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Publisher's Summary

First published in 1999, This Is My Blood is David Niall Wilson’s first and most important novel. It is a retelling of the gospel from a very different perspective. When Jesus goes into the desert and is tempted by the devil, there is one temptation added. One of the fallen is raised as a woman to tempt him with the flesh. Instead, the woman, named Mary, falls in love with Jesus and his promise of returning her to Heaven. Cursed to follow him and drink the blood of his followers, Mary walks a fine line between her desire to love and support the Christ and her burning need to return to Heaven.

This novel takes the world of faith, which was the world of men,and of the apostles, and shows it through the eyes of a fallen angel – one who has, in her own words, walked the roads of both Heaven and Hell. She doesn’t believe there is a God… she knows. Faithful to the storyline of the original gospels, only weaving in new things when there are gaps in the old, this is a novel of faith, redemption, and ultimate sacrifice.

©1999 David Niall Wilson (P)2011 CrossRoad Press

Critic Reviews

"Religious ecstasy and vampiric bloodlust blend to potent effect in this horror-oriented alternate history of early Christianity.... Wilson's prose is smooth and powerful, carrying its allegorical weight with grace. His first novel is one of the most unique vampire stories to appear in recent years, balancing themes of damnation and prophesy against those of faith and redemption." (Publishers Weekly)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Judas and Mary Magdalen Refined

Many years ago, Howard Jacobson wrote a brave retelling of Genesis called "The Very Model of a Man". This book is in the same spirit, if leaning a little more towards the paranormal. This is unique and compelling reinterpretation of the story of Christ takes place through the eyes of Mary Magdalen, who is decidedly not what she seems.

It helps if you're fairly well versed in the New Testament - especially the Gospels - because it's only then you truly appreciate how clever the author has been with his retelling. But you certainly don't need to be a biblical scholar or religious to appreciate this lateral take on the story.

Although a little short for my taste in audiobooks, it is the right length for the story and the narration is excellent.



7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Bloody Good

Would you consider the audio edition of This Is My Blood to be better than the print version?

Actually, I just might. I tried reading alternately from my Kindle copy of the novel at certain points when I wasn't around my laptop to listen to the audiobook. The writing is heavily evocative and is only amplified more by the performance of Pip Ballantine. With the epic vibe of the story, listening to it as opposed to reading it gave me that nostalgic feeling of watching those classic Biblical films of the mid-twentieth century.

What other book might you compare This Is My Blood to and why?

The subject matter is quite different, but I was reminded a bit of Anne Rice's "Servant of the Bones." Blending vampyric tropes with deities seems to suit both authors.

What does Philippa Ballantine bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Philippa Ballantine proved herself a consummate narrator, tapping into the tone of the material and drawing out as much tension and empathy when needed for each scene.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No one in particular. I don't normally go for ancient history as a backdrop in my fiction, so it was a wonder I was so engaged with the story--again all credit going to David's writing and Philippa's narration. For me, I was won over with the idea of Mary Magdalene as a vampire created by Lucifer and destined to be Jesus Christ's ruination. That's pure gold.

Any additional comments?

The story doesn't bog itself down with weighty amounts of exposition. The story moves very fluidly even during the quieter moments. And any Christians with concerns of a horror novel involving the Lord and Savior, need not be, as David Niall Wilson does an admirably job in telling his story without playing fast and loose with biblical scripture. Well, save for a couple minor things, but that's still nothing to quibble over.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • C.T.
  • Ashland, Ky USA
  • 10-03-18

Mary Magdalene, Vampire vs. Satan

Jesus gets a lot of vampire jokes made about him. I say this with dead seriousness. "JESUS THE VAMPIRE: Jesus gave his blood, now he wants it back - coming to a theater near you" is a T-shirt I've seen before. This is a in part because the 19th century vampire (and later Hammer Horror's depictions) is a creature which incorporates many elements designed to exist in blasphemous opposition to God. They rise three days after death, they are repulsed by the cross, they drink and share blood to provide immortality, and so on. The vampire is the ultimate enemy of Christ beyond sin itself because it is living death versus eternal life.

I should mention that this book doesn't make Jesus a vampire. It's about Mary Magdalen being revealed as a fallen angl incarnated during the Temptation of Chist by Satan and then cursed by the Devil to thirst for the blood of the living. Our first vampiress thus hangs at the margins of the New Testament until the death as well as resurrection of Rabbi Joshua Ben Joseph.

In many respects, it's a straight vampire story as our antiheroine wanders from the desert and starts feeding on humans. At first, she plans to kill those who are "guilty" but this being a novel set during the New Testament, her choices are less than satisfactory from a redemption standpoint. Mary can read the sins of human beings and know their thoughts but this doesn't give her any sense of "humanity" that would allow her to understand nuance or judgement. Killing an adulterer is the same as killing a murderer or a thief.

Much like the film version of THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (I didn't read the book) this is about Jesus' relationship to the religion he leaves behind. Instead of Peter vs. Paul like in that work, it's Peter vs. Judas here with the idea of a lost "Book of Judas" that provides the vampire-related subject matter of the Bible with poor Peter getting possessed during events. Basically, if you haven't run screaming from the book so far, you'll be fine. It's a book about our characters' deeply conflicted relationship between faith, Jesus, Christianity, hypocrisy, and the rules generated from both.

The real benefit of David Wilson's work here is his florid prose which is full of all the Gothic melodrama and big ideas which made INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE and THE VAMPIRE LESTAT entertaining. Early on, King Herod's daughter is made into a vampire and pretty much laughs at Jesus' offer of salvation, finding being undead far more entertaining than the idea of immortal salvation. It's a great moment simply because in a book about the literal divine presence of God in the world, we have a teenage girl preferring being a sexy monster.

Personally, I loved this book and think it's great for people who want to deal with vampires in non-traditional situations. Throwing out all the religious symbolism and meaning (which is a bit like saying, "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"), it's still a good Goth horror novel. Mary is an interesting character in the fact she is a blank slate stumbling around through a world she was never a part of to begin with as well as trying to make sense of the bizarre situation she's found herself.

So, if you're feeling in the mood for something artsy and love Christian mythology as a sufficiently open-minded believer or as a jaded but fascinated by religion disbeliever then I suspect this will definitely appeal to you. It definitely has inspired me to read David Niall Wilson's Ashen Grail trilogy about an order of vampire Templars--though that is set in the World of Darkness.

The audio is great as well. Top notch narration.