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The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines Series [Kindle Edition]

James Rollins , Rebecca Cantrell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (987 customer reviews)

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Book Description

New York Times bestselling authors James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell combine their talents in a gothic tale about anancient order and the hunt for a miraculous book known only as . . . The Blood Gospel.


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. 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.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Author One-on-One: James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

James RollinsRebecca Cantrell

Q. How did you two meet?

Rebecca: I used to live in Hawaii, and Jim was my instructor at the Maui Writer’s Retreat where I was workshopping a thriller. My first novel, A Trace of Smoke, had been accepted for publication a few weeks before and he kindly agreed to give me my first blurb. It was so good, I printed and hung it above my writing desk until it got covered in gecko poop. Then I took it down. Sorry about the poop, Jim.

Q. The Blood Gospel is a bit of a deviation from the books that both of you are traditionally known for. What inspired the idea for this book?

James: This book came about from viewing Rembrandt’s painting of "The Raising of Lazarus." It struck me strange how scared everyone looked, and this started me down a road of reflection about early Catholicism, vampirism, and a story began to unfold. I knew this could be a huge, ground-breaking new mythology, a story so epic in scope that I knew I didn’t want to tackle this alone.

Rebecca: Jim called to ask me if I was interested in collaborating on a project. The premise and the world were so intriguing and controversial, I said yes immediately.

Q. Both of you are well known authors in your own right; how did you learn to collaborate?

Rebecca: We went back and forth a lot while trying to decide what would be fun and interesting for both of us. Since we’re two people, more ideas come out and the books end up going in a direction I don’t think either of us would have found on our own. Luckily, he’s very open and easy to work with and has never once said “that’s the stupidest idea ever,” because I think you need to feel safe to throw out any idea at the beginning and see what sticks.

James: It’s one of the best things about collaboration: we each bring a unique skill set to the table. Scenes where I know I perhaps am more deft (i.e. action), I handle. Likewise, Becky’s skill at characterization and atmospheric historical descriptions, I let her run with it. That said, then we each take each other’s work and tweak it in new and surprising ways that neither of us could have done alone.

Q. Could vampires have been or be real?

Rebecca: Our series plays with the idea that vampires are and always have been a myth, but the myth is based on some truth—that strigoi have always existed within and without the Church and their bloody crimes have formed the basis of the vampire myth.

James: It was interesting how many of the Church’s trappings (hooded robes, crosses, celibate priests, and the rite of turning wine into Christ’s blood) could be directly folded into the vampire mythology. It makes you wonder if the Church isn’t keeping something secret about a mythology that has existed for millennia.

Q. Can fans expect to find elements of science in this series?

James: With a scientific background in biology, I wanted to instill into the mythology how vampirism might be possible, how such creatures could live among us, how they could survive without beating hearts, why silver would be toxic to them. The goal of this book was to explore the line between faith and science, so that meant exploring a scientific and historical rationalization for the existence of vampires.

From Booklist

Rollins, noted for his fast-paced thriller-adventure novels, often decorated with religious iconography, and Cantrell, a writer of historical mysteries with Nazi Germany as the backdrop, combine their talents for this mash-up of thriller and paranormal. After an earthquake destroys the Israeli fortress of Masada, the race is on to find a Jesus gospel that two groups suspect is in the rubble. One is the striogi, soulless, vampirelike creatures, led by evil, tortured Bathory, doing the bidding of Him. The other is the Sanguines, priests protected by the blood of Christ, called to battle the striogi. When Masada falls, archaeologist Erin Granger is there to find artifacts in the destruction. She and Sergeant Jordan Stone, an American soldier, meet the Vatican representative (and Sanguine extraordinaire) Father Rhun Korza, and after that, all hell breaks loose. This could have been an unholy mess, but as in Rollins’ previous books, the pacing is heart-pounding and the conceit irresistible. At first, the introduction of ghouls seems gimmicky, but the authors suck you in and make it work. The Da Vinci Code meets vampires. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This first in the Order of the Sanguines series has one hot-name author, one warm one, and a big marketing campaign backing it up. --Ilene Cooper

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
187 of 201 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
First, I think the book description here does this book a disservice. Because James Rollins is a well known author of action-adventure thriller novels, many potential readers are going to assume that this book is more of the same. The book description tosses out hints, makes implications, and beats around the bush, but never makes it plain that this book has one big difference from Rollins' other books - it's not just an action-adventure novel, it's a supernatural action-adventure novel, complete with vampires, grimwolves, and other supernatural beings. It also offers a completely new interpretation of some aspects of the bible. I think potential readers need to know this in order to make an informed decision about buying this book.

I am a James Rollins fan who had absolutely no idea what I was in for when I selected this book to review. Fortunately, I am also a fan of urban fantasy and the supernatural, so I was pleasantly surprised at what I got. I really enjoyed this book. The action is non-stop and the main characters were all interesting and well-developed. Even the bad guys were interesting and surprisingly sympathetic - yeah, they were evil, but you could kind of see how they ended up that way and feel a little sorry for them.

This book does require you to suspend disbelief at many points, but no more so than many other books of this genre - as long as you're willing to fully accept the fundamental premises upon which the book is based. I rarely found myself falling out of the story to question whether or not anything made sense. The pace of the story pulled me along quickly enough that I generally didn't have any trouble just accepting things and moving on.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New series, new collaborator, new genre for the New Year! December 20, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
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.
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Fans of James Rollins have come to know him for action and adventure, a blend of military action, fancy technology, and historical events motivating adventures. You will find much of this in his newest novel, but the author tackles a different genre from his usual fare. I really enjoyed it.

Dr. Erin Granger, an architect on a dig in Israel, is pulled away from the students she is overseeing after a strange earthquake affects Masada, the rocky fortress where the Romans laid siege to Hebrews almost two thousand years ago. She is teamed up with a small force of U.S. military, including Sgt. Jordan Stone, and this group is accompanied by Father Rhun Korza, a mysterious monk. At Masada, this group finds a mystery and comes under attack from strange and supernatural forces. The survivors, Granger, Stone, and Korza, are caught up in a centuries old hunt for the "Blood Gospel," a legendary Christian artifact. But they must race against their supernatural foes, who don't play by any of the same rules........

This was a fun ride, and anyone who liked Rollins' early pre-Sigma Force books will not only enjoy the action, but a return of Rollins' creative monster side, as mutant critters and odd evolution have been an early staple for the author. (I always particularly enjoyed the strangely evolved piranha from Amazonia, but that's for another review....)

To be honest, it's a challenge to write this spoiler-free, because the people who don't like this book apparently don't like it for the supernatural aspect, or the role the Catholic church plays in the adventure. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I've never read a James Rollins novel because I thought any part of it was real.... I read them for the high-speed adventure. And that is in this book, start to finish.

For me, this book was very hard to put down, and I look forward to Rollins' future efforts!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed the book
Enjoyed the book. I've read all of the the Sigma series of books and this book has inspired me to read this series.
Published 4 days ago by OC Native
5.0 out of 5 stars The order of the Sanguines is a great series. I'm currently reading...
The order of the Sanguines is a great series. I'm currently reading Blood Infermal. I believe it is the last book in the series
Published 4 days ago by Lovestoread
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy Vampires
A great thrill ride through Rome and Israel. Lots of action and bloody battles between good and evil. The Vatican suffers some damage and even the bad can be forgiven. A must read!
Published 5 days ago by Melody S. Lark
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I liked the action and twist and turns it is a good read
Published 9 days ago by tom
4.0 out of 5 stars which is what I love about James Rollins
I didn't realize I had picked up a vampire novel, but it was fast paced adventure, which is what I love about James Rollins.
Published 10 days ago by Rick23707
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent trilogy so fat
I am currently in the middle of the third book of that series. All are 5 star rating, and I am enjoying very much. Read more
Published 10 days ago by John E. folsom
5.0 out of 5 stars The Blood Gospel
Enjoyed this read very much. Bought more of this author's books based on my enjoyment of this novel.
Published 11 days ago by A new Sarah Fine fan
5.0 out of 5 stars Should receive: Best in Series Award
This is the most wonderful series. All the characters are terrific and you hope for some and pull for others. It really keeps you on the edge of your seat. Read more
Published 11 days ago by robin
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting
I could not put it down. From the first page to the last page it was filled with excitement. Mixed with history and fiction. I can't wait to read the next book.
Published 11 days ago by Flip Flop Queen
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it
James Rollins does it again! Rollicking adventure,will keep you guessing at every turn! Couldn't put it down. This is his best series to date!
Published 13 days ago by Wykdrebel
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