeper nuances and symbolism for readers to find.
Good read for me!
[Wow. That was hard to write because of the story's complexity. Good thing Wilson is established; writing an agent-tickling synopsis for that would be a nightmare. :) ]
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Vampires and demons combined in a host of evil. This book is not for the faint of heart. If you like Ted Dekker's darkness, Frank Peretti's depth of character, and John Olson's penchant for symbolism, this is the book for you. I was enthralled by this tale, and horrified as well. Seriously, this deals with mature themes, so be warned! But it is a Christian novel to the core. Deep and terrifying, it shows the muck we humans live in, the sin that entangles us. No holds barred.
I won't try to sum up this one's plot--I'll just make a jumble of it. Let's leave it at this: Gina is raised by a fanatically religious mother whose beliefs are more than a bit skewed from the truth. A mark appears on Gina's forehead on her twelfth birthday, drawing the attention of both the good and evil supernatural beings around her. (The evil ones being the vampire/demons of course.) She does find help in a mysterious man, but it doesn't save her from the hardest loss she could ever suffer.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2009
The fascination of the mob with modern vampire tales seems nearly endless. I have no doubt that publishing houses are being inundated with Twilight-esque manuscripts seeking to tap into the vampire craze that is only the highest crest to date in the past two decades of growing mania. And, in all honesty, I must admit to my own love affair with the works of Laurell K. Hamilton (when the series was still readable) before my spiritual rebirth. As a result, my interest was piqued upon learning of Eric Wilson's Field of Blood, the first in a trilogy of Christian vampire novels.
While a Christian vampire novel may sound like an oxymoron to the uninitiated; Wilson's steers clear of the human-vamp love stories, the myth of the good yet misunderstood vampire, and other pro-vampire plot-lines. His creatures are borne of the unholy mingling of the blood of Judas Iscariot, a disturbed tomb, and the eagerly waiting disembodied Akeladama cluster: a group of Collectors who were once driven into a herd of pigs by the Son of Man. In short -- these vampires are, in truth, demons possessing undead hosts, bent upon serving their master, creating pain, and plotting against a hidden group of believers -- the Nistarim.
As the newly animated Collectors seek to set the wheels of destruction in motion, a tough young woman named Gina Lazarescu is growing up in Romania. Subject to ritual bloodlettings from her superstitious mother, the appearance of a strange mark on her forehead seems to trigger her rescue from the advancing Collectors by a mysterious yet familiar man.
Field of Blood effectively combines mystery and resistance against evil with the Judeo-Christian maxim that life is in the blood, with Jesus' proving to be the ultimate elixir. The Collectors for example, seek to sate themselves upon human blood, yet are never satisfied. Knowing that Jesus' blood forever satisfies, they are tempted to feed upon Those Who Resist (believers), yet must restrain themselves, as this act would lead to their destruction.
Wilson is laying much groundwork in this first novel for the rest of the trilogy, as a result the story is slow to start. With details from Gina's childhood, the early voyages of the Akeladama cluster, and introductions to other characters eating a lot of pages, it's only in the last quarter of the book that the pace picks up and we start to see a more traditional vampire-hunting theme emerge in the series.
Interestingly, the majority of the book's characters are not themselves believers. Only Cal Nichols, Gina's mysterious benefactor, displays faith in God in this first novel; his efforts to recruit others to the cause of Those Who Resist are universally met with disinterest. Still, with the entire framework of the story built upon a biblical worldview with some paranormal speculation thrown in, it clearly bears the marks of a Christian novelist.
Serving mainly as a stepping-stone to the second novel -- the recently released Haunt of Jackals -- at book's end we're left with a cliffhanger just as the action ramps up. Queasy readers will want to pass on the series due to the typically vampiric blood-binges, but those looking for a series of novels that place the undead in the only realm they can properly be assigned to (that of evil) will find food for thought here.
Having already read the second book in the series, I believe the Jerusalem's Undead Trilogy is worth sticking with. In fact, it may even be worth a second read through once Wilson's remaining plot twists are disclosed.