After generations of advancement, the human race had thought they were invincible. That was until the revenant made the...

Review || The Curse of Judas

After generations of advancement, the human race had thought they were invincible. That was until the revenant made their presence known. The humans that survived the culling must pay to survive. 

The cost......their blood. The source of life for all living things.

The Covenant (a pact between the humans and the revenant) was made at the end of the war. In order to maintain power and to ensure the continuation of the human race (the food source of the revenant), the Consulate (a group of higher class humans living in the upper city) was formed. Their main job was to maintain order and to work as a go-between for the humans and the revenant. 

Persephone Black (Phoebe) lost her mother when she was born and she had never known her father. She and her Pappy made a living on the outskirts of the revenant city where the poor and desolate are numerous. Every month, Pappy would give blood in place of Phoebe (his way of silently rebelling against the revenant). Persephone had kept her head low and remained unnoticed for her entire life. She was content working as a junior gardener at the nursery as long as it meant her and Pappy's continued survival within the city walls. 

"As long as Pappy has a roof over his head and food in his belly, then I couldn't complain."---Persephone Black
As fate would have it, Phoebe wouldn't be able to go unnoticed for much longer. She caught the attention of Cassius, a revenant (one of the sons of Judas) and was summoned by him (through the use of the Consulate) to the tower. 

Phoebe would learn more about the revenant than most other humans. Cast into a world that she was not yet ready for, Phoebe would do anything to survive. 
But she would soon learn that sometimes the cost of survival is more than a person could bear. 

The Curse of Judas is a post-apocalyptic adventure interlaced with biblical prophecy and religious innuendo centered around the story of Judas Iscariot.

Judas's betrayal of Jesus was preordained, but his death (his suicide) was of his choosing. When he ascended he was rejected by Peter at the gates of heaven, but when he descended into hell, he was rejected there too. Being rejected from both the higher and the lower kingdoms, Judas was forced to roam the middle kingdom (the kingdom of man). Neither alive nor dead, his spirit was forever cursed.

Judas was the first revenant, a being that lives off the blood of humans. Although he was neither alive nor dead, Judas still maintained a likeness of his humanity. His betrayal of Jesus led to him being cursed and a shift in the divine plan for humanity's future. 

Persephone Black would be cast into the fray when she meets a son of Judas. Her existence is both a blessing and a curse for the revenant. If the secret of her birth ever came to light, the world of the revenants would turn on end.


The premise of Judas Iscariot as the father of all vampires is not a new one, but it is a very interesting one. It's been featured in various media throughout the years. I've always thought it's one that makes sense as far as supernatural beginnings go. Rejected by both heaven and hell, Judas is cast to the earth, undying. The Cross becoming a thing of horror would certainly make sense if you were Judah. Stake to the heart cause of death might be correlated to the wood of the cross.  If you really think about it, there are many reasons that it's logical the Judas would be the first vampire. Apparently, the 30 pieces of silver are even the reason vampires don't like silver, which I didn't know was actually a thing.

The Curse of Judas takes that very intriguing premise and builds upon it. In this novella, revenants and humans have formed a tenuous relationship. Hardly symbiotic, humans must tithe their blood once a month to continue to further the existence of the revenants. Those in the poorer section of the city are little better than slaves. Working all day for meager rations, she and her Pappy are surviving, barely. Until one day, when it all changes.  

I like Persephone, or Phoebe as she's called for most the novella. She's not ridiculously naive still in spite of her circumstances, like a lot of YA heroines. She knows what her lot in life is and, while it does overwhelm her sometimes, for the most part, she's learned to be as content as she possibly can be. When things start changing, she's not star struck. She keeps her head on her shoulders and toughs it out. 

I also liked the not so subtle nod to Greek Mythology. Goddess of Agriculture, Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Hades, one day deciding that he was going to marry Persephone, flew out of the ground in a chariot and abducted her while she was picking flowers. She is, in that capacity, Queen of the underworld and the afterlife. What better to name your gardening MC, that may or may not hold the secret to the afterlife, than Persephone?

The Curse of Judas quickly establishes excellent world building, genuine characters, and intrigue. While Persephone's story will continue in future novellas, the ending didn't leave me frustrated. If you are tired of the same old, same old vampire stories and are looking for something more creative, The Curse of Judas won't leave you disappointed.

About the Author

Cynthia D. Brandel

Other than being an awesome mom and a devoted wife, Cynthia is an avid explorer traveling through the galaxy of her mind meeting new and interesting people along the way. Her destination is unknown, but the fun is in the journey.

Cynthia’s first exploration took her to the world of Sanctoria, a place full of magic and mystery. After falling in love and leading an army to war, Cynthia left Sanctoria and continued on her journey.

Currently, Cynthia resides in one of the Revenant cities on Earth. What mysteries will the city hold and where will Cynthia end up? Who knows? But you can guarantee that Cynthia will tell us all about it!