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Iscariot: A Novel of Judas [NOOK Book]

Overview

Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee brilliantly adapts the life of Judas Iscariot into a dazzling and award-winning work of fiction—humanizing the man whose very name is synonymous with betrayal.

History has called him many things: Thief. Liar. Traitor. Reviled throughout history and ...
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Iscariot: A Novel of Judas

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Overview

Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee brilliantly adapts the life of Judas Iscariot into a dazzling and award-winning work of fiction—humanizing the man whose very name is synonymous with betrayal.

History has called him many things: Thief. Liar. Traitor. Reviled throughout history and infamous for his suicide, he is the man whose very name is synonymous with betrayal . . .

And he is the only disciple that Jesus called “friend.”

From the acclaimed bestselling author of Havah: The Story of Eve, Iscariot is a compelling portrait of biblical history’s most maligned character—from his tumul­tuous childhood to his emergence as the man known to the world as the betrayer of Jesus. But even more, it is an extraordinary view into the life of Jesus that forces us to reexamine everything we thought we knew about one of the most famous—and infamous—religious icons in history.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
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.
From the Publisher
"The research and writing is impeccable and masterful."

"Intelligently imagined."

"This brilliant, sympathetic reinterpretation of Judas will force readers to reexamine the man they thought they knew."

“Tosca Lee continues to mature and deepen as a master story-teller. Iscariot is the best example of this to date. I can hardly wait for what is coming!”

“Written in a voice that is original, animated, and refreshing, Tosca Lee has forged a poignant tale of Judas, a character we only thought we knew. History and emotion entangle into an entertaining nugget, each page like a tasty treat.”

“Tosca Lee’s take on the most notorious figure in history is at once highly imaginative and deeply moving. Weaving historical detail, human drama and spiritual insight, Iscariot will hold you all the way to its shattering conclusion.”

“A startlingly dark and breathtaking novel. Iscariot is both visionary in scope and historically accurate down to the most minute detail—which is an astonishing feat. This is epic, masterful storytelling from one of the most gifted novelists writing today.”

Iscariot is one of those rare novels that makes you go deep and come out both crying and cheering at once. If you think you know Jesus or Judas, think again. Through meticulous detail and powerful prose, Tosca Lee brings the world a story that will reshape the hearts and minds of many. An absolute must-read.”

"How Jesus’ suffering and ministry could disappoint or perplex is at the heart of Iscariot. It is entertaining fiction rooted in the story of Judas and Jesus. It will cause you to reflect and rethink what you know. It is well -done, solid fiction.”

“To call the writing excellent is a severe understatement—phenomenal might come close, but even that is not quite strong enough. . . . It’s complex, inventive, beautiful, heart-wrenching, and a multitude of other positive adjectives all which speak of a well-written, inspiring novel.”

Eric Wilson
“Tosca Lee refuses to let biblical stories turn into stale tales without any current meaning. As she did so brilliantly with Demon and Havah, she brings familiar characters to life in wholly new ways. In Iscariot, we identify all too easily with Judas’ struggles, hopes, and frustrations. Rich in research and powerful in the telling, I couldn’t read this book and simply point the finger without first coming to grips with the human frailties in my own heart and mind.”
Dr. Joe Cathey
“A work that devours you with its first words. Lee’s skills as a researcher and wordsmith have illuminated Judas in a light never seen before. Gone is the simple one-dimensional character who acts as a foil in the crucifixion narrative. In Iscariot we have an extraordinary man whose dreams, hopes, and fears drive him to the precipice of his life. Brilliant writing.”
Lori Twitchell
“Few writers are able to fully engage the imagination on such a visceral level. Fewer still can take on a character laden with heavy preconceived notions and fully change the reader's mind. Tosca Lee stands head and shoulders above crowds of writers and, with a deft hand and a passionate spirit, grants us a beautiful glimpse into an age old story in a completely new way. Don’t miss this book. This journey will peel away the layers of all you know and leave you open, longing, and overwhelmed with God’s incredible love for us.”
Josh Olds
“Tosca Lee is a magnificent storyteller. She has the heart of a poet, the mind of the scholar, and the imagination of a novelist. The three have melded here in harmony to produce a thought-provoking, comfort-disrupting, and heart-rattling tale of history’s most famous betrayer. But beyond that, Iscariot also forces readers to look at Jesus in a new light and consider whether or not they have truly understood the message of the kingdom. Iscariot is one of those books that will not soon, if ever, leave your mind.”
Jim Henderson
“Have you ever been lucky enough to snag a backstage pass, that special ticket that grants you an exclusive peek into the life of a famous person. This book is your backstage pass to one of the most reviled figures in the history of Christianity. Most Christians have been taught that Judas = evil. We’ve branded his name. In her compelling page-turner Iscariot, Tosca Lee asks “what if?” What if Judas was actually a little more like you and me? What if his story was not as black and white as we’ve been told? What if, like us, family history, youthful idealism and unintended consequences conspired to make him appear to be something he wasn’t? What if you could see yourself in Judas?”
Jill Eileen Smith
“In Iscariot, New York Times bestselling novelist, Tosca Lee, takes readers into the heart and mind of Judas, the man whose very name is synonymous with traitor. What led this man to betray Jesus? Seen in the light of his expectations and the culture of his day, Judas’s motives take on new clarity. What did Jesus look like to a man who desperately sought a messiah? The answer might surprise you. Edgy, inspirational, this story is stark in its honesty. One cannot look into the heart of a traitor without coming away praying that we will learn from his choices.”
Susan Meissner
“What kind of man would do what Judas Iscariot did? Tosca Lee takes us straight into the scarred heart and haunted soul of the infamous betrayer, giving him a literary voice that echoes with the horrible weight of his solitary decision. Utterly compelling.”
Davis Bunn
“This book is intended for anyone who has asked themselves the question, ‘Why did Judas do it? How could he have been so close to the Savior for so long, and then turn against him?’ Tosca Lee’s novel is both insightful and extremely well crafted. The historical details bring the time of Jesus to life in a remarkable fashion.”
Robin Caroll
“Tosca Lee’s Iscariot is a beautiful example of what literary excellence should be. With perfect prose, the story sweeps us back into the days of walking with Jesus, and changes the reader by the end of the book. This is one book that shouldn’t be missed!”
James L. Rubart
“It’s a rare author that I will read everything they write. Tosca Lee is one of them. With Iscariot she has cemented my view that there are few better novelists currently among us. Iscariot will rocket you into the vastness of who Jesus us. His compassion, his fierceness, his love—all through the eyes of a man few have seen through before. Brilliant. Poignant. Heart-wrenching. Read it now.”
Robert Liparulo
“No one gets inside the heads and minds of historical figures as intimately and convincingly as Tosca Lee does. In Iscariot, she tackles her most challenging enigma: Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Jesus. Through brilliant writing, deep research, and sincere compassion, she spins a tale of twisting emotions, conflicting loyalties, and heart aching humanity. This mesmerizing story will have you rethinking the Biblical account you thought you knew—and your own attitudes about what it means to love, truly love. In a word, Iscariot is unforgettable!”
Nicole Baart
Iscariot is at turns heart wrenching and triumphant. Weaving painstaking research and beautiful prose, Tosca Lee tells a story that will make you question everything you thought you knew about the man who betrayed Jesus with a kiss—and about yourself.”
William P. Young
“Tosca Lee continues to mature and deepen as a master story-teller. Iscariot is the best example of this to date. I can hardly wait for what is coming!”
Steve Berry
“Written in a voice that is original, animated, and refreshing, Tosca Lee has forged a poignant tale of Judas, a character we only thought we knew. History and emotion entangle into an entertaining nugget, each page like a tasty treat.”
James Scott Bell
“Tosca Lee’s take on the most notorious figure in history is at once highly imaginative and deeply moving. Weaving historical detail, human drama and spiritual insight, Iscariot will hold you all the way to its shattering conclusion.”
Steven James
“A startlingly dark and breathtaking novel. Iscariot is both visionary in scope and historically accurate down to the most minute detail—which is an astonishing feat. This is epic, masterful storytelling from one of the most gifted novelists writing today.”
Ted Dekker
Iscariot is one of those rare novels that makes you go deep and come out both crying and cheering at once. If you think you know Jesus or Judas, think again. Through meticulous detail and powerful prose, Tosca Lee brings the world a story that will reshape the hearts and minds of many. An absolute must-read.”
Darrell L. Bock
"How Jesus’ suffering and ministry could disappoint or perplex is at the heart of Iscariot. It is entertaining fiction rooted in the story of Judas and Jesus. It will cause you to reflect and rethink what you know. It is well -done, solid fiction.”
The Christian Manifesto
“To call the writing excellent is a severe understatement—phenomenal might come close, but even that is not quite strong enough. . . . It’s complex, inventive, beautiful, heart-wrenching, and a multitude of other positive adjectives all which speak of a well-written, inspiring novel.”
Ken Coleman
“Tosca Lee’s brilliant storytelling is addictive. Iscariot brings a thrilling new perspective to Judas and the most infamous act of betrayal in history. The question, ‘What would you have done?’ haunts, convicts and challenges us throughout this masterful tale.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451683943
  • Publisher: Howard Books
  • Publication date: 2/5/2013
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 8,354
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Tosca Lee
Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Iscariot; Demon: A Memoir; Havah: The Story of Eve; and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker. To learn more about Tosca, visit ToscsaLee.com.
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Read an Excerpt

Iscariot

I was six years old the day we fled Jerusalem, and Caesar Augustus was emperor.

I had known nothing but Jerusalem all my life. It was the home of the Temple and navel of the world. Even infected with Roman soldiers and Herod’s stadium, God’s house was in Jerusalem, and no good man of Israel ever wanted to leave it.

And so I was stunned the day my father, a devout man, announced that we were leaving.

Especially now. Just that morning Father had come bursting into the house with the news that Herod, our king, was dead. I had thought it the happiest day of my life, if only because I had never seen Father so jubilant. He sang that day, one of the hymns of David, as my mother clapped her hands and my older brother Joshua and I went shouting and dancing into the street. We weren’t the only ones. Soon all Jerusalem would erupt with joy.

We were still celebrating when Father’s friend Aaron came hurrying toward the house. “Where’s your father? Simon!” he shouted. “They’re taking the eagle down!”

Father came out to meet him but Aaron was too excited to even kiss him in greeting. “They’ve gone to take Herod’s eagle off the Temple!”

Even at the age of six I had heard plenty about this abomination affixed to the great Temple gate, this golden kiss of our king to the buttock of Rome. It was everything a Jew must hate: a graven image, which was an affront to God’s law, and the symbol of Rome.

“Boys, get inside,” Father said. And then he left for the Temple.

For hours, I imagined him on the shoulders of others, tearing the eagle free to the sound of cheers. But when he returned, his jaw was tight beneath his beard.

“Pack what you can carry. Quickly,” he said. “We’re leaving.”

We left that night, bribing the guard to let us out the small door in the city gate.

All the next day we traveled in silence, my mother’s hand viselike around mine, my brother pale and pensive as he cast furtive glances at my father.

I didn’t know what had happened—only that Jerusalem was somehow unsafe and the lines had deepened around Father’s eyes. I knew better than to press him with questions; I would ask Joshua to explain it all to me later. He was brilliant, my ten-year-old brother. Even then everyone knew he would become a great teacher of the law. And for that reason I wanted to become one, too.

But a few hours later, when I realized I was the farthest from Jerusalem I had ever been, I began to worry.

“Father,” I said. “Will we be home in time for Passover?”

It was my favorite holiday, a time when Joshua and I went with him to buy our lamb and bring it to the Temple priests.

“No, Judas,” he said. “Jerusalem is a tinderbox and God calls us to Galilee.”

“But why—”

“No more now.”

That night, in the dank lower room of an inn, my brother lay in troubled silence beside me.

I leaned up on my elbow. A lone lamp somewhere on the floor above cast a dull glow across the stairwell; I could just make out Joshua’s profile staring up at the ceiling.

“Herod isn’t dead,” he said finally. “I heard Father talking with one of the men we traveled with today. It was a rumor. The king’s sick, but he’s alive.”

“But Father said—”

“He was wrong. They all were. The rumor gave men the courage to take the eagle down. Until Herod’s soldiers arrived.” He turned and looked at me. “Aaron was arrested.”

I stared at him in the darkness.

“It was the teachers Judas and Matthias who led the charge to the Temple with their students.”

Father and Aaron both had been students of the famous teacher Judas bar Sepphoraeus. It was partially for him—and for Judas Maccabee, the warrior called the Hammer—that I had been named. The lower room was suddenly far too cold.

“I heard Father say that when they got there Aaron pushed right through the mob. He climbed up on the shoulders of one of the students to help pull the eagle down. But Father couldn’t get through the crowd. So he stood back to watch—he said he wanted to witness for his sons what would surely become known as the first day of the Lord’s coming. They had just gotten the eagle off when the soldiers came. No one heard him trying to warn them through the cheering.”

“Then he didn’t do it!” But even as I said it, I was afraid.

Joshua was silent.

“Will they arrest Father?”

“No. But that’s why we left.”

“What’ll happen to the others?”

“I don’t know.”

“But what if—”

“Mother’s coming. Go to sleep.”

But I couldn’t sleep. Only after Father came down did I even close my eyes, but not before wishing we had traveled through the night. For the first time since leaving Jerusalem, I wished we were a league away.

I dreamed of soldiers. I was used to seeing them throughout the Holy City, coming in and out of the Antonia Fortress or working along the walls and aqueducts, but that night they came to the room where we slept and dragged my father away. I woke up screaming.

“What’s this, Judas? Hush,” Father said, drawing me next to him. I could smell the heat of day lingering on his skin. “All is well. Sleep now.”

I curled beneath the weight of his arm, my eyes open in the dark, until the soldiers became as fleeting as ghosts and there was only the low rumble of his breath beside me.

WE WERE FIFTEEN MILES from the Sea of Galilee by the time we stopped in Scythopolis. It was nearly Purim, the spring feast before Passover.

Scythopolis was the largest city we had come to since Jericho and there was construction everywhere, including a wide street being paved in perfect basalt squares. We passed a building that looked like a temple and I gaped at the statue of a nude man in front of it, the finely chiseled face and full lips—the naked sex dangling between his thighs like a cluster of grapes. I had seen few graven images and I had never seen an uncircumcised penis.

“Look away,” Father said. “This is not the Lord’s.”

I did look away, but I was already reconstructing the images in my mind—of the nude man and wreath-headed others dancing in naked relief across the temple face behind him.

We found an inn run by Jews and that evening, after changing into clean clothing, began our fast and went to the synagogue.

Right in the middle of the reading of the scroll, my stomach began to growl. Joshua leaned over and whispered, “Maybe our fast will bring God’s kingdom that much more quickly.”

I nodded. I didn’t know exactly what the coming kingdom would look like except that there would be no Romans or Gentiles or Samaritans in it.

Most important, Aaron would not be arrested and Father would be safe.

That night we stayed up late on the roof with the other guests beneath the full moon. At home, my cousins would play games into the night and sleep late the next day, shortening the time until sundown when they could eat at last. But here there were no games, and the little children had already eaten and fallen asleep beside their mothers.

I was by then miserable with hunger, my stomach twisting into a fist. But I knew I must learn to fast if I hoped to be an important teacher like my brother, who listened in on the men’s conversation as though he were one of them already. But as the night wore on I began to pray for the comfort of sleep.

“Herod’s moved all those they rounded up to Jericho,” I heard the innkeeper say. “A merchant brought the news two days ago.”

Joshua nudged me and I realized they were talking about the men who had been arrested. Suddenly I was very awake.

Another man, who had walked with us from the inn to the synagogue earlier, shook his head. “There’ll be no good end for them. Why must they martyr themselves when, in a few more days, Herod will be dead? May the Lord make it so!”

A round of assenting murmurs.

I stared at Joshua, my heart hammering. I didn’t know what a martyr was, but I saw the roundness of my brother’s eyes, the grim line of Father’s mouth as all the men began speaking at once.

“The Romans will still be here.”

“I’d take the Romans over Herod. His own family isn’t even safe from him. Caesar said it right that he’d rather be Herod’s pig than his son.”

“I wouldn’t put it past that whoreson to eat a pig.”

I rolled forward, arms clutched around my middle.

“Come, Judas,” Joshua whispered, motioning me to follow him downstairs. I uncurled in agony to follow him.

He led me to his roll near our things in one of the inn’s back rooms. After rummaging around, Joshua took my hand and laid a stale piece of bread in it. “Here. If you don’t eat, you’ll be sick like last time.”

I looked from him to the bread, thinking. I should give it back. I should throw it down.

“You are very zealous,” Joshua said. “But you are young and not expected to go without food.”

“But the coming kingdom—”

“A piece of bread will not make the Romans leave or Herod die any faster. I’m your older brother, aren’t I?”

I nodded, tears welling stupidly in my eyes. I ate the bread in quick bites as I followed Joshua back up to the roof.

I was just swallowing the last of it when a surprised shout broke the night—followed quickly by another and the shrill sound of a woman’s voice.

We ran back to the roof to find everyone on their feet staring at the sky. And then I saw why: The moon, so full and white when we had gone down into the house, was partially sheathed in shadow.

“It’s an omen!” someone said. “A sign!”

I blinked at the sky, at the moon half-covered as though with a black lid. Would it go out? What evil could do that?

And then I knew.

I began to tremble, my skin having gone cold and then hot at once. A wail filled my ears. It came from my throat.

“Shush, Judas!” My mother pulled me to her. But as she did, my stomach lurched and I doubled over and vomited at her feet. It was only a little amount, the bread having come out in pale bits shamefully illuminated by the light of the disappearing moon. I began to cry, the acrid taste in my mouth and nostrils, as my mother gathered me up and carried me past the mess to the corner. I was by now beside myself, shaking, hot tears tracking down my face.

“It’s my fault!” I cried.

“What?” My mother said.

“The moon—I did it.” As Eve with her fruit, I had ruined the moon for the sky.

“Ah, my dove, no you did not—what is a little bread to God? I told Joshua to give it to you so you wouldn’t get sick. Hush now,” she said, starting to clean my face. “This is not about you, Judas.”

But as shouts sounded from other rooftops and the men began to argue about what it meant, I knew better. The world could be ruined by the smallest of actions. For striking a rock, Moses had never entered the Promised Land. And now I had been the sky’s undoing.

I jerked away from my mother, ran to the clot of men, and found my father. I grabbed his sleeve.

“Judas! What’s this?”

I fell down to my knees, and he hauled me up under my arms.

“It’s my fault!”

“This? No, Judas, it’s a portent, a sign. Don’t be afraid. The Lord winks at us. See?”

I cried harder, hiccupping now. He didn’t know the grievousness of my sin. “I ate and see what happened!” I wouldn’t blame my mother or Joshua—I alone had eaten the bread.

He blinked at me in the darkness, and then chuckled. It had not bothered me so much that my mother did not understand, but hearing this from my father—and in the face of such obvious disaster—I felt more alone than I had ever felt in my life.

“Do you think you’ve caused this, little Judas? But there—see? The moon is emerging again.”

I followed the line of his finger. Sure enough, the shadow had moved a little bit away. I watched as it began to retreat, my fear subsiding the tiniest increment.

He patted my back. “The Lord won’t reject you for being a hungry boy. But if it will make you feel better, we will immerse tomorrow.”

The next day I immersed in the synagogue mikva three times to the bafflement of my father and the empathetic observance of my brother. Not until the third time did I feel any measure of relief, and even then not until I went outside that evening and saw that the moon was whole once more.

THE NEWS CAME BEFORE we left Scythopolis: Herod had died the night of the eclipse—but not before burning two of Jerusalem’s great teachers and forty of their students at the stake in Jericho. My father broke out with a great cry and tore his clothes. Joshua did likewise.

I simply cried.

The students who said they had not instigated the taking down of the eagle survived, and I hated them for it. I hated them because I knew Aaron was not among them—Aaron who would have condemned Herod until the last of his life for sheer love of the law. And then I cried harder because I wished he had not loved the law so much.

For nights to come I shivered beneath my blanket and dreamed of the students burning in the fires.

THOUGH I THOUGHT I shouldn’t love Sepphoris, I did. I shouldn’t, because it was far from Jerusalem, and her fortress seemed to inhabit a world that knew no such thing as the holy Temple. And I should not love it because it was Herod’s, and even though Herod was dead, his sons were eagle-kissers just like him who wanted everything Roman—down to the scraps of power the empire threw them like crusts to dogs.

But I loved it because Father was safe. Nothing could touch us here.

I came to know Sepphoris by its sounds. Voices of children my own age wafted up from farther down the hill where the farmers kept their houses and tended their vineyards. Roosters crowed throughout the day. At times I could hear one of the distant shepherds playing a flute. And always there was birdsong.

That spring when it rained, water trickled from the roof into the channels of the cisterns below. It was a good sound, the sound of water. Moss clung to the stones of the houses, so that even on sunny days the air near any house seemed to smell of rain as pines rustled overhead.

We stayed with my father’s cousin, Eleazar—a priest who helped place Joshua and me with a teacher who was so impressed with Joshua’s early abilities that he called him “little rabbi.”

I saw how everyone looked at him with ready fascination, as though such a boy might be proof that God had not forgotten us, but planted in the soil of this generation the mustard seed of a greatness unknown by the last. And though I knew I would never be Joshua’s equal, I didn’t care. People would say, “There goes the brother of Joshua bar Simon. What is his name? Ah, that’s right—Judas.” And that would be enough.

That year was the first that I did not go to the Temple for Passover. Instead, we watched the families that left together, my heart full of jagged envy as they sang their psalms out the city gate.

Eleazar had fallen ill weeks before and been unable to leave with the rest of the priests. I saw the way his wife, old Zipporah, covered her face with her hands when she thought no one was looking. It made me afraid for Eleazar, whom I had grown fond of, and I prayed for him. I immersed so often that my brother got angry with me and told me that even the Pharisees didn’t wash that much, nor the Essenes, who were so extreme as to not move their bowels on the Sabbath. Was I going to keep from that as well?

I did briefly consider it, but I knew better than to rely on my stomach to do what it was told.

We celebrated Passover in the synagogue and at the home of Eleazar, who had recovered in what seemed like a miracle, claiming it was Mother and Zipporah’s good lamb stew.

Then, a few days later, the first pilgrims began to return.

Too early.

We had just gathered for the evening meal when Eleazar’s nephew came into the house, tearing at his hair.

“They slaughtered them with their sacrifices!” he shouted.

“What’s this?” Eleazar demanded, rising from his seat.

“The new king sent his guard to the Temple the day before the feast—a guard of foreign mercenaries. Some of the pilgrims started throwing stones at them in protest. The king retaliated by sending in his army. They massacred the people. Pilgrims—men, women, children. Thousands dead!”

Father staggered, the color gone from his face. The house that night was filled with Mother’s and Zipporah’s weeping and the groans of Eleazar, who sounded less like a weathered old priest than just a broken old man.

Three thousand died in the massacre that Passover. The tinderbox had exploded.

It was only the beginning.

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  • Posted April 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2014

    I W Who is this written for?

    The subject matter and themes seem to be for the 16+ audience but the writing style is more appropriate for ages 10-13. At first i thought perhaps she was writing that way because her narrator was 7 years old, so I leafed ahead to a chapter 3/4 of the way through and found the writing was the same. Had to stop reading there. Life is too short.
    The hyperbole in the book description (dazzling, vivid, etc) is, to be aas kind a possible, wishful thinking.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2014

    A new perspective

    Tosca Lee has done an extraordinary amount of research and woven it into her very credible story. Judas' 1st person narrative of his relationship with and subsequent betrayal of Jesus makes the reader view Judas, Jesus and John the Baptist in a new light. Her portrayal of Jesus' humanity and divinity made me go back and re-read the gospels--this time with a new perspective (which did not conflict with my Christian beliefs)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2014

    Interesting twist to the Gospel story.

    I wasn't sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised. Kept to the known history but offered a reasonable background for Judas.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    Wow.

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2014

    A week or so after starting this book, I realized I was reading

    A week or so after starting this book, I realized I was reading it slowly. Then I had to analyze why I was reading it that way.

    Was it boring? No. Was it poorly written? No. Did the subject not interest me? No again.

    Then I figured it out. I was reading slowly for three interconnected reasons:
    1) Because there was a depth and earnestness to it that I probably hadn’t run into since I read Tosca’s “Havah” a few years back. The situations are plausible, and the characters refreshingly real.

    2) Because it was troubling and convicting. It is difficult to think that someone as reviled as Judas wasn’t really that different from everyone else. That, given the right circumstances and surroundings, any of us might find ourselves betraying someone we love.

    3) Because I was savoring it! This is something that only happens to me on rare occasions. There are some books I love and blast through, and others (a smaller subset) that I love and savor, hoping to delay the end as long as possible. Iscariot was the later for me.

    I’ve read three of Tosca’s books so far and I think this is probably the best. Very well done and hits all the right notes. I highly recommend it!

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  • Posted July 25, 2014

    A Must Read

    A fabulous retelling of the Gospel story from the perspective of Judas. Does a great job of explaining why Jesus was feared by both the Romans and Jewish religious leaders. I found it much better than Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly.

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  • Posted July 25, 2014

    I think the story told of the real life of Judas and showed what

    I think the story told of the real life of Judas and showed what he had to endure and the things that caused him to do what he thought was best. Strange how Judas was trying to protect Jesus all the time yet he was unsure whether the method was best. Very thought provoking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2014

    Taylor Caldwell wrote a book called "I, Judas" - I rea

    Taylor Caldwell wrote a book called "I, Judas" - I read it over 30 years ago; and like this book, it gave me a completely different perspective on the role Judas played in Christian history.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    Almost there

    Was almost great the ending just lost me

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2014

    Iscariot

    Very interesting take.

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  • 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.

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  • Posted January 20, 2014

    Good Read

    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?

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  • Anonymous

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2014

    Excellent

    What a wonderful portrail of Judas Finnaly someone has shown the human side of this poor man Wonderful story

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2014

    Fantastic

    This book will hook you from the very beginning and provide you with an entirely different perspective. Well researched and written. Definitely recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    Wonderful!

    Excellent writing...extremely thought provoking! I loved it! Very well done!

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  • Anonymous

    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.

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