I first heard about "This is My Blood" when a fellow member of a local Science Fiction Book Club mentioned it in an on-line post. The description intrigued me and I hunted down a used copy of this 1999 novel, long out of print, for a reasonable price. The short novel (251 pages) was expanded in 1990 (but not published for nearly a decade) from an earlier short story called "A Candle in the Sun" that was published and republished a couple of times in Horror/SF anthologies. The novel re-tells the basic story of the New Testament from the standpoint of Mary Madgalene, who turns out to be one of the fallen angels, transformed by Lucifer into a vampire-like blood sucking creature of the night, for the express purpose of interfering with and destroying Christ's mission on earth, i.e., death and resurrection to "save the world".
The novel is written in two formats, the first consisting of excerpts from the long-ago burned and never recreated "Gospel of Judas" (who turns out to be a good guy), and the second, a standard first person narrative by Mary. There are some interesting and novel elements here (the "true"stories of Adam, Lillith, Eve, Cain and Abel stand out) and both the Gospel excerpts and Mary's narrative have the feel of authentic New Testament verbiage and style.
But in the end, there was so much plot potential left untapped and so much left unsaid that ultimately the book proved unsatisfying. After reading the book jacket, I was looking forward to explanations of how and why the first vampire was created, and the origins (or repudiation as pure myth) of the effects of silver, garlic, crosses, holy water etc on vampires, the "rules" for the life and death of vampires (wooden stake??), creating new vampires that I assumed would contain a tie-in to the 3-day latency period betwen the death and resurrection of Christ, and most of all, the origin of the central tenet of the Catholic church, the unbelievably gory and grisly miracle of transubstantiation whereby the wafers and wine are actually converted into the real blood and body of Christ, then eaten by the congregation. That in itself is fodder for vampiric horror fiction of the highest order.
But none of this was to be. None of these mysteries was addressed, and so much left unexplained. It was pretty much just a straight re-telling of the New Testament Gospels with the hook that Mary was a kind of vampire. There was plenty of places where some eroticism and sex would have upped the ante, but, perhaps due to his earlier career as a student of the ministry and/or a reluctance to offend any true believers, the novel is at most completely G- or perhaps light PG-rated. "This is My Blood" was still a worthwhile read, but somebody, somewhere either already has or probably will do a much better job of fulfilling the potential of the author's brilliant premise.