THE SHROUD by David W. Moore

shroud1046 AD.  Monks, an Abbot.  I’m sucked in already because I love anything that starts off in medieval times, especially in monasteries.   It’s a weakness, I know.  So what we’ve got here in the middle of the Middle Ages is a monk obviously possessed by some force, ranting and raving about

When golems walk through firefly rain, when mankind lives in the heart of glass playing out vitrified un-lives in formless clouds, then there shall come to pass a great plague.  It will be the longest plague to threaten this world.

Wow.  I expected his head to twirl around in a full circle after he vomits green yak a la The Exorcist, but no,  after a lot more raving, he dies.  And those black shadow-y things — oh, did I forget to mention the evil shadowy things? — slink out of the monk’s cell.

Well!  Gonna be a little hard to top THAT act, but wait til you see what ensues!

Next we have some priests in modern times sneaking into where the shroud is kept — yeah, THAT shroud, the holy one with the alleged imprint of Christ’s face.   But they don’t steal it — they scrape off a little of the blood onto a small knife, replace it back in its container, and sneak out.

I know, you want to know when are we going to get to the cloning part.  Here is where we get to it.   They clone Jesus from that blood scraped off the shroud, hoping to bring goodness and peace back into the world and banish evil.  Yeah, well, nice try.  I don’t think playing God ever works out too well, do you?

The new Jesus is named Christian.   Makes ya wanna smile, doesn’t it.  Christian doesn’t live up to the hopes of his creators. In fact, he seems downright…… strange.  Worse than strange.  Bad.  Evil.  But how can this be?  That’s what happens when you mess with the Almighty.

The rest of the book drives relentlessly on to its inevitable conclusion.  Or is it inevitable?   The body count piles up, the supernatural nasties multiply, and we even get to meet Moloch and Samael.   Moloch in the Old Testament was one of those who sacrificed their children by fire and has been used figuratively in literature to refer to a person or thing demanding or requiring a very costly sacrifice.   Getting goosebumps here.    Samael was an archangel with often grim and destructive duties.  In the New Testament he is called Satan, and in Jewish lore, the Angel of Death.   You might get the idea that these two bode nothing good.  You would be right.

I will leave you with one last quote:

Why must prophecies always be spoken in riddles?

My thoughts exactly.

Bottom line:  well-written fast paced paranormal thriller with way more blood and gore than I like to contemplate, (which perhaps makes is a horror story as well?), great premise, and some wisdom about unintended consequences we can all take to heart.

Looks like there is a sequel in the works, because the title is Volume I, and because the ending….. well, read it yourself to see if you agree.


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