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Friday, March 22, 2013

Iscariot: A Novel of Judas (audiobook) by Tosca Lee

Published by Simon and Schuster Audio 
Published February 5, 2013
Read by Jason Culp
Duration: 9 hours, 11 minutes

As the title says, Iscariot: A Novel of Judas tells the the story of one of the most infamous people in history - Judas, the disciple that betrayed Jesus.

Tosca Lee tells the story in a very sympathetic manner. At no point in the story is Judas an evil man. In fact, he is the opposite - he is an exceptionally good man who lives an upright life, tries his very best and truly loves Jesus, the man he calls "teacher."

A close up of Judas Iscariot (front) in Leonardo da Vinci's
"The Last Supper"
Tosca Lee creates a sympathetic back story for Judas involving a life full of loss, pain and a tragic multi-generational search for the messiah. Judas has decided that searching for a messiah is the surest way to get hurt. Instead, he has joined a secret society that is working to push the Romans out of Judea. But, things radically change when Judas meets John the Baptist and then goes on to meet Jesus.

Interestingly, throughout the story, as Judas hears what Jesus teaches he rarely gets the real meaning. He argues with Jewish officials that Jesus speaks in metaphors all of the time so his stories cannot be taken literally but Judas mainly misses the point time after time. Judas is looking for a military leader and does not truly hear what Jesus says about his true purpose and when his kingdom will commence.

Tosca Lee's writing style is often clunky with old-fashioned phrases. It can be be very tedious but it does blend easily with quotes from the Bible when they are worked in (she tends to use quotes that are similar to  the more formal style of the NIV translation rather than some of the more informal newer translations). For all of that clunkiness, there are some moments of literary magic here. The scene where Jesus heals the leper comes to mind as does most of the story of Jesus's trial.

Jason Culp brought this book to life. The multitude of voices he created just work to create a different world.  Even better, Culp really acts out the anguish and the passion that prevail throughout the end of the story.

I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review as part of the Audiobook Jukebox Solid Gold Reviewer program.

I rate this audiobook 4 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Iscariot: A Novel of Judas

Reviewed on March 22, 2013.

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