Blood of Heaven
by Bill Myers
Blood of Heaven is the first book in the "Fire of Heaven" trilogy. It explores questions of genetics and free will, and of what happens when one comes in contact with the blood of Christ... literally.
The book opens with Michael Coleman, cold-blooded killer and death row inmate. Coleman becomes the subject of an experiment for Genodyne, a bioengineering company that has gotten its hands on what is presumed to be a few drops of the blood of Jesus. What happens when the DNA extracted from that blood drop comes in contact with the "bad blood" Coleman has always borne in his owns veins sets up an exciting series of events, even as it opens up some thought-provoking questions. While I can't say I buy into all the ideas the book presents in relation to those questions, it is at least interesting to ponder. And, the story is gripping enough to make the reader easily set aside her or his disbelief for the duration of the read.
Blood of Heaven is fast-paced and entertaining. I have a few quibbles with stylistic choices made in the writing (especially the intrusiveness of some present-tense segments in which scientific data is reported), and with a thread that seems to me to be not quite tied up at the end (SPOILER ALERT: regarding what happens to Eric, since he must have been infected with all the things that were input into Coleman, not just the good effects), but overall it is a good read. The story is fun, which certainly makes up for those minor discomforts. Even more, the questions the novel opens up make it worth reading.
There is much about the way we operate as humans that we don't understand, such as the roles of nature and nurture in our decision making. With the further complication of the question of the will, the issue becomes that much more complex. These are the sorts of ideas that drive the story of Blood of Heaven that, along with the fast-moving plot, make it a compelling read.
© Shelly Bryant, 2013