Blood of the Lamb: A Novel of Secrets

Blood of the Lamb: A Novel of Secrets

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by Sam Cabot
     
 

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Father Thomas Kelly has been called to the Vatican. A Cardinal’s desperate plea: find a missing document that contains a secret so shocking it could shatter the Church. Livia Pietro, in Rome, has been called before the Noantri Conclave. Her mission: join the Jesuit priest on his search—because one misstep could destroy her people as well.

As

Overview

Father Thomas Kelly has been called to the Vatican. A Cardinal’s desperate plea: find a missing document that contains a secret so shocking it could shatter the Church. Livia Pietro, in Rome, has been called before the Noantri Conclave. Her mission: join the Jesuit priest on his search—because one misstep could destroy her people as well.

As Thomas and Livia are thrown into a treacherous whirlwind of art, religion, and age-old secrets, they find themselves pursued by enemies who will do anything to stop them. Only the Conclave knows the true gravity of the document’s revelations. The Noantri—Livia and her people—are vampires. And the unimaginable secrets of their past are far too dangerous for man to ever know.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR BLOOD OF THE LAMB

“Wow…totally unlike any novel ever written about vampires, or secret societies, or Roman art mysteries, or Vatican conspiracies. But Sam Cabot has combined all of these in this refreshing potpourri that provides us surprising and wonderful insights into each—and at the same time, endless fun!”— New York Times bestselling author Katherine Neville

“You never quite catch your breath as the secrets unfold one at a time, all the while building to a first-class conclusion. History, secrets, conspiracies, adventure. What more could you want from a thriller?”—New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry

“Just when you thought vampires were so last year, Sam Cabot’s Blood of the Lamb offers up a fresh, compelling history of the vampire. Like all great works in the genre, this one makes us think deeply about what it really means to be human. Hope there will be more in this vein!”—Leslie S. Klinger, editor of The New Annotated Dracula

“Firmly located in Dan Brown territory, this religious-themed thriller combines historical mystery with modern-day intrigue.…One thing is crystal clear: [Dews and Rozan have] produced a first-rate thriller.”—Booklist

“[An] audacious supernatural religious thriller.”—Publishers Weekly

“I literally could NOT put this book down once I started it! It is more of a roller-coaster read than a Dan Brown novel, with more twists and historical references to keep any history buff running a Google search screen in the background as they are reading it!... This book is just so DIFFERENT— it offers intellect and scientific reasoning combined with myth and produces a book in the vein of a Dan Brown book, but enhanced as it were, to a different level, where childish fantasies do not apply, and where the search for the great unknown exists.”—Bless Their Hearts Mom

“A heady blend of Christian mythology and ecclesiastical reality, Blood of the Lamb is an intricate puzzle of a novel—intensely researched, deeply spiritual, and profoundly sacrilegious. I loved it.”—F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of the Repairman Jack series

“A beautiful contribution to the mystery, paranormal, and thriller genres. It’s an imaginative and historical take on an age-old topic.…Bravo, bravo.”—Bitches with Books

Library Journal
American Jesuit priest Thomas Kelly arrives in Rome at the request of Lorenzo Cossa, archivist and librarian of the Vatican, who asks him to recover a stolen document that could single-handedly destroy the Church. Kelly quickly finds himself running from the police with fellow historian Livia Pietro. It is soon revealed that Pietro is a vampire, referred to as Noantri, and that she’s on a mission to obtain this missing document for Noantri leaders. Their quest takes them on a treasure hunt through various churches and requires a host of deceptions and diversions, as other Noantri seek to expose the document.

Verdict Very similar to The Da Vinci Code and other Vatican conspiracy stories, Cabot’s novel takes the Bible and Catholicism to a supernatural level. This is a very dense read, and a side plot with the police adds little to the story. Religious conspiracy lovers will enjoy, but this thriller won’t do much for those who enjoy chilling vampire tales. Cabot is a pseudonym for authors Carlos Dews and S.J. Rozan.—Chelsie Harris, San Diego Cty. Lib.
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451466891
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/01/2014
Series:
A Novel of Secrets Series, #1
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
717,747
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

All were assembled, silent, waiting: the twelve Counsellors sitting in rows right and left, and between them the Ponti¬fex, whose dark gaze made Livia uneasy even when she encountered him in the most casual of circumstances. Here, in the hush of stones and skeletons, it was all she could do not to squirm. She stood silent; it was protocol that the Pontifex should speak first, though in truth Livia could not, at that moment, have spoken at all. A shuddering conflict had enveloped her, familiar from her first Summoning. Like all Noantri, Livia felt an immediate comfort, a sense of grateful belonging, in a group of her own people. It was physical and instantaneous, a calling of blood to blood. The relief of it had flooded around her when she walked into the crypt. But here, it was illusion. These black-robed Counsellors were not her friends. Standing before them for the first time, she’d sensed individual flashes of sympathy behind the unanimous disapproval. This time, though she didn’t yet know why she was here, nothing but anger filled the dank air.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for Blood of the Lamb

“This is a title to place in the category of ‘coolest religious puzzles ever.’… Plenty of intrigue and secrets with a little bit of romance thrown in for the Twilight aficionados…it is always a whole lot of fun and a highly memorable read.” –Suspense Magazine

"Wow. Blood of the Lamb is totally unlike any novel ever written about vampires or secret societies or Roman art mysteries or Vatican conspiracies. But Sam Cabot has combined all of these, in this refreshing potpourri that provides us surprising and wonderful insights into each—and at the same time, endless fun!"  —Katherine Neville, New York Times bestselling author

"You never quite catch your breath as the secrets unfold one at a time, all the while building to a first class conclusion. History, secrets, conspiracies, adventure. What more could you want from a thriller?" —Steve Berry,New York Times bestselling author

“Just when you thought vampires were so last year, Sam Cabot's Blood of the Lamb offers up a fresh, compelling history of the vampire. Like all great works in the genre, this one makes us think deeply about what it really means to be human. Hope there will be more in this vein!” —Leslie S. Klinger, editor of The New Annotated Dracula

"A heady blend of Christian mythology and ecclesiastical reality, Blood of the Lamb is an intricate puzzle of a novel—intensely researched, deeply spiritual, and profoundly sacrilegious. I loved it." —F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of the Repairman Jack series

"Audacious." Publishers Weekly

“Firmly located in Dan Brown territory, this religious-themed thriller combines historical mystery with modern-day intrigue…One thing is crystal clear: [Dews and Rozan have] produced a first-rate thriller.” –Booklist

“I literally could NOT put this book down once I started it! It is more of a roller coaster read than a Dan Brown novel, with more twists and historical references to keep any history buff running a Google search screen in the background as they are reading it!... This book is just so DIFFERENT- it offers intellect and scientific reasoning, combined with myth and produces a book in the vein of a Dan Brown book, but enhanced as it were, to a different level, where childish fantasies do not apply, and where the search for the great unknown exits.” –BlessTheirHeartsMom.blogspot.com

“A beautiful contribution to the mystery, paranormal and thriller genre. It’s an imaginative and historical take on an age old topic…Bravo, bravo.” – BitchesWithBooks.com

Praise for S.J. Rozan

“To read S.J. Rozan is to experience the kind of pure pleasure only a master can deliver.” –Dennis Lehane

“Okay, listen up: this woman can write! With Winter and Night, S.J. Rozan paints with the full palate of the human heart, using depth, detail, and nuance of character that I haven’t seen since Raymond Chandler. (Yes, I mean it.)” –Robert Crais

“Featuring two of my favorite characters in crime fiction, Bill Smith and Lydia Chin, Winter and Night is a chilling and compelling look at the dark roots of violence among American teens. It is the most intense and topical work from one of the finest crime writers today. This is a writer—and a story—not to miss.” –Linda A. Fairstein

"S.J. Rozan is a good old-fashioned mystery writer, and I mean that as a high compliment." —Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post

"Rozan picks up the pace and adds a new plot twist to pull off another coup." —Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times

“[Rozan] is one of the most consistently solid mystery writers.” –South Florida Sentinel

Behind the creation of Blood of the Lamb from writers S. J. Rozan and Carlos Dews (together aka “Sam Cabot”)

Blood of the Lamb is inextricably linked to place and faith; a particular place and faith of all sorts.

Carlos says:

I was lucky enough, almost six years ago now, to land a job as chair of English at an American liberal arts college in Rome, Italy. The small campus is in the trendy neighborhood of Trastevere, tucked into a bend of the Tiber River, just downstream from the Vatican and across the river from all the sites tourists in Rome must see. To avoid the legendarily long Roman commutes and tangles with the frequent transit strikes, I decided to live in Trastevere and walk to work. I soon began to explore the neighborhood (not to mention the other splendors of Rome—Campo de’ Fiori, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum—that are all nearby).

Walking through the neighborhood with friends and colleagues who had lived there longer than I, I learned a great deal about Trastevere: “This is the church with a reliquary containing a saint’s foot,” “This church was built on the spot where prophetic oil oozed from the ground,” “This church still houses the apothecary that served for centuries as the pharmacy to the popes,” and “This is the place where Saint Peter was believed to have been crucified, upside down.” And then there was the art: “this is Bernini’s breathtaking sculpture of a woman experiencing religious ecstasy that appears very similar to another kind of ecstasy,” “this is the sculpture of a saint, made using her incorrupt body as the model, thirteen hundred years after her death!” Each of these places and works of art seemed to come with a story. But beyond the straightforward historical explanations of their creation there were often other, usually much more intriguing, stories—about the real reason why the church was built, who commissioned the work of art, or what they actually signified. Living in Rome has taught me that things rarely are as they seem. There is always a story beneath the surface, or at least a parallel story to an accepted public explanation.

At the same time, as an outsider unfamiliar with the particular rituals and articles of faith of the Catholic Church, I found much of what I was learning and seeing firsthand to be no less fantastic than supernatural fiction.

Drinking blood, eating flesh, and gaining eternal life.

It is impossible to live in the center of Rome without, even against one’s will or at least one’s inclination, considering how faith, in particular Roman Catholic faith, shapes the environment of the Eternal City.

During the Easter season a couple of years after I arrived in Rome, as I walked down the narrow cobblestoned street from the Ponte Sisto bridge to my apartment near the Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, I was struck with the idea that it might be easy to provide alternative or parallel stories to explain many of the things in my Roman neighborhood—to write a story of secrets that jibes with and yet reinterprets much of what I saw. I began to wonder, removed as I am from the faith that underpins the built environment of Rome—having grown up in East Texas and in the Southern Baptist Church, my experience with Catholicism was very limited—if there might be alternative, yet no less plausible explanations for what I saw around me. What deeper, more disturbing secrets might there be? Blood of the Lamb is the result of this initial idea.

By bringing together two separate mythological traditions (and characters representing each of those traditions, who must work together to uncover secrets of great importance to both their communities—one character a Jesuit priest and the other an art historian who is a member of a heretofore unknown group, the Noantri), I might raise interesting questions about both while introducing people to my newfound neighborhood in Rome and telling a good story.

I knew then that I had all the raw material for a thrilling story, a way to raise valid questions about faith and provide alternative stories for some of the artwork and churches in my new home neighborhood, but, having never written a thriller and not knowing that world, I didn’t want to try to tell this story alone. Enter S. J. Rozan.

S.J. says:

When a mutual friend told me that Carlos, who was in New York for a few days, had a great idea for a book, he wanted a collaborator, and I was perfect for the job, my first reaction was to run away. And I hadn’t even heard the great idea yet.

The concept that would become Blood of the Lamb came into my life as I was doing the edits for my thirteenth novel. I was a crime writer, ensconced in that world that was unknown territory to Carlos. I’d never considered working with a collaborator, never set a novel in a place that wasn’t deeply familiar to me—I’d been to Rome, but didn’t know it on any deep level, not then—and had written a grand total of one paranormal short story. The idea of working on something that involved all three of those things did not, I admit, intrigue me.

But the idea itself did. Not because I loved it—after Carlos and I met for coffee to discuss this collaboration I was sure would never happen, I still hadn’t heard it. That was because Carlos’s agent had. She’d also heard about me. She’d forbidden him to tell me anything about the idea unless and until we had a signed nondisclosure agreement. This, I found interesting. What idea could be so good that an agent was willing to go through the hassle of getting an agreement signed, just so Carlos could tell it to me? Of course, now I had to hear it.

We got the agreement, I heard the idea—okay, I read it, e-mailed from Rome after Carlos went back—and I was wowed. Terrific, excellent, worth waiting for! But I was also immediately worried. It was a great idea, but was it workable? The world-building it required could sink it. Its content would create controversy, even outrage. Carlos and I might not get along. Seriously, did I really want to spend the next year working without a contract on a cowritten paranormal thriller set in Rome?

Practical, sober-minded writer that I am, the answer was: yes! Why? Because that single paranormal story I’d written had freed my inner comic-book-sci-fi geek, who didn’t want to go back in the bottle. It had been more fun than I’d had writing in ages—and working with Carlos, as we tried out some world-building and plot-weaving, was giving me the same kicks.

Thus we began. Because I won’t write about a place I don’t know, of course we had to meet in Rome so that Carlos could introduce me to the churches and works of art—and the cafés, hillside steps, fountains, and friends’ apartments—that would play such major parts in Blood of the Lamb. We discovered new places, unearthed more facts, and found unanswered questions whose answers we happily supplied.

The hard, slogging work and anxious nights came later, of course. They always do, whatever you write. Blood of the Lamb covers some serious ground: issues of faith, tolerance, surprise, and love. I’ve always thought that fiction—especially fiction that sweeps the reader along, page-turning fiction the reader can’t put down—is a great vehicle for talking about these big issues. Making good use of that vehicle demanded commitment—faith, really—on our part: in the story, and in each other.

I hope the world we’ve created, with its hidden communities and alternate explanations of art, architecture, and history intrigues readers, fascinates them, and resonates with them on many levels. And that readers have as much fun discovering the world of Blood of the Lamb as Carlos and I had creating it.

Meet the Author

Carlos Dews is an associate professor and chair of the Department of English Language and Literature at John Cabot University, where he directs the Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation. He lives in Rome, Italy.

S. J. Rozan is the author of many critically acclaimed novels and short stories that have won crime fiction’s greatest honors, including the Edgar®, Shamus, Anthony, Macavity, and Nero awards. Born and raised in the Bronx, Rozan now lives in lower Manhattan.

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The Blood of the Lamb: A Novel of Secrets 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
MarjorieofConnecticut More than 1 year ago
I admit it. If it weren't for the fact that half of the writing team that makes up Sam Cabot wasn't the wonderful mystery writer S.J. Rozan, I might never have read BLOOD OF THE LAMB (A Novel of Secrets). And that would have been a pity because the book is terrific. I could short hand it and say that it's Charlaine Harris meets Dan Brown, but that doesn't give this para-normal thriller enough credit. It's like taking a literary roller coaster ride through the streets of Rome with surprise twists and turns written on a foundation of smart and thought-provoking ideas. I usually hate to give away any plot points that could be spoilers when I talk about books, but I will say that this book is about following two academics, one an American Jesuit priest and the other an Italian art historian. However, that doesn't begin to tell you the people (well...mostly people) you are going to meet and the fantastic places in Rome that the book is going to take you to visit. BLOOD OF THE LAMB is entertaining, full of adventure of the religious and the secular kind and you'll be glad if you grab a copy and dive in for a wild ride that S.J. Rozan and Carlos Dews writing as Sam Cabot have created. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very well-written thriller--historically fascinating, psychologically acute. Recommended. 
tpolen More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved the The Da Vinci Code, not so much The Historian, but after reading the description of this book and a great review on another blog, and I had to have it. Oh, and a priest and vampire working together? That's not something you see every day, right? In adding vampires to this story, I thought the authors were taking a big risk - it could have gone either way. But the scientific explanation of the origin of vampires and how they weren't so different from humans was believable and handled well, adding a whole new dimension to the plot. I particularly enjoyed seeing how Father Thomas Kelly processed and learned to deal with that information. His reactions were completely authentic and he was a highly charismatic character, as was Livia. The book wasn't overloaded with religious information to detract from the plot line, which allowed the novel to progress at a good pace. The differing points of view also added to the character development and allowed me to peek into supporting character's minds and see their motivations. The last chapter of this book revealed some shocking information - what a great ending! - although some people may be offended by it. Overall, I enjoyed this book because of the secrets, fresh take on vampires, and how some characters dealt with questions of faith and prejudices. A fast-paced thriller that deserves a read. This review is based on a digital copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written in Dan Brown's style, throw in some vampires = pretty good book!
CherylM-M More than 1 year ago
Think Da Vinci Code with an essence of Urban Fantasy. Except it has less action, lots of conflict of morality, debates on theology and who is or isn't a mortal. The strength of the book was the debate surrounding faith or questioning of faith and the preconceived ideas that are part and parcel of religious mantras. I found it drawn out and slightly repetitive in many places. The concept wasn't exactly original but the humdinger in the closing chapter is bound to make some readers recoil at the blasphemy or ponder the possibilities (like myself). Sometimes when there is a collaboration of authors, in this case S.J. Rozan and Carlos Dews, who create a story together the melding of the two or more distinct voices can be conducive to the creation. In this book that just wasn't the case. It felt as if both were being so gracious to each other or they took turns creating chapters, that neither voice managed to leap out and grab my interest. What could have been an exciting combination of secrets, treasure hunting and destruction of ancient beliefs, is instead a mediocre read with the occasional passable passage snapping for air. I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well enough written. Far fetched ending. Fair Warning, It may be insulting to the Christian belief.
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JaynaM More than 1 year ago
I bought it because I will eagerly buy anything written by S.J. Rozan. I was not disappointed! It is very different from her usual books but very enjoyable.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*Layla sits in a cushioned chair with her earbuds in absent mindedly playing with her belly button piercing humming quietly, as her wolf Night lays next to her* Ice sits on the couch watching her daughter