Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Blood Gospel by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

 


 
 


Erin Granger Interview

Dr. Erin Granger is one of three main characters in The Blood Gospel. She is a noted archaeologist who specializes in revealing the truth about events mentioned in the Bible—always following the evidence and not a spiritual agenda.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

Into the past. I get as close as I can with my digs, but I would love to travel back in time to see and record the countless details that time has erased.

What was the scariest moment of your life?

In a cave under the collapsing mountain of Masada a truth was revealed to me that made me question everything I had ever known about history, science, and the Church. That was more frightening to me than any battle or life or death situation could ever be. (Author’s note: Erin has been sworn to secrecy, but I can reveal that she learned of the existence of feral vampires, called strigoi, and a sect of strigoi within the Catholic Church who subsist on transubstantiated wine and battle to keep humanity safe from the feral strigoi).

What are your favorite TV shows?

I love Saturday morning cartoons, like Ben-10.

What group did you hang out with in high school?

I was homeschooled on a small religious compound in the mountains of California, but I ran away from home when I was 17. So, I didn’t attend high school.

Do you play any sports?

I ride horses and I’m also a pretty good shot.

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?

My baby sister, Emma. She knows why.

What would we find under your bed?

Dust bunnies, a box of potsherds, and a gun safe.

What makes you happy?

Solving  puzzles in the past. I love being able to put together tiny ancient clues that  reveal the truth. On a more mundane level, chocolate always makes me happy too.

 
 
 

 
In his first-ever collaboration, New York Times bestselling author James Rollins combines his skill for cutting-edge science and historical mystery with award-winning novelist Rebecca Cantrell's talent for haunting suspense and sensual atmosphere in a gothic tale about an ancient order and the hunt for a miraculous book known only as . . . The Blood Gospel

An earthquake in Masada, Israel, kills hundreds and reveals a tomb buried in the heart of the mountain. A trio of investigators—Sergeant Jordan Stone, a military forensic expert; Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist—are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body of a mummified girl.

But a brutal attack at the site sets the three 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's own hand, a tome that is said to hold the secrets to His divinity. The enemy who hounds them is like no other, a force of ancient evil directed by a leader of impossible ambitions and incalculable cunning.

From crumbling tombs to splendorous churches, Erin and her two companions must confront a past that traces back thousands of years, to a time when ungodly beasts hunted the dark spaces of the world, to a moment in history when Christ made a miraculous offer, a pact of salvation for those who were damned for eternity.

Here is a novel that is explosive in its revelation of a secret history. Why do Catholic priests wear pectoral crosses? Why are they sworn to celibacy? Why do the monks hide their countenances under hoods? And why does Catholicism insist that the consecration of wine during Mass results in its transformation to Christ's own blood? The answers to all go back to a secret sect within the Vatican, one whispered as rumor but whose very existence was painted for all to see by Rembrandt himself, a shadowy order known simply as the Sanguines.

In the end, be warned: some books should never be found, never opened—until now.




  
 

Dr. Erin Granger stroked her softest brush across the ancient skull. As the dust cleared, she studied it with the eyes of a scientist, noting the tiny seams of bone, the open fontanel. Her gaze evaluated the amount of callusing, judging the skull to be that of a newborn, and from the angle of the pelvic bone, a boy.
Only days old when he died.
As she continued to draw the child out of the dirt and stone, she looked on also as a woman, picturing the infant boy lying on his side, knees drawn up against his chest, tiny hands still curled into fists. Had his parents counted his heartbeats, kissed his impossibly tender skin, watched as that tiny heartbeat stopped?
As she had once done with her baby sister.
She closed her eyes, brush poised.
Stop it.
Opening her eyes, she combed back an errant strand of blond hair that had escaped its efficient ponytail before turning her attention back to the bones. She would find out what happened here all those hundreds of years ago. Because, as with her sister, this child’s death had been deliberate. Only this boy had succumbed to violence, not negligence.
She continued to work, seeing the tender position of the limbs. Someone had labored to restore the body to its proper order before burying it, but the efforts could not disguise the cracked and missing bones, hinting at a past atrocity. Even two thousand years could not erase the crime.
She put down the wooden brush and took yet another photo. Time had colored the bones the same bleached sepia as the unforgiving ground, but her careful excavation had revealed their shape. Still, it would take hours to work the rest of the bones free.
She shifted from one aching knee to the other. At thirty-two, she was hardly old, but right now she felt that way. She had been in the trench for barely an hour, and already her knees complained. As a child, she had knelt in prayer for much longer, poised on the hard dirt floor of the compound’s church. Back then, she could kneel for half a day without complaint, if her father demanded—but after so many years trying to forget her past, perhaps she misremembered it.
Wincing, she stood and stretched, lifting her head clear of the waist-high trench. A cooling sea breeze caressed her hot face, chasing away her memories. To the left, wind ruffled the flaps of the camp’s tents and scattered sand across the excavation site.
Flying grit blinded her until she could blink it away. Sand invaded everything here. Each day her hair changed from blond to the grayish red of the Israeli desert. Her socks ground inside her Converse sneakers like sandpaper, her fingernails filled up with grit, even her mouth tasted of sand.
Still, when she looked across the plastic yellow tape that cordoned off her archaeological dig, she allowed a ghost of a smile to shine, happy to have her sneakers planted in ancient history. Her excavation occupied the center of an ancient hippodrome, a chariot course. It faced the ageless Mediterranean Sea. The water shone indigo, beaten by the sun into a surreal, metallic hue. Behind her, a long stretch of ancient stone seats, sectioned into tiers, stood as a two-thousand-year-old testament to a long-dead king, the architect of the city of Caesarea: the infamous King Herod, that monstrous slayer of innocents.
A horse’s whinny floated across the track, echoing not from the past, but from a makeshift stable that had been thrown together on the far end of the hippodrome. A local group was preparing an invitational race. Soon this hippodrome would be resurrected, coming to life once again, if only for a few days.
She could hardly wait.
But she and her students had a lot of work to finish before then.
With her hands on her hips, she stared down at the skull of the murdered baby. Perhaps later today she could jacket the tiny skeleton with plaster and begin the laborious process of excavating it from the ground. She longed to get it back to a lab, where it could be analyzed. The bones had more to tell her than she would ever discover in the field.
She dropped to her knees next to the infant. Something bothered her about the femur. It had unusual scallop-shaped dents along its length. As she bent close to see, a chill chased back the heat.
Were those teeth marks?
“Professor?” Nate Highsmith’s Texas twang broke the air and her concentration.
She jumped, cracking her elbow against the wooden slats bracing the walls from the relentless sand.
“Sorry.” Her graduate student ducked his head.
She had given strict instructions that she was not to be disturbed this morning, and here he was bothering her already. To keep from snapping at him, she picked up her battered canteen and took a long sip of tepid water. It tasted like stainless steel.
“No harm done,” she said stiffly.
She shielded her eyes with her free hand and squinted up at him. Standing on the edge of the trench, he was silhouetted against the scathing sun. He wore a straw Stetson pulled low, a pair of battered jeans, and a faded plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up to expose well-muscled arms. She suspected that he had rolled them up just to impress her. It wouldn’t work, of course. For the past several years, fully focused on her work, she acknowledged that the only guys she found fascinating had been dead for several centuries.
She glanced meaningfully over to an unremarkable patch of sand and rock. The team’s ground-penetrating radar unit sat abandoned, looking more like a sandblasted lawn mower than a high-tech tool for peering under dirt and rock.
“Why aren’t you over there mapping that quadrant?”
“I was, Doc.” His drawl got thicker, as it always did when he got excited. He hiked an eyebrow, too.
He’s found something.
“What?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Nate bounced on the balls of his feet, ready to dash off and show her.
She smiled, because he was right. Whatever it was, she wouldn’t believe it until she saw it herself. That was the mantra she hammered into her students: It’s not real until you can dig it out of the ground and hold it in your hands.


 
Rebecca Cantrell’s Hannah Vogel mystery/thriller novels have won the Bruce Alexander and Macavity awards and been nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark, Barry, and RT Reviewers Choice awards; her critically-acclaimed cell phone novel, iDrakula, was nominated for the APPY award and listed on Booklist’s Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth.

She also writes the Order of the Sanguines series with New York Times bestselling thriller author James Rollins. The first in the series, The Blood Gospel, will appear in January 2013.

She and her husband and son just left Hawaii’s sunny shores for adventures in Berlin. Find Rebecca Cantrell on Facebook, Twitter, and at www.rebeccacantrell.com.


 
 
 
JAMES ROLLINS is the New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers, translated into more than forty languages. His Sigma series has been lauded as one of the "top crowd pleasers" (New York Times) and one of the "hottest summer reads" (People Magazine). In each novel, acclaimed for its originality, Rollins unveils unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets--and he does it all at breakneck speed and with stunning insight.

James Rollins decided to become a writer as a boy immersed in the scientific adventures of Doc Savage, the wonders of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and pulps such as The Shadow, The Spider, and The Avenger. He honed his storytelling skills early, spinning elaborate tales that were often at the heart of pranks played on his brothers and sisters.

Although his talent emerged and grew, writing was not James' original profession. Before he would set heroes and villains on harrowing adventures, he embarked on a career in veterinary medicine, graduating from the University of Missouri and establishing a successful veterinary. This hands-on knowledge of medicine and science helps shape the research and scientific speculation that set James Rollins books apart.




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