This Is My Blood Hardcover – Feb 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Religious ecstasy and vampiric bloodlust blend to potent effect in this horror-oriented alternate history of early Christianity. Debut novelist Wilson casts Mary Magdelene as a spirit created by the Devil to tempt Christ. When Mary refuses the mission, Satan rebukes Jesus and curses her to become a vampire: "She will hunger for that which You fight to preserve. She will thirst for the blood of manAthe lives, the very souls You seek to save will be her bread." Mary follows Christ, hoping for a miracle that will allow her to gain eternal salvation even as her vampiric nature forces her to kill to survive. Through her inhuman eyes, and through the writings of Judas's own gospel, The Book of Judas, Wilson shows Christ and his disciples at work, lending a decidedly different perspective to miracles such as feeding the multitudes with a few loaves and fishes or raising Lazarus from the dead. Here, Judas is steady and loyal, while Peter, possessed by the Devil, betrays Christ to the soldiers at Gethsemane, forcing both Judas and Mary to sacrifice what they love most in order to ensure Christ's resurrection and the Church's future. Wilson's prose is smooth and powerful, carrying its allegorical weight with grace. His first novel is one of the most unique vampire stories to appear in recent years, balancing themes of damnation and prophesy against those of faith and redemption.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Author
This novel is about re-affirmation of faith, and the inconsistencies of faith, mankind, and history. I hope it opens hearts and minds.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
With a strict retelling of the gospels that strays only in the admixing of Mary's twist on the tale: that she is a fallen angel recast as a Vampire, the story shifts the allegory of the redemption of man through faith onto Mary's ultimate sacrifice and willingness to believe and to show faith, as well as that of her closest ally, Judas.
The madness and hunger that overtakes Mary each night matches the more traditional evils of pride and avarice as displayed by the growing number who want to stop Jesus spreading his gospel, and by turns her guilt, renewed faith and love for the Redeemer each day reflects the basic honesty and hope of man that must be nurtured and protected in order to keep evil at bay and stay within the light.
An interesting and faithful retelling, you would scarecely believe that this was David's first novel, such is the simple and smooth power with which his story is conveyed - This Is My Blood is well worth a read.