Book Review: Iscariot

6 May

683769_w185Judas Iscariot…the name of Judas conjures up the ultimate betrayer. What could possibly bring him to such a vile decision to betray Jesus? Tosca Lee brilliantly captures Judas’ life; why he chose to follow Jesus when he was a respected scholar, what he witnesses day after day being near and speaking with Jesus. You will be captivated by every nuance of Judas’ story as he walked with Jesus and Judas’ history that led him to that point. Why did Jesus choose the path that he chose, from angering those in esteemed positions by not just allowing those who were “unclean” near him, but encouraging their presence? Judas struggled to understand Jesus’ motives and questioned them all along the way. The places where you question how and what Jesus did are brilliantly speculated by Tosca Lee in the amazing story of Iscariot.




220px-ToscaLeeBioPhotoTosca Lee is a  New York Times  best-selling novelist whose works include the critically acclaimed Demon: A Memoir, Havah: The Story of Eve, and The Books of Mortals series (Forbidden, Mortal, Sovereign) with best-selling author Ted Dekker. Iscariot, Tosca’s highly-anticipated novel about the infamous betrayer of Christ will release February 2013. She is best known for her exploration of maligned characters, lyrical prose and meticulous research. Tosca received her B.A. in English and International Relations from Smith College and has also studied at Oxford University. A former first runner-up to Mrs. United States and lifelong world adventure-traveler, Tosca makes her home in the Midwest.

My Impressions:

Wow! That is how I describe Tosca Lee’s portrayal of Judas Iscariot, the infamous betrayer of Jesus, in her newest novel, Iscariot. I readily admit that wow is inadequate. So how about puzzling, confusing, powerful, inspiring, and convicting. This is a novel you may think you would never read, but I think it is a novel you must read.

Iscariot is told from the perspective of Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, yet was called His friend. The political intrigue of the day — the Roman occupation, the legal and religious parties, and the outlaws — is brought to life. The other disciples and Jesus Himself are shown through the eyes of Judas, a Judas that might have been — wounded by a childhood of struggle and horror, shaped by the need of a savior, and forever searching to become clean. Lee faithfully follows scripture and presents meticulous research. This is no light treatment of a despised Biblical character, but an in depth study of the man that Judas may have been.

Lee’s writing is beautiful. The characterizations precise and believable. The setting — well — really comes alive. You can see the Judean and Galillean countryside, feel the desperation and hope of the people seeking their Messiah. The scriptural accounts are presented faithfully, but with a description that makes the reader want to go back and read more. Above all it presents a man that has been vilified (perhaps rightfully so) and shows what could have been his motivations — freedom, greed, pride . . . love. And Lee never justifies or condemns Judas’s actions. She lets the reader draw his own conclusions and convictions.

A must read, Iscariot is for anyone who loves Biblical fiction, historical commentary or a look into the life of a man Jesus counted as one of His closest friends. I give this book a very rare designation —

Very Highly Recommended.

(Thank you to The DeMoss Group for a copy of Iscariot to read and review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of Iscariot, click on the image below.

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