Today we have two books that prompted our reviewer to invoke the name of Indiana Jones–and for good reason. Anne Fortier’s The Lost Sisterhood and James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell’s Innocent Blood are both rollicking adventure stories, starring University professors, and laden with religious and mythological overtones–precisely the elements that make Steven Spielberg’s archaeologist-adventurer so captivating.
Innocent Blood–the second book in The Order of the Sanguines series, after Blood Gospel, which we reviewed here–focuses on a Dan-Brown-like Christian-conspiracy plot, while The Lost Sisterhood takes on Greek-mythology, specifically the famous Amazon tribe. Both are fast-paced, conspiracy thrillers sure to please teens out for a high adrenaline read.
Readers who can’t wait for the third volume in The Order of the Sanguines may be interested to know that Rollins and Cantrell have written two ebook-exclusive companions to the series, City of Screams and Blood Brothers.
FORTIER, Anne. The Lost Sisterhood. 608p. Ballantine. Mar. 2014. Tr $27. ISBN 9780345536228; ebk. ISBN 9780345536235.
For many readers, Amazons are either Wonder Woman’s race, characters in the “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” series, or a passing mention in Greek myths. To Diana Morgan, a lecturer at Oxford specializing in languages and obsessed with Amazons, they’re the reason she’s not taken seriously in the academic community. When a mysterious offer to help decode an unknown script is presented, Diana is off on an adventure that takes her from Amsterdam to northern Africa to Turkey to Scandinavia. The script she’s shown at a hidden archaeological dig reminds her of a dictionary of sorts that her grandmother wrote – and for some reason there are versions of the bracelet Diana’s inherited from her admittedly strange (to the point of being committed) grandmother. What she sees at the dig further fuels her belief that the Amazons did exist—and may still. The text she decodes is fleshed out for readers in a flashback to the world of the Amazon women and their history; this story mimics Diana’s movement around the globe as she tries to solve the intertwined mysteries of the text, the bracelets, and her grandmother. Added to the mix are two potential love interests, both of whom may be working purely on their own behalf and contrary to Diana’s interests. This is a conspiracy book that calls to mind the Indiana Jones films with archaeological digs and relics as well as Kate Mosse’s “Languedoc” trilogy (Putnam) and Kathleen McGowan’s “The Magdalene Line Trilogy” (S & S).—Laura Pearle, Miss Porter’s School, Farmington, CT
ROLLINS, James & Rebecca Cantrell. Innocent Blood. 448p. (Order of the Sanguines Series). Morrow. Dec. 2013. Tr $27.99. ISBN 9780061991066; ebk. ISBN 9780062300188.
The second installment in the series is just as action- and vampire-packed as the first book. The prologue to the main story is set in Jerusalem in 1099, when Bernard (then a knight, now the Vatican’s highest ranking Sanguine, but always a vampire who has been “saved” via the blood of Christ) attempts to learn from a mural what Christ’s last miracle was, only to find that the image has been destroyed. Flash forward to today, and in a setting very similar to the start of the Indiana Jones movies. Dr. Erin Granger is teaching at Stanford University. Unlike Dr. Jones’s employers, Stanford is not happy with her recent exploits and is quietly easing her out— and then the blasphmeres (werebeasts) attack Erin and her graduate advisee Nate. Of course she’s rescued by Jordan and Father Christian, who take her back to the Vatican where only she can help them bring the Blood Gospel to the First Angel. But wait: Elizabeth Bathory has woken from her centuries-long bath in wine and might— just might —be the Woman of Learning the prophecy calls for, not Erin. As in Blood Gospel, the pace is brutal, and cliffhangers abound. Rasputin makes another appearance, and Judas plays a much larger role than before; new to the cast is Arella, better known as the Oracle (of Delphi, or wherever she made her home), an angel on Earth. Just to make things interesting, there’s a mole in the Vatican, betraying Bernard’s plans to Judas. Irony intended. Readers who enjoyed the first book will devour this one and eagerly wait for the final volume. This series is highly recommended for those looking for action, vampires, and religious conspiracy all rolled into one.—Laura Pearle, Miss Porter’s School, Farmington, CT