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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 26 May 2011
This is a departure from my usual historical fiction fix. Being an atheist who doesn't doubt the existence of Jesus but does not follow the propaganda, it was hugely exciting to read a story containing some historical superstars.

The story itself is gripping and really pulls you in. McAfee gives you enough detail to paint a great picture that your imagination can work with. I found it easy to visualise the scene. Theron the vampire enforcer, a troubleshooter of the undead, on a mission to destroy Jesus, although the overwhelming faith of the Son of God (!) means he can't even touch him without suffering agonising pain. Theron has to come up with an imaginative scheme, using all his powers to plot the death of the Messiah. However the Roman Legionaries who themselves fear the spread of christian faith, are a formidable foe. In particular Taras who's only desire is to flee to Rome with the girl he adores is a particular thorn in the Vampires side.

I really enjoyed this book, a great story, an imaginative tale very well written.. Some have commented that the ending is abrupt. I disagree, I love a book that leaves a little to the imagination at the end, and AD 33 does that very cleverly.
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on 3 March 2011
Like others, organised religion and the dogged alegiance to dubious biblical texts usually makes me want to run a mile. Ditto all the spin-offs from TV vampirism. But there was something about the premise behind 33 AD that struck a chord and kept me turning the page. Clearly a lot of research has gone into the book; not only is the characterisation believable but you also get a real feel for what life might have been like back in 33 AD. And the vampire element really adds something new to the genre: malevolent creatures using wormholes to move around the Universe, and gosh, they were scary. But in the last chapter or so, I think the author has pulled his punch. This could be to make way for the sequel or it could be because of sensitivity about going one step too far. J as the new un-dead; I love it!
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on 6 February 2016
Best book in this trilogy
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 28 April 2010
33 A.d. the debit novel from David Mcafee, posses the question, who was really behind the freeing of Barabbas over that of Jesus. However don't expect A Dan brown clone here, what you get is a blood soaked tale tale of Vampires, Roman assassins, and with a bit of political intrigue thrown in. This hugely enjoyable book, set in the final days of Jesus life, introduces a new breed of vampires more akin to a Mafia clan, than the puny watered down vampires we are sadly becoming accustomed to.

The newly appointed head enforcer Theron has been given a task, brutally slay the new Rabbi Jesus and blame it on the zealots. A simple enough task for one so powerful as Theron, and one in which he can't fail, for the punishments handed out by the vampires are harsh and perversely cruel. However he has not counted on the strength of the young Rabbis faith and the bull dog determination of a Roman Legionnaire Taras, who is much more than the humble soldier he first seems to be. Taras becomes quite the thorn in the side for Theron, dogging him at every turn. What should have been a simple assassination, quickly becomes a disaster of biblical proportions.

This was a truly enjoyable read, Mcafee has crafted a well written, faced paced, and well plotted tale. His take on Vampires and Vampire society is well thought and a refreshing change to what passes for Vampire stories these days. The story, while bloody with some well describe fight scenes still ,manages to be thought provoking and intelligent. The story hasn't been filled with gratuitous scenes of sex and violence, something which sadly is becoming the norm for horror stories these days. The concept of faith and how it effects the vampires is a stroke of genius. It's hard to believe that this is his first novel, he has a strong, confident style of writing.

The last time I enjoyed a vampire tale this much was the original Necroscope series.
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on 8 August 2010
If one were to take the story of the crucifixion and combine it with vampires, you would most likely get one of the most clichéd stories imaginable. I've read quite a few tales regarding this very setup - all in short story format, mind you - and they all were variations on a few different plots. Either Jesus himself is a vampire, hence his rising from the dead, or he becomes Jesus Christ Action Star, staking those pesky vamps left and right. These are unimaginative stories. They either don't do anything new with the characters or they pervert them to where they're no longer viable. And also, there tends to be a trend towards using these stories as a promotion or criticism of Christianity. Never have I seen a story that took the setting of Christ's last days and used them as a framework. In other words, taking the setting and telling a story around that setting to create a complete, comprehensive, and entertaining work.

Never, that is, until I read 33 A.D. This was a book that I loved so much that I can come to only one conclusion about its author:

I have seen the new face of horror, and it resides beneath the glossy, waxed dome of David McAfee.

Mr. McAfee has done the (virtually) impossible. He's taken an iconic figure and backdrop, stayed true to their roots in legend, and layered a very human tale that deals with the supernatural over it. This book is bloody, brutal, depressing, and also moral...however, that morality doesn't overwhelm the reader, as ethical writing is wont to do. Instead it makes us think, both about what we feel about our own past misdeeds and the power each of us holds within us to forgive ourselves.

The two most important characters in 33 A.D. are Theron, a vampire assassin who's lived for more than nine-hundred years, and Taras, a golden-haired Roman Legionary (think a primitive version of the Secret Service) whose greatest desire is to skip out of Jerusalem with Mary, his forbidden Jewish lover, and start a family. Although there are many other characters (including Marcus, the Centurion, whose nobility and strength are measured against his weak willpower, making him a fantastic creation), this is ostensibly their story.

Theron, after killing a renegade vampire at the beginning of the novel, is saddled with the task of executing Jesus, as the Nazarene and his ability to heighten the faith of those around him is dangerous to the Bachiyr (Vampiric) Council of 13. This proves to be an arduous undertaking becaue Theron, as a vampire, cannot get close enough to a man with such strong beliefs. Because of this, he goes about framing the supposed prophet, for all intents and purposes setting in motion the events that lead to Jesus' demise.

Taras, on the other hand, is a loyal and capable soldier. He is strong, both in beliefs and in physicality. He, as well as every other Roman, is turned against the Nazarene due to Theron's actions.

And this is where the meat of the novel lies. Theron and Taras are different characters, and yet they are virtual mirror images of each other. One could imagine that Theron, when he was still human oh so long ago, might have been virtually identical to the Roman he now calls adversary. It's a brilliant piece of writing, and I think the similarity of their names is meant for the reader to realize that, when you cut down to the core, they aren't as different as they think they are. In this way, the entire book is about the choices and the aforementioned need to forgive oneself. Theron cannot. He's been around too long, deviated too much, to will a change, even though he can. No matter how much strength he possesses, he will always be weak. Likewise Taras, towards the end, when confronted with a decision that will define the rest of his life, is similarly frail. This speaks to the humanity in both of them. Even Theron, though immortal, is inexorably human, and it is that human frailty that leads to his ultimate descent into madness. And when Jesus "rises" from the grave, that event is mirrored by the rebirths, in different ways, of the two main characters. In other words, you can draw a parallel between all three, the monster, the hero, and the prophet, and come out on the other side thinking they're all quite analogous. In writing it this way, the author is telling us that at our core we're all the same, all fallible, and it's up to us - and ONLY us - to change.

The subject of religion, when used in fiction, is a slippery slope to climb. It can come off as preachy or ostentatious, and while a core Christian might find that intriguing, my guess is that the majority of readers in no way want to be sermonized to. This is yet another way that McAfee did an unbelievable job. He succeeded in taking the base values of the sermons of Jesus - his theories of love, forgiveness, and togetherness - and took away the devout fanaticism that can curtail lesser works. In this novel Jesus is a loveable, though ethereally strong, hippie. The scenes in which he is involved are tastefully done, subtle, and sublime. He is not a man of action, but one of introspection, tenderness, and amnesty. He never gives up hope for those he runs across, and in the reflection of that faith in others lays the refraction of his words. It causes those not ready to hear them to back away.

I'm sure some, especially those who aren't Christian, may look upon this book and think it distasteful. It is not. I, myself, am strictly anti-religious. Whereas I do have faith, I understand the dangers of dogmatic belief and have no desire to pursue it. However, and this is important, McAfee does NOT preach. He uses the beliefs of New Testament Christianity as a tool, not a be-all-end-all, because I think most would admit that the idea of love, community, and mercy are something to strive for. In other words, much like in AA, he takes what works and leaves the rest. You will find no heavy-handedness here.

Okay, one last thing. Because I'm anal and certain facts never escape my attention, I have to mention the only problem I had with this book. In one scene, a character is described as "short, only five-and-a-half feet tall." The problem is, the average height of a Roman at that time was barely five feet even. Not a huge gaffe, but one that I noticed, and I wouldn't be pretentious old me if I didn't point it out.

That being said, it's a tiny little issue that doesn't take away the fact that this is a fantastic and beautifully written novel. There is death and rebirth, betrayal and loyalty, hope and despair, and ultimately sorrow. We see where the characters end up, and we feel sorry for them. It's well worth the read, and I have to admit that I did cry more than once while sitting on the beach reading it. For me, it is the best vampire novel to come out since "The Vampire Lestat" hit the shelves a quarter century ago. And I LOVED that book.

You get a heartfelt recommendation from me, people. Go get it. Make David McAfee a success. We should all want to read more of what he has to offer.
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on 8 July 2015
The image on the front of this got me intrigued, what looked like a vampire & graves almost like the crucifixion of Jesus & guess what, that's exactly what it is!!
The Bachiyr are vampires from many centuries ago but all hell breaks loose when Jesus appears. Who'd have thought that it was The Bachiyr that got Jesus crucified?
Interested yet, U should be ...
This is one fantastic read that keeps you wanting to turn the page.
The detail in David's writing is so excellent that you don't have any problems picturing the scene in your head it's like a mini movie in my head, this would have me queuing for days at the cinema, but sadly they rejected it, their loss!!
So without just repeating what everyone else has written about the plot, I'm not giving anything else away, but must tell you that I got several nurses eager to hear the development of Theron & Ephraim on shift changes, I must have written at least a dozen post it notes, Title & Author for them all .. LOL
I'm always a little sceptical when I first start a book, but I needn't have worried once I'd finished the 1st chapter.
After that the 2nd & 3rd book I read was just a joy to look forward too. Currently reading 79AD, which is the next part of the story & they all just flow together, you can't get lost jumping from character to character as it just gels nicely, as a good series should!!
My words to David McAfee on Twitter were just "WOW" after that I was speechless. I can't think of the last time I didn't have to worry about having insomnia, coz David has kept me busy flicking pages & getting lost in the excitement, the anticipation, the heart racing, seat of your pants journey of The Bachiyr!!
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on 26 February 2011
Being a cheap buy for the new kindle I wasn't expecting too much but this story was fresh enough to keep reading a look forward to a sequel.

A nice twist on the vampire story instilling a rigid hierarchical discipline via 'The Council'. the enforcers, Lost Ones and a neat explanation of vampires aversion to a crucifix fitting in very well with the plot.
Skillful description of the era, painted a nice picture, easy to imagine the setting and characters.

Worth buying, better than most at this price bracket.
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on 7 March 2011
The word "vampire" may cause you to groan and reach for the garlic, but hold on...McAfee delivers an intelligent read that combines the best of dark fantasy with all the elements of a historical thriller. With a polished, sure voice, McAfee is the one who delivers the stake...AND the sizzle. A real discovery of the indie era.
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on 19 June 2012
If you think this is going to be like a cheesy B-movie then your wrong. When i first saw this book I thought that it would be like those awful stories mixing famous figures with famous monsters. I couldn't have been more wrong.

I won't bother recounting the details of the story as i'm sure you've already read the description. This story is so well written. I could picture everything about that period. The way that McAfee describes everything just brings it all to life. The characters are well rounded and you start to feel for them. With each page turn you are hoping nothing happens to them but inevitably you can't stop it.

I can't recommend this book enough. If vampires aren't your thing I would still urge you to give the book a try as it's portayal of Jerusalem and it's inhabitants couldn't be any more vivid.
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on 31 March 2011
As a horror writer myself (Diavolino) I struggle sometimes with what is currently on offer, especially in the bestseller charts. I was attracted to AD33 by the cover, title and premise. I got the samples and for once felt the urge to buy the book. The first half is better than the second - there is a sense at times that the writing slackens and the editing not as sharp. But I wasn't overly bothered by this because it is such a good story. In parts the writing is inspired. It was only after I read it that I realised it is self-published and all I can say is well done that man. I have read many books of late that have been 'professionally edited' that fall short of AD33. If a big publisher signed McAfee I reckon we'd see him way up in the charts - but maybe he doesn't need them.
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