Thursday, July 9, 2009

This Is My Blood

A reprinted and slightly re-written post from elsewhere...

This Is My Blood, by David Niall Wilson (one of my favorite writers), first published in 1999, is a book of extraordinary depth. It takes some of the conventions of horror (vampires, demonic possession, the Lilith legend) and uses them to explore the foundations of Christianity in a way that takes seriously the religious issues raised. In my own life, for purposes of reference, I was raised Southern Baptist, converted to Catholicism, and now don’t believe in the supernatural at all. Despite this, since I first read This Is My Blood seven or eight years ago, it has stuck with me. This is also a perfect book to read in the Christmas season, for obvious reasons.

The book covers the same period of the life of Christ found in the conventional gospels. Jesus has gone into the desert and is tempted by Lucifer. As part of the temptation, Lucifer brings forth a female fallen angel to tempt Christ with the desires of the flesh. To Satan’s surprise, the newly created woman responds to Jesus’ offer of redemption. In anger, Lucifer curses the woman, who will be known as Mary Magdalene, to live off the blood of humans, and to shun the daylight – the first vampire.

The book follows Mary’s attempt’s to gain redemption, and also features an alternate view of Judas, here seen as the most faithful of disciples. Although it is obviously quite different from conventional theology, Wilson’s skill brings these familiar characters to life in a new way, and makes you feel the suspense of what the outcome will be – even though you already know it.

Those who are easily offended by alternate depictions of Christ won’t care for this, but I doubt they read much anyway. This book is an underrated classic, and Wilson is one of the genre’s best-kept secrets. You will find great reward if you read this book. When I checked earlier this week, The Horror Mall had at least one copy in stock, and This Is My Blood has also been reprinted under the inferior (in my opinion) title of Temptation of Blood. Check it out. If you are looking for something past the endless action sequences of a lot of horror novels, this should interest you.

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