This month’s CSFFBT book is Haunt of Jackals, by Eric Wilson. It’s part two in the “Jerusalem’s Undead Trilogy”.
I’ll start by saying that the book was fun, but please read this whole review if you’re taking my word for it. Even though I’m not into the “undead” sort of thing, I enjoyed much of the book. Younger kids may find the elements a bit to scary or creepy though. The characters were great, the flow of the story was pretty good, and the settings had the perfect amount of description. The inclusion of cultural characters was entertaining, and after a while I had a great time trying to figure out who was writing the journal entries scattered through the book. I was taken in about a quarter of the way through the novel, and the only thing that brought me back out was my concern over Biblical issues.
The cover art is nice.
The first thing I noticed as I began reading Haunt of Jackals was the fact that there were four different sections to read BEFORE coming to chapter one. Add to that the fact that I’m starting in the middle of the series, and you have a book that’s hard to jump into uninitiated. One of the opening sections to read is supposed to catch you up from book one (Field of Blood), but of course there’s no real way to do this without reading the first book.
Since I’ve already mentioned the fact that this is part two, I’ll deal with how the book stands on its own… I don’t think it does. Now that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book, but at no point did I feel like I was at the beginning or the end of a tale. It felt abruptly cut off on both ends. I would not suggest reading this book without reading the first book first. You may be disappointed if you don’t have the third book (Valley of Bones) ready when your done with Haunt of Jackals. Again, this is not to say the book itself is disappointing… I only mean to say that it shouldn’t be looked at as its own work. It should be considered the middle of one larger novel. I haven’t read the other two books, so I cannot say anything about them.
For the reader who truly knows their Bible well, this book wouldn’t likely be a problem spiritually. However, it touches on elements that could easily plant false information about the Bible in the mind of even a moderate Bible reader. It brings in fads of false doctrine that may cause one to focus on things that are not only untrue, but irrelevant to life period. The Nephilim being angel/human hybrids is just one example. While it was creative the way Eric worked it all in overall, I don’t think that necessarily makes it worth the risk, as is.
I’m not sure how I feel about how Eric used the blood of Christ in the book. It seems like the point was to really honor the Blood, and maybe it did… I’m just not sure.
These Scriptural problems could have been alleviated by having a forward that warns the reader about each element. With the story being set in our world, it just comes too close to reality for the unaware reader to differentiate between Bible truths and fictional elements. A reader needs to know where to go in the Bible to read about the elements contained in “Haunt of Jackals”, so they can see what’s what.
So I would not recommend this book to those who’ve not read “Field of Blood” (book one). I definitely would say “DO NOT READ” to those who are not very familiar with all parts of the Bible. If the author is able to put in a warning at the beginning of the book it may not be a problem (though adding to the long list of “pre-reads” is not desireable). I also would not recommend this book to a young audience.
I would recommend this book to those who are studious about their Bible, and who still enjoy fiction dealing with undead elements. I’d be interested in reading a novel of Eric Wilson’s that doesn’t deal with the undead. I enjoy his writing style a lot, and want to see what he can do in another arena.
There’s a section of suggested elements to discuss at the end of the book. If you have a group of readers who fit the recommended readers I’ve suggested, then they may enjoy going through those questions together.
For more information, check out…
And to read what other blog tour members thought, visit the sites listed below…
Wayne Thomas Batson
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Rachel Starr Thomson