Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obligatory Review: Field of Blood by Eric Wilson

Field of Blood is a Christian Fantasy novel written by Eric Wilson and published by Thomas Nelson. I received a free copy through their Book Review Blogger program and quite frankly that is the reason I finished it instead of dropping it on the floor and finding something more productive to do. As a whole, it is a readable book. By that I mean that at no point did I dread turning to the next page and it didn’t put me to sleep. I can also say that at about page 375 of 400 the story picks up pace and it becomes a page turner.

Though it comes from a Christian publishing company, Field of Blood is based more on Jewish mysticism than on biblical teaching. It pays homage to Christian beliefs, but at the same time has several weaknesses. For example, the primary good guy in the book is a female with immortality. The Bible tells that the wages of sin is death and yet this woman is immortal even though she practices fornication and doesn’t know Jesus.

I have had some trouble trying to classify the plot of Field of Blood. Part of that is because the plot is so disjointed. The plot jumps back and forth from Gina to the vampires. Until you get to about page 375, Gina’s story and the vampires’ story has little to do with each other. They cross paths occasionally, but they are far removed from each other. Even so, if we use Blake Snyder’s terminology, I believe Field of Blood can be best described as Monster in the House because there is a sin that releases these Monsters into the main character’s world. The problem with this classification is one that clearly defines my main issue with this novel. The house is missing.

As Blake Snyder describes Monster in the House, the house is needed to prevent us from simply walking away from the monster we created. But that’s exactly what Wilson does with Gina. The monsters are in Romania, so he sends Gina to the State of Tennessee to keep her safe. One of the vampires does eventually find her but the only thing that happens is that the vampire hires someone to kill Gina’s baby with a bomb, which now that I think about it seems like an odd way for a vampire to kill a baby. The problem that exists when the hero and villain are so far removed from each other is that the tension falls flat. Another problem with Field of Blood is that the villains keep dying. Gina has no part in the villains dying until after page 375, but they keep dropping dead anyway. It reaches a point when you start to think that since Gina is immortal she should just wait these guys out and let them die.

What I would have liked to have seen with this novel is villains who were more evil, heroes who were more good and more direct head to head conflicts between the two. My recommendation is that if you are looking for a good vampire book, go read Bram Stoker’s Dracula again.


Anonymous said...

Tim, thanks for taking the time to finish the book. I'm a born again believer who wanted to bridge Jewish and Christian traditions in an atmospheric story, along the lines of The Historian and The Screwtape Letters.

I appreciate your comments. Obviously, many readers have disagreed, but there are some who've had a hard time getting into it. It's a very allegorical book, with numerous sections taken straight from Scripture. I'm a little surprised you didn't recognize more of the Christian theology that simmers all throughout, particularly the demonic battle, the power of the cleansing blood, and the threat of sin's thorns.

Despite our obvious differences of opinion, I do thank you for being honest. I wish you all the best in your writing.

If, by some long stretch of the imagination, you are interested in the sequel, Haunt of Jackals, I can send you a copy when they come out. It's already done, and I'm about to start on the third book.

Anonymous said...

So, did you like the book overall, or didn't you? One can't tell from your review.

Anonymous said...

Ok I have to disagree with Timothy's review. I enjoyed all of it and read it as it was written. The first of a series that does the developing of characters and background. I enjoyed the imagination to follow the story and to allow for certian things that are just not real.
P.S. Eric if you want to send me a copy of book #2 I would be very glad to read it...

Lisa W said...

I just finished reading Field of Blood. There is a lot of Jewish tradition and history, but the Christian allegory ran very deep. The author did not unpack them completely for the reader, which I apreciated - let me think for myself. The last 50 pages of the book were the most engaging,certainly. I would have liked to see less of the Collector's squabbling and more of Gina. I struggled to resist the urge to skip over those parts. They didn't seem as key to the main story - which of course followed Gina and her revelation. I'll be sure and pick up the next novel, but as a fan of vampire fiction I think this fell a little short, but it's a great twist on a very old story in more ways than one. I liked it!