The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar.
Blood Infernal, the third installment, by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell is an amazing finale to the Sanguines series. It combines what Rollins is known for and does so well, his ability to intermix an adventure story with religion and history, with a dose of a love story and a supernatural mystery.
Rollins noted to blackfive.net, “I write three different series, but they all have the flavor of the same storyline where I use fiction intertwined with taking science and history two steps to the right, left, or forward. This is my passion. For example, the Bible scriptures were used in this book to connect biblical history to the present day, an introduction of sort to each chapter, an echo of the context of that chapter. This is a way of showing how the storyline is based on real Christian thought. Unlike the other series I write I did not put in at the end a ‘what’s true and what’s not.’ A lot of the details with regard to references of the Bible and policy procedures of the Vatican are pretty accurate. My cousin is a Priest who helped me with the information. I guess it can best be described as an alternate history with regard to the Church.”
The story takes off from the very first page. The series heroes return: The Knight of Christ, Rhun Korza; The Warrior of Man, Jordan Stone; and the Woman of Learning, Erin Granger, along with the person able to connect key information, Countess Elizabeth. They travel throughout Europe on a quest to save mankind, while keeping the “Gates of Hell” locked. With the Apocalypse looming the protagonists must battle a demon named Legion, and face the devil himself, Lucifer. This fight of good versus evil includes philosophical questions about salvation, lost innocence, and damnation. All the pieces come together in this riveting thriller where the heroes must survive horrific battles, betrayals, and grueling tests of perseverance.
Because he is so supportive of the armed forces all his books have a military main character. The Sanguines series features the Warrior Jordan Stone, the dog series highlights Tucker Wayne, a former military dog handler, and the Sigma series has Gary Pierce. As with many of those serving, Jordan is someone dependable, intuitive, and willing to sacrifice all to keep those he cares about safe.
The other characters are exciting and captivating. They are well developed, dynamic, and realistic in that readers forget they are vampires. Countess Elizabeth has a fantastic and intriguing personality that has grown throughout the three books. At times she is described as bad but a more accurate description would be she is a bad a_ _. She is one of those who will tell it like it is and is not afraid to hold back. Her actions always seem to have some reason behind it such has her desire to protect those she loves. She is very confident in her own resolve, her personal right and wrong.
Rollins believes Elizabeth “has a self-defining morality that steers her. She turned her interest in medicine, science, and healing into using experiments in an attempt to understand her vampire nature. Her morals are based on saving the ones she loves. She was not evil for evil sake but has her own moralistic needle.”
Elizabeth is contrasted well with the head of the Sanguines, Cardinal Bernard. While she appears to have no faith, not believing in G-d, he justifies what he does in the name of religion and is shown to be a huge hypocrite. He is good at identifying and condemning others while ignoring his own sins. Another excellent contrast is science versus religion, which is seen through the eyes of archeologist Dr. Erin Granger. Being a scientist she must try to balance that with faith and morality, weighing the tangible evidence and facts of science with the miracles of religion. The storyline wonderfully shows how there is this mixture of gray area where no belief is concrete.
Blood Infernal has a wonderful and thrilling plot. The sad part is that this is the last book in the series for now. The authors skillfully combine historical elements of Christianity, science, and love into a wonderful story that is action packed and will tug at the reader’s emotions. It is a must read for anyone who wants to be glued to a book.