© 2014 John Casimir O'Keefe

Review of Blood Doctrine

NO SPOILER ALERT: I need to start off with an honest opening; I am not big on novels, never have been. I seldom read novels. I will admit that this may have something to do with the fact that my mother read them all the time – but they were what she liked to call her “lusty-thigh novels” (and to be honest, picturing your mom reading that stuff turns you off to it quickly). When someone asks me to read a novel, my mind travels to bad drawings of Fabio on the cover with his bare chest, riding horseback holding some beautiful women tight in his arms as she swoons with undying lust; yea, not my cup of tea. Besides, I usually find them long, boring, and just poorly written – Given all that, know this, if I write a review of a novel, and I like the novel, that novel has something I think others should explore – Welcome to Blood Doctrine.

Blood Doctrine, Christian Piatt first novel, is such a read – to say it moved me would be an understatement; no, let me rephrase that, it challenged me to think past current possibilities and encouraged me to want to know more about the characters. When I first heard about Blood Doctrine, I was looking forward to reading it, and I will say it did not disappoint (no Fabio). Christian’s ability to weave a story centering on a topic I find fascinating is amazing. I don’t want to give away any of the story, but let me say, Christian’s ability to weave two stories, that of Jacob and Ya’aqov, into a poetic dance between life today and 2,000 years ago, was artfully done. Christian’s ability to open us to the perspective of what it meant to be an early follower of Jesus, and how things would unfold today truly captivated me from the start.

Soon after the prologue, I found myself drawn into the narrative of the life of this woman (later identified as Colette) giving birth to a child (a young boy, Jacob) she is not allowed to see. I found myself wanting to know more about her, more about her story. I found myself asking questions; Who is this woman? Who is this child? Why did they take him away? Who was in control of all this? With those questions in my mind, along came Nica, the reporter from the New Yorker striving to uncover the mystery of the birth of Jacob – unwittingly at first. Her desire to unwind the narrative, tied-up in a mystery of the Church under the controlling hand of “The Bishop,” draws you into the story, and just as that starts to take hold, you are introduced to Ya’aqov, and you are transported back 2,000 years – than, drawn back to the narrative of Nica. I found the “back and forth” between the “then and now” fascinating, entertaining and enlightening.

Christian’s ability to bring out the narrative of seemingly minor, but very meaningful, back characters shows his ability to weave the narrative in a way that creates a wonderful pattern of life. As the story progresses we meet Elena, Jacobs love, Benyamin a sort of “mentor” to Ya’aqov, and Haman, the Bishop’s henchman. To say these characters are minor does them an injustice, because they are so meaningful to the story at large – because Christian introduced them in such a way that you care about them as much as you do some of the major characters.

As I have mentioned before, I am not big on novels, but Blood Doctrine was well worth the read. The only problem I had with this book is – now I have to wait for the next one, and I pray Christian is thinking of how and when that will happen – and yes, I will read that one also.

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