Guest Blogger: S.J. Rozan, one of the authors of "Blood of the Lamb"
The Historian meets The Da Vinci Code and Inferno in the exhilarating supernatural thriller,
Blood of the Lamb.
Religion, faith, vampires, and all that jazz.
I want to talk about Blood of the Lamb, about an issue that's come up. So as not to be disingenuous, I'll admit Carlos Dews and I—we who are Sam Cabot—anticipated this pushback. (We knew the job was dangerous when we took it, Fred.)
Blasphemy. Sacrilege. Disrespect, at the very least. Some readers don't see those in Blood of the Lamb.
I believe Sam Cabot has an incredible sense of drama by creating a partnership between a priest and a vampire. I think it brings so much angst and doubt to the story. Each one not sure if they can trust the other. The dynamic between the two increases the suspense of the book.
But some do.
I gave this book 3.5 out of 5 stars, in part because you need a VERY open mind to read it, and I'm just not sure mine is open enough to accept what is presented in this book.
I remember when The Da Vinci Code first came out. Some of my more religious friends would not read it because they were told it was sacrilegious and too controversial. Well - for those of you out there that thought The Da Vinci Code crossed some sort of line - wait until you read Blood of the Lamb!
We get it, why people say that. But in our eyes, it's not that at all. Blood of the Lamb is not a knock on religion. In fact, it's about faith. It always was. Another reader:
Thomas and Livia, also, had to face their own individual doubts in belief with every clue that was discovered. At the end, both faced such extreme challenges to their “faith,” you are not sure if they can recover. It is a true test of faith for both. Their internal struggles are very painful and you can empathize with both.
But we're still hearing this strain of criticism. Because, maybe, of scenes like this:
Thomas was prepared. The silver crucifix that usually hung around his neck was gripped in his hand. He thrust it out as Livia Pietro stepped into the room. She stopped, stared, and shook her head. "Put that away." Crossing the carpet, she sat again. "The Church has always been our enemy, Father Kelly, but we haven't been yours. To think that the sight of a cross will have any effect on me -- I'm sorry, but it's narcissistic."
Thomas stepped inside as though he were any priest, in the company of any historians, visiting any church in Rome. He felt acutely the presence of Livia Pietro beside him and Spencer George a few paces behind. Could they really enter a church? Step onto consecrated ground as easily as he could? A part of him expected -- no, admit it, hoped -- that they'd be struck down at the threshold, reduced to dust and ashes for defiling the sanctified air. Stop it, he ordered himself, you sound like a Dominican.
Now, people can say whatever they want. Once they've read it. We had no intention of blaspheming. We created an alternative universe, with priests, cardinals, vampires... and some other stuff... in the service of questions about faith and its relationship to religion and to everyday reality.
Wait, you say. Who do you people think you are? Faith, religion, everyday reality -- Blood of the Lamb is a paranormal thriller, right? Everyone runs around looking for a document? Chases, danger, narrow escapes, that sort of thrillerish thing? Yes indeed. And we hope, pretty exciting. With cool info about the streets, churches, and art of Rome, and every word of it true. Except maybe the vampire parts.
So here's the plan: if you've read Blood of the Lamb, do us a favor? Review it on Amazon, on Goodreads. On your own blog. Mention it to your favorite book blogger. Tweet about it. If you think it treats religion and faith sensitively, say so. And vampires, if sensitive treatment of vampires is an issue for you. If you think we ought to be arrested, say that. Just give us a heads-up so we can skip town.
Now, what if you haven't read it? Well, what are you waiting for? Some free (or super cheap) Blood of the Lamb-related material? Say, a manuscript recently unearthed from the Noantri archives, the story of the wreck of the ship carrying America's first woman war correspondent, Margaret Fuller? You drive a hard bargain. Okay, here's the Kindle link to that very manuscript.