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Masada, in modern-day Israel: a devastating earthquake kills hundreds in the area and reveals an ancient tomb-temple buried in the rock plateau underlying the ancient fortress. A trio of investigators-Sgt. 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 subterranean temple, which holds the mummified body of a crucified girl. A brutal attack at the site sets the investigators on the run, thrusting them into a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb's sarcophagus: a book rumored to have been written by Christ in his own blood, and said to hold the secrets to his divinity. The enemy who hounds them is like no other, a force of ancient evil including vampires and vampirelike animals. VERDICT This work is all thriller fans would expect from a combination of Rollins (Bloodline) and the Macavity Award-winning Cantrell (A Trace of Smoke): cutting-edge science, ancient history, and a solid gothic mystery plot. Publishing plans call for this to be a trilogy, but this combination may be just too good to stop with only three books. Fans of the authors will not be disappointed, and those who lapped up The Da Vinci Code will be clamoring for more in this series. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/12; the prequel, City of Screams, is available as a digital original: ebk. ISBN 9780062262561-Ed.]-Vicki Gregory, Univ. of South Florida SIS, Tampa (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Rollins, noted for his fast-paced thriller-adventure novels, often decorated with religious iconography, and Cantrell, a writer of historical mysteries with Nazi Germany as the backdrop, combine their talents for this mash-up of thriller and paranormal. After an earthquake destroys the Israeli fortress of Masada, the race is on to find a Jesus gospel that two groups suspect is in the rubble. One is the striogi, soulless, vampirelike creatures, led by evil, tortured Bathory, doing the bidding of Him. The other is the Sanguines, priests protected by the blood of Christ, called to battle the striogi. When Masada falls, archaeologist Erin Granger is there to find artifacts in the destruction. She and Sergeant Jordan Stone, an American soldier, meet the Vatican representative (and Sanguine extraordinaire) Father Rhun Korza, and after that, all hell breaks loose. This could have been an unholy mess, but as in Rollins' previous books, the pacing is heart-pounding and the conceit irresistible. At first, the introduction of ghouls seems gimmicky, but the authors suck you in and make it work. The Da Vinci Code meets vampires. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This first in the Order of the Sanguines series has one hot-name author, one warm one, and a big marketing campaign backing it up.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist
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This ponderous collaboration between Rollins (Bloodline) and Cantrell (A City of Broken Glass) opens with an arresting prologue set in first-century Israel. As the Jewish defenders of Masada prepare for their mass suicide, their leader, Eleazar, ritually sacrifices a young girl in a cave below the mountain fortress. Flash forward to the present, when a cataclysmic explosion destroys Masada, leaving as sole survivor a boy whose cancer was cured by the toxic smoke that emanated from below the mountain. At the request of the Israeli government, archeologist Erin Granger joins forces with Sgt. Jordan Stone, an American Army Ranger, to find out what caused the catastrophe. Add a peculiar Catholic priest and a lost gospel to the attractive male-female team and its quest for the truth, and you have yet another religious thriller with a gimmick that fails to match that of The Da Vinci Code. Agents: (for Rollins) Russ Galen and Danny Baror; (for Cantrell) Elizabeth Evans, Mary Alice Kier, and Anna Cottle. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.