Saturday, February 9, 2013

Iscariot-Tosca Lee


Tosca Lee

Simon &Schuster/Howard, Feb 5 2013, $22.99

ISBN 9781451683769

With the death of King Herod, Jerusalem turns into a deadly tinderbox as revolutionaries take down the Eagle. However, soldiers go after those who defiled the Eagle. Six year old Judas flees with his family to Galilee as his Father was one of the conspirators. While nearing Sepphoris, they learn thousands of their Father’s compatriots were slaughtered by the new king Archelaus at the Temple. Rebellion explodes across the kingdom, but is put down with Judas’ Father dying on a Roman cross. The child vows to never follow his Father’s fate.

Judas becomes a Zealot studying the Torah. When he meets Jesus, Judas believes he met the Messiah king of the Jews who will end Roman rule. Feeling euphoric, Judas breaks his youthful commandment of never joining rebels when he becomes a disciple of the Nazarene. However, his hero rejects any religious dogma, which leads to a dispirited Judas believing he erred as Jesus is no Messiah planning to free the Jews but instead has a different plot.

This is an insightful exhilarating bibliographical biblical fiction that looks deep into the soul of the man history paints as the greatest betrayer as well as how Judas changes his opinion of Jesus and the disciples. Inside an entertaining tale that brings to life first century Judea, Tosca Lee makes the arguments that the child is the adult and that the victors write the history books (and Gospels). The childhood flight culminating in his Father’s execution haunts the adult Judas while his changing beliefs as to whether Jesus is good for the Jews is not different than the doubting denying disciples. Iscariot will leave the audience to wonder how we would have acted wearing Judas’ sandals.

Harriet Klausner

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