Monday, October 19, 2009

CSFF Blog Tour: Eric Wilson's Haunt of Jackals


Field of Blood has been in my TBR stack for months now. My plans were to read it before I received Haunt of Jackals, but you know the way of plans. Then when I received Haunt of Jackals to review for the tour, I couldn’t find Field of Blood ANYWHERE. Of course, I find it under a chair after I’m half way through Haunt of Jackals. Imagine that. 

Haunt of Jackals

A decade earlier, Jerusalem's Undead escaped their tombs in the Field of Blood. One of their group was missing, and he will return with a vengeance, fighting his fellow Collectors for control of a vile book--a blueprint that exploits "six things, no, seven, that the Lord hates," as a way of dragging down mankind. As the Collectors vie for dominance, Gina Lazarescu finds herself fleeing through the mountains. She is alone and wounded, but more determined than ever to find and protect the children in her care. She does not know that Cal Nichols still has life-shaking secrets yet to share. She knows only that she is headed for another confrontation with the Collectors, one that will lead from Romanian castles to the Pacific Northwest and eventually to the Haunt of Jackals, birthplace of Judas Iscariot in Israel's arid wastelands. 

This is my first time with an Eric Wilson book. He’s definitely no amateur—eloquent professionalism comes to mind. I’m writing this review as a remake of CARRIE plays on Syfy. Ick?  It somewhat reflects the blood and gore in the Jerusalem Undead series. Be forewarned. Of course, that should probably go without saying to anyone who wants to read a vampire novel. I admit, I may have made a mistake. Not with the writing. Not with the story, but with the blood. 

Because the Collectors (vampires) reside in “reanimated” bodies, I picture them as stiff, broken zombie-like characters. This may not have been Wilson’s intention, but once that image came to mind it stuck. Never mind that they can transition to a new, living host and often do. Bears, boars, birds, whatever suits their needs.

In the opening paragraph of chapter one we find Gina who has cut herself free: 

White-hot pain was the price of her freedom. Her spring dress displayed splotches of red, while the skin of her left arm hung in ribbons where she’d wrenched loose from razor-edged thorns and reached for her weapon. Moments later she’d sliced through the restraints on her right write, then cut the tangle from her throat. . . 

Dripping with blood she wars with another Collector before escaping the cave, thorns still in her neck. For at least the first half of the book, Gina is hiking through the snowy mountains of Romania. She’s running from and eventually fights again with a Collector—a brutal blood-laden battle, that. In my mind, Gina is not looking too well—I imagine she needs a shower or a long hot bubble bath. Battle-weary and covered in crusted blood, she meets an old boyfriend at Bran Castle (of Dracula fame), but he doesn’t seem to notice what should be her gruesome appearance. I’m thinking this could simply be the way of things in vampire novels.

All that aside, the way Wilson has woven spiritual truths through this tale of the undead is impressive, and coupled with a riveting dark and bloody vampire tale, makes this series and Haunt of Jackals a worthy read for vampire novel lovers. 

I’ll end this review with one of my favorite lines in the book-one which reveals a spiritual truth: 

Why was it, Erota wondered, that the very enmity Collectors tried to spill onto mortals seemed to slosh back and infect them as well? Divisions. Strife. Jealousies. All of it, diverting them from their primary task.

Buy Haunt of Jackals here: 

Eric Wilson's website: www.WilonWriter.com

I apologize that I wasn't able to link to participants here. You can find an updated list at Becky Miller's a Christian Worldview of Fiction.



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