Monday, September 13, 2010

book review: "immanuel's veins" by ted dekker

Toma Nicolescu and Alek Cardei are assigned to protect Kesia Cantemir and her twin daughters, Lucine and Natasha. The two men arrive at the Cantemir estate in Moldavia to find the women celebrating by hosting a Summer Ball of Delights. Shortly after their arrival, Toma’s filled with unease at the presence of a handful of Russians. These guests stand out from the rest, dressed in all black with the women wearing tight-fitting and rather revealing clothing. Alek’s immediately transfixed by Natasha, deciding she will soon become another of his conquests. Toma is taken by Lucine but because of his loyalty to Catherine the Great, he keeps his interest to himself. At her mother’s prodding, Lucine shows Toma around her home but it’s when they return to the dining room that Toma’s unease returns. They walk in to find Natasha on the floor, her face bloody. Alek threatens to kill the man responsible – one of the Russians who claims he merely kissed her and she fainted. The tension continues to escalate and when the Russian lunges for Alek, Toma shoots him dead.

Natasha soon wakes up, claiming she’s more than fine and admits she did welcome the Russian’s kiss. It’s soon after that she begins going to the home of Vlad van Valerik, where the Russians are all residing. She returns each morning, face pale and lips red. Alek, in an attempt to protect her, goes with her one night. It’s then that they are both sneaking out each evening. Toma is furious Alek doesn’t see the danger in this so he goes to the castle to retrieve them both. Once there he’s unsure what to think. Everyone is merely reclining on chairs or lazily talking with each other, no threat in sight. It’s then that he is offered some of their wine.

Lucine discovers Toma with one of the Russian women and shoving aside the growing affection for him, accepts van Valerik’s offer of marriage. He asks to not only kiss her but to bite her lip. “It’s not a bite as much as a sharing. A mixing of blood. A seal of love between two people. This wins the heart, not merely the drinking of the blood.” Pain begins to flow throughout her and she is scared at what’s happening. Vlad smacks her when she voices her fear. Natasha finds her, telling her when she wakes she’ll feel better. His “kiss” begins Lucine’s transformation into what Vlad is: a half-blood Nephilim, the children conceived from the union of fallen angels and humans. Toma is outraged that Lucine would even consider marriage to Vlad and is arrested for accusing the duke of being possessed. The only way for him to win back Lucine is to convince her of his love – to be her Immanuel. As he battles Vlad but is losing horribly, death imminent, he cries out for the woman he’s doing this for. “Lucine! Oh, God! Lucine, Lucine, Lucine…” These were the guttural groans of a dying man clinging to the last thing that was more precious than life itself. To love.” Lucine is restored by falling into the fountain of water that is now mixed with Toma’s blood. His blood brought her back to life.

This was my first Ted Dekker read. I’ve always wanted to read his work but could never decide where to start. I liked the overall message of the book but it was a little hard to get into at first. I found myself not quite sure what was happening and waiting for everything to fit together – which it finally did. The book tackles the theme of sacrificial love and the question has been posed, “what is sacrificial love?” To me, it means giving entirely of oneself, not expecting anything in return. It’s completely selfless. The ultimate example of this would be Jesus’ death on the cross – He paid the highest price for sin so that we wouldn’t have to. I think as selfish humans, it’s hard for us to fully understand His sacrifice. We try to love others is our own flawed way but we still fall short. Sacrificial love gives and gives, not stopping because of a bad mood or hurtful word. It loves…for the sake of love itself even when we’re so undeserving of it.

Click here to see a video trailer for the book. And Thomas Nelson is letting me share something else with those who read this. If you'd like to win a "Spread the Love" t-shirt, leave me a comment on this post. Contest will end on September 17 at midnight.
* I received an advanced copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers and was not required to write a positive review.


  1. Wow - you're so much nicer than I am. :-)

    (And by the way, I like the new blog background -- really cute.)

  2. I'm glad so many people like you have read and reviewed this book! Immanuel's Veins was wonderful and I can't wait for more Ted Dekker novels to come! I posted my review of Immanuel's Veins at check it out!

  3. oh and my email is pdaawg08(at)yahoo(dot)com in case you need it

  4. I haven’t read a lot of Ted Dekker before and I would have to say that Immanuel’s Veins was the best book that I didn’t like.

    The writing is really quite superb: descriptive language, active plot, interesting characters all worked together. It was just all the lust, blood, and even more blood that just smothered me.

    I wrote a review of this book on my own blog at