Hello everyone, it’s another Fantastical Friday here in the Frozen North, and listed below are my 3 picks for the month of August.
THE BLOOD GOSPEL by James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell (William Morrow, 2012)
Some books should never be found, never opened—until now.
An earthquake in Masada, Israel, reveals a tomb buried in the heart of the mountain. A trio of investigators—Sergeant Jordan Stone, a military forensics expert; Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist—are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body of a mummified girl.
But a brutal attack at the site sets the three on the run, thrusting them into a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb’s sarcophagus: a book rumoured to have been written by Christ’s own hand, a tome that is said to hold the secrets to His divinity. But the enemy who hounds them is a force of ancient evil directed by a leader of impossible ambitions and incalculable cunning.
In typical James Rollins fashion, much like we all know what to expect from a Dan Brown novel, readers of Rollins books know to expect aspects of the supernatural, sometimes tinged with the paranormal, and often interwoven with hints of otherworldliness. As it turns out, The Blood Gospel is, in the end, a vampire story! Labelled an action/adventure novel, this novel is, in fact, about two very ancient vampiric sects—the Sanguines and the Strigoi—hidden deep within the very fabric of the Catholic Church.
If that doesn’t grab your interest, nothing will. The Blood Gospel is a roller coaster ride that has something for everyone; conspiracy, an ancient mystery, action-adventure, car chases, oh, and a lot of biblical lore!
THE EIGHT by Katherine Neville (Ballentine, 1988)
Computer expert Cat Velis is heading for a job to Algeria. Before she goes, a mysterious fortune teller warns her of danger, and an antique dealer asks her to search for pieces to a valuable chess set that has been missing for years… In the South of France in 1790 two convent girls hide valuable pieces of a chess set all over the world, because the game that can be played with them is too powerful…
The premise for this novel written as it was, 30 years ago now, was considered quite fanciful — a mythical chess set that once assembled can impart unlimited power to those who possess it. Given what has followed since in Neville’s footsteps: Dan Brown, Douglas Preston and James Rollins — this book read by today’s standards might seem a little tame and or bland. But still, it features a computer expert teamed with a Russian chess Grand Master, a mysterious code and musical notations, chess strategy, Fibonacci numbers, and a good does of mysticism. What’s not to like?
THE GUARDIANS OF THE COVENANT by Tom Egeland (John Murray, 2010)
In the year 1013, Viking warriors raided an Egyptian tomb and unknowingly stole the greatest secret of the Old Testament. When a quirky archaeologist finds ancient Viking parchments containing runes and riddles, his mundane life is changed for good. These codes lead him on a quest for clues in mysterious places, from Egyptian tombs to antiquarian bookshops. Powerful forces are against him, but he manages to unveil a religious cover-up with potentially fatal consequences.
This is more a historical adventure rather than actually having any overt supernatural or fantastical elements. But it does delve deep into the mysterious, in and on an intellectual level with old Norse legends, ancient Egyptian superstitions and Christian Secret Societies. With codes, clues, hidden maps, and archaic symbols, I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable adventurous romp. And as the main character follows those clues, we get to know a great deal more about the kind of countries the Vikings visited and invaded, including how they got to Egypt.
Please join me every Friday with the #FantasticalFridays — and share 3 books that while listed as one genre, also contain a fantastical element such as: horror, fantasy, or futuristic. Monsters, demons, magical elements, zombies, time travel, virtual reality … you get the picture.