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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.
8 out of 8 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.
8 out of 8 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.
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 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 August 11, 2014
Highly recommended to anyone who wants to know what really happened ON THE NIGHT HE WAS BETRAYED!
Was Judas Iscariot the instrument used by God to fulfill a divine prophesy? ON THE NIGHT HE WAS BETRAYED is the phrase all Roman Catholics hear at the start of the Liturgy during every Mass. But was Jesus really betrayed by Judas, or did Judas complete the outcome that was he was designed to do? There is no historical support to the theory stated here, but Tosca Lee has opened that conversation in my mind as to what the relationship between Judas and Jesus really was, what their friendship was like, what their lives were like as they traveled around preaching the Word. Was it the destiny of Judas to have a hand in Jesus’ death, to be the deliverer? Did Judas really think that he was saving Jesus by turning him in to the Sanhedrin with the promise of not charging Jesus with blasphemy? Tosca Lee stated that she had many questions as she researched this book, as stated in the Authors Notes section. After finishing ISCARIOT, I also have many questions. It is intriguing to think of what Judas’ real motive was.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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 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 December 30, 2013
ISCARIOT by Tosca Lee is an absolute must read. It was recommend
ISCARIOT by Tosca Lee is an absolute must read. It was recommended to me so when I saw it available in ebook form I quickly grabbed it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
It is by far one of the most eye opening, thought provoking look into the man we all know as Judas, the betrayer. When you read this alternative to the narrative you will have much to ponder. You will not only look at Judas through different lenses but also Jesus.
I'll never forget my pastors wife at the time commenting on Two From Galilee after she finished it. She didn't think it was accurate for it showed a very human birth. We tend to forget Jesus was indeed human as was all the people in the Bible.
Did Judas intend to betray Jesus? What were the last few days and weeks like? Was the journey without some angst for Jesus? What were the thoughts and emotions? Did the disciples whisper and question amongst each other? These are just some of the questions you will only probe more as you read. Hopefully you will finish the book with more questions than answers, I know I did.
Posted June 1, 2013
Wow. This was a really deep novel. The reader is taken to the ve
Wow. This was a really deep novel. The reader is taken to the very heart of a very complex and conflicted man. Tosca’s storytelling of Judas’ life makes you rethink everything you know and have been taught. Judas did not come by his decision lightly when he turned Jesus over to Pontius Pilate. He didn’t even know that is what he was doing. He thought he was saving Jesus but his limited knowledge of the law (even though he really did think he knew everything) was used against him.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Judas starts his life out being the son of a traitor and it seems everyone he attaches to becomes one also. In Jesus, he thinks he finally found someone to believe in so he joins the Nazarene’s followers in hopes of finally being free of Rome’s rule. Unfortunately, Jesus has other plans and so begins the frustration on Judas’ part. He never understands why Jesus just won’t toe the line a bit instead of always going against the old Jewish laws.
Iscariot: A Novel of Judas is worth reading. Not only for the recreating of the harsh living of people back then but for the different view of the life of Jesus Christ. The reader is taken on a journey through the eyes of Judas and dives into why a man who has obvious devotion for the Nazarene ends up betraying him.
(I received this audiobook from the publisher at no charge and in no way influenced my review)
Posted April 15, 2013
Iscariot by Tosca Lee brings to life the biggest betrayer in the
Iscariot by Tosca Lee brings to life the biggest betrayer in the history of mankind: Judas Iscariot. Lee does a phenomenal job of taking you back to Judas’ childhood and inviting you as a spectator to witness the series of events and people who shaped him. I love his first encounter with Jesus as he gets baptized by John the Baptist. You’ll feel his awe as he witnesses many healings by Jesus and the raising of Lazarus. And you’ll see what drove him to betray the Son of God.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Lee paints such a vivid picture of the grief and guilt that Judas experiences when the realization hits that he’s been fooled that you’ll feel your heart physically hurt for the man known in history as the betrayer of Jesus. I found this story captivating and intriguing.
I received a free copy of this book from Howard Books for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Posted March 29, 2013
Most highly recommended!
This book reminds me of just what Jesus did for me, and how He loves me unconditionally. Pray as you read this interesting account. He will touch your heart!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 7, 2013
Thank you for being brave enough to follow the heeding of the Sp
Thank you for being brave enough to follow the heeding of the Spirit to write this "much needed to be told" story. So often we think we could never, would never sink to that level but this book reminds us of what we are truly capable of. The author writes in her own account that we all err in ways that make sense to us. It is the little foxes that spoil the vine; we can survive the storms because of the Power of God but those little foxes creep in and steal our joy, causing us to often compromise in ways that we feel are acceptable. A wonderful book for anyone with the courage to leave off their previous predisposed notions and think beyond the confines of the proverbial box.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 18, 2013
Best-Selling author Tosca Lee continues in her tales of the vill
Best-Selling author Tosca Lee continues in her tales of the villainous, this time taking on the most notorious betrayer in history - Judas Iscariot.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
From the first page, Lee has you second guessing what you know about the true story of Judas, a man who turned over his Messiah for 30 pieces of silver - but what led to this moment?
What were the steps Judas took in order to turn from beloved follower to dubious betrayer?
I thoroughly enjoyed Tosca's world building as she took us deep into the heart of Ancient Israel. So many things made sense when seeing them through the cultures eyes,
such as the story of the rebel Bar-Abbas, who was released instead of Jesus at the people's request;
the parables, made clear to us today, casting anxiety on those who clung to tradition; and finally,
the man Jesus himself, and how he might have been seen by someone who didn't truly believe.
While I did appreciate Ms. Lee's telling of this tale, I can't say I loved it. I'm not a prosy person, and while Tosca is insanely awesome at spinning words beautifully, a lot of it becomes too much for me.
Also, there were a few things that didn't quite set right with what I know Biblically - just slightly off.
To be fair, this IS a fiction retelling, so the disciples could have had elephant trunks if Ms. Lee wanted them to, and she DID say she wanted to get to the heart of the story.
In the end, Tosca Lee changed my long standing opinion on the man who gave betrayers their name. Judas was human, and he didn't set out to be the villain. After all, who are we to stay we wouldn't have done the same?
We don't know. We weren't there.
I definitely would say "Read This Book" to any and all.
Posted September 9, 2013
No text was provided for this review.