The sequel to The Blood Gospel, Innocent Blood, by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell has all the elements of an exciting novel: adventure, intrigue, suspense, and history, with a little of the supernatural. This mystery/thriller reunites the main characters from the previous story: Dr. Erin Granger, the archeologist, Army Sergeant Jordan Stone, and Father Rhun Korza, the Sanguinist Knight of Christ. They must continue their quest this time battling Judas and preventing the Apocalypse.
What enhanced the storyline are the interesting and powerful characters that are neither all good nor all evil. Some of the characters decisions fall into the grey area where they do not always make the correct choice. Erin Granger has become a disillusioned archeologist who also questions her faith due to an incident from her childhood. She is intellectual, analytical, and a woman of knowledge. Jordan Stone is a soldier who is physically strong, appears to take everything at face value, and is very practical. Rhun, is a preacher of faith and belief whose sole sense of being is imbedded in the Church. He is a Sanguinist, a vampire-like figure, who has taken a vow to stop drinking human blood and to sustain himself only on Christ’s blood, wine consecrated by the Holy Sacrament into HIS blood. Rollins told blackfive.net, “In the next book we break everyone’s banner and the reader sees how the characters must repair themselves. Basically the three pieces are: Jordan, the muscle; Erin, the brains; and Rhun the heart.”
The supporting cast also is very well developed. The Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory, a five hundred year old vampire, a Strigoi, has just been awakened and tries to adjust to living in the 21st Century. She is strong, independent, and ruthless. Tommy Bolar is a teenage boy, a very sympathetic character who, in saving a dove, turns into an Angel. Rollins is hoping readers will see “Elizabeth as a figure who does horrible things; yet, after losing her family now tries to reforge it with Tommy. The boy was written to be of the Jewish faith since these stories involve a lot of the Judeo-Christian history, and after all Christ was a Jew. There will be more of Tommy’s storyline in the third book.”
The theme can explained with the powerful quote in the book, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Rollins believes that this quote along with the one from World War II, which he paraphrased, “First they came for my neighbors, and then they came for me,” emphasize that being silent allows evil to exist. “I was influenced by the sacrifice of the soldiers and their families. We need to continually not forget that they are our defenders who still put themselves at risk. Those fighting today volunteered because they did not want to remain on the sidelines. They are the ones who make sure evil does not triumph. Just as with the War on Terror I wanted to show in this book that we have the freedom to decide our own fate, but we must act on it.”
Innocent Blood includes a lot of action, romance, and conflict. As in all Rollins’ books the storyline explores the divide between religion and science. What makes this book a great mystery is that readers will forget some of the characters are vampires which makes the story believable.