It very rare that you find a novel about the true romance of life, and Ted Dekker manages to overcome that challange every book he writes. The end of this book left me speechless. For all those who fear that this book is too dark, un-Godly, or just another vampire spin off, it isn't. Read it, all the way, and be plunged into your Beloved's sacred blood. You must survive the night to see the rising sun.
This is, without a doubt, the most powerful book I have ever read, and easily Ted Dekker's best. This time around, he deals with vampires. No, they do NOT sparkle, and NO, this IS NOT an attempt to appeal to Twilight fans!
Anyways, this book is brilliantly written and perfectly told, with genius and powerful use of symbolism and a perfect representation of temptation and the dangers of giving in.
Now, here is a message to a few 1-star reviewers:
HOW is this book "evil"? HOW is it "too sensual"? Have you seen the trash on TV and in the movies? Have you heard of the sickening smash-hit novel Fifty Shades of Grey? Another thing: what do you think the point of the book is? This is a warning about temptation! If a novel is to convey such a great message, there MUST be darkness and temptation involved! And what better way to do so than using sexual temptation, easily the most deadly of temptation? If you think this is too sensual, then remember: it could have been much, MUUUUUCH worse. There were no sex scenes; it was only implied. Do you want your characters to be perfect? Honestly!
Anyways, I'm done venting my frustration. And forgive me if I sounded rude; I was only making a point. Always portray evil as evil, or else you accomplish NOTHING.
To the people who never finished the book because they thought it was too dirty and had no spiritual message, I have this to say: read it from cover to cover. You can't miss the point of the book.
So, would I recommend this? Without a DOUBT!
Now, if you are simply not comfortable with reading sensual scenes or vampires, then I can understand you not reading this. But don't make the mistake of calling it "evil". That's a senseless accusation.
I am a dedicated Ted Dekker fan, from the Circle books through The Bride Collector. This one I didn't care for. I'm not sure if it's the time period or the vampires that turned me off, but I would not recommend this one. Sorry Mr. Dekker, but kudos on The Priest's Graveyard.
The most beautiful thing about the book, as with all Dekker books, is no matter who the lead character is, he is always flawed. His strength only comes from Christ making Him the true hero of the novel rather than the protagonist. In the end, the message of redemptive love is made perfectly clear through this novel. It allows one to relive this astonishingly wonderful tale of good overcoming evil no matter what the cost.
The story is the first person tale of Toma Nicolescu, a warrior in the service of Catherine the Great, empress of Russia during the Russo-Turkish War in 1772. It is also the third person account of Lucine Cantemir, the woman Catherine sent Toma to protect. But Toma doesn't know what he is to protect Lucine from.
Lucine lives with her mother and sister in Castle Cantemir in Moldavia. All three women had led a life of wanton sexuality, but Lucine had learned a few things to give her a more mature outlook on life. Toma falls for the beautiful Lucine but cannot speak because of his oath to his empress.
Soon a strange group of Russians visits from a nearby castle, led by one Vlad van Valerik. Toma seems the only one to be suspicious of these smooth-talking, enticing men and women, but he's not certain it isn't just his jealousy at work. Lucine's sister succumbs immediately to their charm, and the next morning Toma finds her with blood on her face and no memory of what happened, other than it was wonderful.
Various of them visit the nearby castle, and Toma discovers the Russians to be inhuman. One who had died is now alive again. They also have a taste for blood, and Toma himself nearly succumbs. But when Vlad van Valerik begins to woo Lucine, Toma senses true danger and begins to act.
That's about all of the plot I'm willing to give away. I'll just say that (to me) that first part of the book took too long, seemed too slow. Things definitely picked up after that, and took some surprising turns on its way to the conclusion.
Two things stand out about this book, besides the voice of Toma. One, it addresses today's fascination with vampires in a fictional but Christian manner. Two, it is not a book for those who are squeamish about lust and longing spread out across the page.
If you are curious about the title of the book, think of the hymn whose first verse begins:
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
Do I recommend the novel? Maybe. It depends. The blurb on the author's website ends with this line, and it is true. "But remember, not everyone is for this story."