At the CSFF blog tour, at least. The book of the month for the CSFF is Haunt of Jackals, by Eric Wilson. The Jerusalem Undead trilogy and its first book, Field of Blood, is a far cry from another Wilson book-the novelization of the movie Fireproof. Suspense and the battle between heaven and hell is an Eric Wilson trademark, and that’s what a reader will find in this series.
Since we’re starting in the middle of a series here, there’s bound to be some confusion. Wilson builds an elaborate background for this tale, with a lot of characters and a lot of theology mixed with speculation. Today’s post will explain some of the setting for the books.
The Jerusalem Undead series has been referred to as a “Christian vampire” tale. It doesn’t deal in classic vampires, and they certainly won’t sparkle in the sunlight.
Collectors: These are spirits who had rebelled. Separated from physical senses and pleasure, they can only interact with this world if they are in hosts, whether human or other forms. A special cluster of Collectors forms when the blood of Judas Iscariot (“the man from Kerioth”) soaks a field outside of Jerusalem, the Akeldama or “Field of Blood”, and seeps into a family’s ossuary cavern.
The remains of two human families, the house of Ariston and the house of Eros, are reaminated when these spirits are able to access the remains. Due to the special evil of Judas, they are more powerful than other Collectors. They feed on human blood, but they won’t die if they don’t get it. They can also grow literal thorns in humans that can be harvested, keeping their victims in bondage and using them as pawns. Since “the life is in the blood,” memories can be found in drinking it.
Nistarim: Jewish tradition says there are 36 righteous ones who, in humility and anonymity, carry the burdens of the world while staying God’s hand. In the Christian Bible, we are told that saints came up out of the tombs after Jesus’ death and resurrection. What happened to these people? Could they still be among us, hidden and immortal? Could they, in fact, be the Nistarim, “the Concealed Ones”? These stand against evil such as the Collectors, but if the Nistarim can be destroyed, will it usher in the Judgment?
Gina Lazarescu: We meet this Romanian girl as she is about to turn 12, the age of adulthood according to Judaism. She is central to the story as there are connections between her and both groups. As she grows, will she learn to take her place in this epic struggle, or fall under the weight of the burdens she carries?
Cal Nichols: This man is a mystery, with an unknown connection to Gina and the Nistarim. Is he there to watch over her, or will he be her undoing?
The story veers from Israel to Romania and the United States and back. It is a dense story packed with intrigue and mystery. Check back tomorrow for more on the idea of “Christian vampire” stories, and see my fellow tourmates below for their take on Eric Wilson and his books.
Wayne Thomas Batson
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Rachel Starr Thomson