Reviews for Iscariot

Booklist Reviews 2013 February #2
In her afterword, author Lee reveals she threw out much of her extensive research when the details got in the way of her story's heart. In essence, this is a tale about love, human love for the divine, but the reverse as well, with both Judas and Jesus spiritually longing for one another. Before Judas comes to follow Jesus, however, he must struggle with a life that leaves him feeling perpetually unclean. Shockingly, he has seen his father crucified and his mother sell herself to keep him alive. Always, there is a hole inside him, and it grows larger with the death of his beloved wife. A baptism by John startles him into a new life, but it is as a disciple of Jesus that he feels the change he's longed for--for himself and his country--is finally within his grasp. Judas' first-person narrative brings him into sharp relief, and in addition, Lee gives readers a fully realized portrayal of Jesus, a messiah, at times as perplexed about his role and his mission as the apostles. A worthy new take on an old story. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 January #1
Alone among the 12 disciples, Jesus of Nazareth called Judas "friend," but it was Judas who betrayed Christ. Lee (Mortal, 2012, etc.) imagines herself into the heart of Judas Iscariot, rendering witness to the manifestation of God incarnate in first person. Judas bar Simon was born in a troubled Jerusalem that saw the Roman boot firmly on the neck of Israel. Viewing the lost apostle through a modern lens, Judas is revealed as a narcissist, neurotically guilt-ridden and intent on bearing the weight of every perceived wrong. This mindset is examplified in his family's fleeing the holy city after rumors of Herod's death sparked a bloody rebellion. There is an eclipse, and young Judas believes his violation of the Sabbath fast has sparked the world's end. Judas also loves and envies his brilliant older brother, Joshua. But as Romans rage across Israel, Joshua disappears from their refuge in Sepphoris while their father is captured and crucified. Judas and his mother escape, surviving only because his mother sacrifices herself to prostitution. A half brother, Nathan, is born. Later, with the help of relatives, Judas becomes a scribe and a clerk. He's then recruited by the Sons of the Teacher, a rebel group. Soon, Judas becomes entranced by the frenzy wrought by John the Baptizer. It's then that Judas meets Jesus, glimpsing "within those sunken eyes mystery and pain to match my own." Focusing through Judas, Lee writes movingly of Jesus' mission: the healing of lepers and the lame; the raising of Lazarus; of Christ's utter disregard for Hebrew Law in the face of want and suffering. Relying on other disciples only as reference points, Lee dissects Judas' evolution, "The Israel of my dreams was gone, replaced only by lepers who needed healing, the sick and the hungry." Judas expects revolution. Jesus offers spiritual salvation. Judas' love for Jesus compels him to bargain with the Pharisees Zadok and Caiaphas in an attempt to preserve Jesus' life. The Son of Man is charged with mesith, leading Israel astray, and crucified. Intelligently imagined. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 February #2

Lee ("Book of Mortal" series with Ted Dekker) takes a big risk as she re-examines the life of Christianity's most infamous figure and his role in the crucifixion of Jesus. As Judas moves from his turbulent childhood to his years as a disciple of Jesus, Lee paints a portrait of a man of deep faith who believes he has found in Jesus the one who will overthrow Rome and bring unity to his people. As Jesus's path becomes clearer, Judas realizes that the liberation Jesus promises is not the liberation he wants. VERDICT This brilliant, sympathetic reinterpretation of Judas will force readers to reexamine the man they thought they knew. Recommend it to patrons who enjoy the biblical novels of Ted Dekker or David Maine.

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Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
With a fresh, sympathetic re¬interpretation of a familiar biblical character, Lee steps out of coau-thor Ted Dekker's shadow to examine Judas Iscariot's life from childhood through his years as a disciple and to his fateful decision to betray Jesus and its aftermath. (LJ 2/15/13) (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 December #3

From the author of Demon and coauthor with Ted Dekker of the Book of Mortals series comes mind-bending biblical historical fiction that dares to put readers in the mind of the most infamous character of Christian history. Lee uses a historically accurate setting for a fictional story of young Judas from Sepphoris, who becomes a Zealot after his father dies on a Roman cross during a Jewish revolt. As an adult, Judas studies and practices Torah, and though he associates with Jewish revolutionaries--like Jesus--he carefully avoids the same fate as his father. The Gospels never tell exactly why Judas betrayed Jesus, but the author's theory is that Judas was no more confused or misguided than other disciples; however, his plans went terribly wrong. Some familiar scenes come to life ("‘Hail,' I whispered, and kissed him with trembling lips.") Though the book provides a speculative and unorthodox view of Judas, the research and writing is impeccable and masterful. Above all, Lee insinuates a lingering question for the reader: is it true and would I have done it, too? (Feb.)

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