The religious-themed mayhem of the authors’ jointly penned Blood Gospel (2013) continues in the second of a projected four volumes.
There’s a touch of genius, witting or no, in pairing a Dan Brown–ian hidden-codex mystery with a vampire tale. Let that suffice lest spoilers ruin the fun, except to say that the blood of the title is no accident. Intrepid scholar Erin Granger, fresh from the Holy Land, reunites with friend-with-benefits Jordan Stone, the tough soldier who’s seen some weird times in Masada and elsewhere in the Holy Land, along with Father Rhun Korza, who always knows more than he lets on. Joining the fun this time is a childlike angel who’s been around for a very, very long time—so long, in fact, that he (and/or she, angels being hard to pin down, genderwise) was there at the crucifixion and has a sidelong relationship with Judas, a figure who comes off as curiously sympathetic, playing a part in a very big passion play. Judas, natch, has been doing his bit ever since to bring Christ back to Earth: “He had spent centuries in service of this holy mission.” But so have many others, each in his or her own way, from witches and vampires (with scrapbooks of human hearts, no less) to priests and earthly warriors and even Lucifer, the baddest of the bad guys, his bad self. The whole yarn is improbable in the extreme, and therein lies at least some of its draw; Rollins and Cantrell seem always on the verge of breaking out into laughter even in the most fraught of situations, of which there are many—among them an absurd scenario featuring a cougar, a sedan and one of those weird sort-of-Jesuits known as the Sanguinists.
By the time the tale gets around to hieroglyphic depictions of Jesus, things have become more Indiana Jones than Robert Langdon. It’s junk food, but it’s pretty tasty.