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Posted February 8, 2013
Brave, passionate and fearless are three words that I would choo
Brave, passionate and fearless are three words that I would choose to describe both the author Tosca Lee and her new novel Iscariot, A Novel of Judas. I think it takes a true master and someone who is willing to take a major risk to write a novel like this. And take risks she did. But I think unequivocally the risk paid off as Iscariot is an amazing literary work that takes us on Judas’ journey with Jesus in a way that was so heartfelt and yes, heartbreaking, I mean, how can it not be? Personally I think it’s very tough to take a story where everyone knows the ending and the ending is not a good one, but still make it a compelling read. Tosca Lee does this so well and I really appreciated the journey and feel that everyone who reads this book will look at Judas a little differently.
Judas is portrayed as someone who was always searching- searching for a true messiah. And with much heartache and tragedy to show for this search, his story unravels in an intricately done way. He loses vastly important people to him, and his grief and guilt play a major role in shaping him as a man. His search for a messiah and search for love draw him to this person of Jesus. Along with Tosca’s portrayal of Judas, I loved how she wrote Jesus as well. His amazing love for his disciples and the people around him showed through beautifully, as well as the absolute desperation for why he came to us. I think the thing I most loved about this portrayal of Judas though, is the fact that he loved Jesus, but still even with that love there was his constant battle between what he grew up knowing as the law versus what he saw before him in the person of Jesus.
Another aspect of this novel that I found utterly compelling was Judas’ “fall”- so different from how I have ever pictured it, I think that most of us have just left Judas as a 2 dimensional character- “he’s the bad guy who betrayed Jesus”, but Tosca brings him alive and we can see him and understand him and empathize with him and yes, even see ourselves in him. He like so many of us was a man deceived and with that deception came ultimate destruction.
Finally, I would like to urge you to read the author’s note at the end of the book- it is fascinating to read Tosca’s journey as she wrote this book. I loved the questions that she wrestled with to bring this character of Judas to life; especially with regards to grace- are there no limits? Truly this last bit of the book puts a period at the end of the story, which is why I mention it- I always feel that if we get a further look into the heart of the author with regards to their work that it broadens our understanding. In the usual Tosca Lee style she brings beautiful prose to this book as well as an intense realness to the situations. I found it to be masterful, compelling storytelling and a story that I will remember for a long time.
I was given a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2013
This book is amazing. What a writer and what a book. It's taken
This book is amazing. What a writer and what a book. It's taken me a while to read it because I can only read a few chapters of it at a time. In most books, that's a bad thing, but not this one. I can only read a bit at a time because this book breaks my heart every time I read it.
Suppose -- just suppose mind you -- that Judas Iscariot wasn't the wolf in sheep's clothing that we always thought he was. Suppose he was someone who loved Jesus as much as any of us or perhaps even more? What if his story didn't end in betrayal and suicide?
And yet it does end that way (no spoiler there, she starts the novel with his death). That's what makes this story so heartbreaking. So how does she make Judas a sympathetic character and yet keep the ending believable? Because Tosca Lee is an amazing storyteller. Ah. Maz. Zing! For this is not only Judas' story, it's a story of Jesus as well.
If you want to explore how much you love Christ, read this book. If you think you bear no resemblance at all to Judas Iscariot, read this book. It will open your eyes and yes, probably break your heart.
Thanks to The DeMoss Group for providing a copy for me to review.
6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 7, 2013
I love it when great writers take the time to completely researc
I love it when great writers take the time to completely research a project if they are going to write a historical fiction novel. It's even better for me as a reader when I can get my hands on a greatly researched and well-thought out biblical historical fiction. When they can take me by the hand and transport me back into history and allow me to walk side by side with a character, it truly helps me understand them better and what may have motivated them to make the decisions they did. Such is the case in the latest novel from Tosca Lee in Iscariot: A Novel of Judas. She provides an in depth look at what the life of Judas Iscariot may have been like and attempts to fill in the missing holes to help us understand why someone who was invited into the sacred circle of being one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ, could easily sell him out to the men who wanted to kill him.
It provided me with a different view point. First of all by tackling the difficult process of establishing the time period where Judas would have grown up in. What was really happening in the world? Why was there such a great fear from the Roman's from the Jews? What was life really like living back in Israel so long ago and what might have life been like looking at these circumstances through the lives of one of the most notorious biblical men in history? I have to say, I completely applaud Tosca Lee. Too often it's hard to label people just based on one side of the facts. We obviously know more happened that just what the writers of the gospels have to say, and I think she filled in the holes masterfully.
I never realized just how difficult it was growing up for Judas. How difficult it was to deal with all the backlash from the Romans towards the Jewish people. If just a handful of people voiced their concerns against the Romans and caused conflict, they were dealt with harshly, either imprisoned or crucified. Sometimes even entire cities were may to pay for the consequences caused by a group of men who didn't agree with the way Herod was handling things such as taxes or even property disbursements. How hard it would have been to be such faithful followers of the old Jewish laws and in studying the Torah, believing that the Lord would return bring about justice to those that oppressed the Jewish people. This is why so many didn't believe Jesus was the promised Messiah. They wanted someone to punish the Romans and reward the Jewish people, but Jesus was the complete opposite. He dealt with things justly with love, grace and peace, but was not the promised Messiah the Jewish people believed would come to right all the wrongs in their minds.
This is a novel that I believe every single Christian should read. Not to glorify what Judas Iscariot did but to understand why he may have did it. It was such an exceptional read, I had to go and purchase a copy of Tosca Lee's other biblical novels, Havah: The Story of Eve and Demon: A Memoir, a story about the fall of Lucifer. Tosca Lee's exceptional ability to find the truth and fill in the holes without much to go on, allows us to see things differently while still holding on to the Biblical truth. I easily give this one a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. I received Iscariot: A Novel of Judas by Tosca Lee compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Publishers for my honest review. Trust me, you'll want to pick this one up, to see if there really was a motivation for Judas making the decision he made and wondering if we, in fact, would have followed in his footsteps as well.
5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 13, 2013
This book blew me away. I tried hard not to simply read the tex
This book blew me away. I tried hard not to simply read the text but to fully devour it and understand it. There was so much time and effort put into this book that I thought it needed more than just a simple read through. But I'm not sure that simply reading it and forgetting about it all would be possible. The concepts and ideas put forth create a new way of looking at the life of Judas, and even the life of Christ. Very exciting.
After finishing the book and handing it off to be read by someone else I'm already looking forward to getting it back again so I can once more dive into the story and perhaps see something else in a new light.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 18, 2013
Judas Iscariot. The man who betrayed God. The man whose very nam
Judas Iscariot. The man who betrayed God. The man whose very name has become synonymous with infidelity. The man who had all the guilt of the world on his shoulders, and ultimately succumbed to it. We think we know him in all his single-mindedness, but do we really?
Beginning with his childhood, Tosca Lee dives into the life of Judas Iscariot-unearthing some circumstances and the political and religious atmosphere that may have ultimately contributed to his behavior. Allowing us a glimpse of who this man may have been, Tosca brings new depth to this story of betrayal, and makes us all wonder: are we really so different?
When I first heard that Tosca's new novel would be about the life of Judas Iscariot, I was quite surprised. By that time I had read Demon: A Memoir so it wasn't really the subject of a character shrouded in darkness that threw me off guard. No, it was reading the thoughts and emotions of the man who betrayed Jesus to death, and was so crushed by the guilt that he took his own life.
Then, another thought hit me. Jesus would be a character in this book. Rather, Jesus would be the highlight in this book. Because what book that contains him does not feature the son of God as the highlight?
And so, when my copy arrived, I began- not quite sure what to expect. The story did begin with the childhood of Judas. A vivid world was painted with a history largely unknown to me. The possible atmosphere Judas grew up in was very intriguing and was really a story in itself. So the story was definitely about Judas, but also as much about Jesus. The anticipation of the coming messiah, the experiences Judas shared with Jesus, and the way he was always on the disciple’s mind.
Overall, I loved the fresh view of the stories I have heard so many times before. The retelling made me think things through in a more complete scope as sometimes it can be easy to be ignorant of the implications of some things Jesus said or did, simply because we do not have the same customs or situation that those living in Israel did two millennia ago.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 12, 2014
Posted February 3, 2014
Is it possible to give a 10 star rating on a 5 star scale? If no
Is it possible to give a 10 star rating on a 5 star scale? If not, it should be, because Iscariot deserved it! What a fantastic read! I loved the way Tosca Lee presents Judas without ever glorifying him and yet she totally glorified Jesus. The story caused me to fall more in love with Jesus just by her representation of his amazing love and devotion. Ms. Lee is an amazing author already, but Iscariot took her writing to a new dimension of outstanding. This book will knock the socks off any reader.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 25, 2014
a must read for anyone who has wondered
I have always been interested in Judas and the big WHY. This book fallows the politics of the time and lays out a 'POSSIBLE" WHY. I enjoyed learning more about what the times were and how a person there could see the things Jesus did and said.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 24, 2014
A Compassionate and Different View on and Old Subject.
The book was a wonderful depiction of a person that people usually speak of in heinous terms. Judas was a human with human failings. Rome was a very real threat. Tosca Lee portrayed Judas as a person with a past that was not very pleasant which affected his future. I really liked and recommend the book, especially her comments at the end.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 24, 2014
Highly recommended - gives you a whole new perspective!
As the product of twelve years of Catholic schools, I've only heard the Church's view of Judas. Now this author has given me a lot to think about - if only a tiny portion of this story could be true, it sheds a whole new light on Judas, as well as Jesus. I've always felt that Judas was too harshly condemned by the Church as the betrayer of Jesus. After all, if Jesus' fate was preordained, then didn't there have to be a "Judas" to fulfill His destiny? Even though I knew the ending, I couldn't put this book down!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 20, 2014
This book is well written and makes the reader think. Tosca Lee
This book is well written and makes the reader think. Tosca Lee has a way of bringing the characters to life and drawing the reader in. This is one of the few fictional books that I have recommended to my husband to read. Well-researched and awesome for bible studies.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 20, 2014
I enjoyed this book. We (Christians) wonder why Judas acted as he did. This fictional account gives insight into the times and tenor of his days with Jesus and weaves a tale of love and longing. Remembering that it is, indeed, fiction one can at least wonder is this a plausable explanation for his actions?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 18, 2014
I love the book Iscariot because it explores Judas¿ early life a
I love the book Iscariot because it explores Judas’ early life as well as some of the possible motivations for his decision to follow Jesus as well as to betray him later. It makes us think about this man differently, that maybe his motivation was not what we think. Judas was a man who loved Jesus, just like us. The book is a great picture into the “behind the scenes,” that is to say, the possible motives that may have led Judas to his final decision. I appreciate the character development in this book and how we get to see Judas' life from childhood to his death. He is a very well-developed and relatable character. And last of all, my favorite thing about this novel is how it reveals Jesus in such a personal way. Judas, of course, was one of the disciples, who were Jesus' closest followers. I love how Tosca portrays the intimate friendship the disciples shared with Jesus. It made me feel closer to him as well, just to see how real and human Jesus was to his friends.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 17, 2014
Posted January 13, 2014
Posted January 9, 2014
Posted January 7, 2014
I am a firm non-believer, but this book was able to keep my attention utterly. Judas is fleshed out into a human being with normal rationalizations instead of being presented as the greedy devil he usually is shown as.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 7, 2014
Posted January 6, 2014
I saw Judas with new eyes
I have always had compassion for Judas, but i never thought about his life. That he was a much loved son, a brother, a husband, this just somehow never occured to me. I still have great compassion for him and now I have food for thought about his possible motives. I liked this book and I think others who seek to understand Judas will too.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 5, 2014
The sample reading was wonderful. I really like her writing. She
The sample reading was wonderful. I really like her writing. She makes it all so interesting to read and want to know what happens next. Very emotional story....Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.