Judas Iscariot of Kerioth is one of the most reviled men of all times; hated for his betrayal and cursed in death. But what if we aren’t so different from him? Given his background, his hopes, aspirations, disappointments, grief, and internal suffering would we have done the same thing? Tosca Lee asks this question in her novel, Iscariot.
So far I love every book I have read by this author. Lee has a way of spinning a story and making it feel as if you are experiencing the story as it unfolds. I was concerned at first about making Judas a sympathetic character. This man that the church has condemned for years was about to take center stage in a book and the author was planning to make him likable? That’s risky. After all, the story depends upon the reader and their willingness to consider an alternative perspective. I was concerned that the story would make you believe the bible was wrong to paint him as a villain. This story of fiction was expertly written on what life might have been like for this apostle chosen by Jesus. Iscariot was going to be brilliant or a bust. I think it is brilliant!
Lee takes one of the most infamous men in history and does what no one has done before, made him human. In this story it is a fictional account of Judas, but a true account of Jesus. It takes what Christians know, but presents it in a new and inspiring way. It asks us to examine ourselves and decide how different we are from Judas. A story about Judas, it reminds the reader of Jesus–the paradox that he was and is. “How he shocked us with his compassion. With his unwillingness to restore a nation, preferring to restore individuals instead. They called him a madman. They called him a liar. As had I, but now I know him as the face of God. Who does not save us from the Romans. But saves us from ourselves.”-Iscariot
Lee is very successful in telling this story. There is much to take away from Iscariot, not the least of which is a greater appreciation for Jesus’ purpose and goals while on earth. Gaining a better grasp of the time in which Jesus lived, the anticipation of the Jewish people for the Messiah, and the oppressive governing of the Romans. Seeing through the eyes of Judas, the backdrop of Jesus’ unconventional nature, the reaction of the crowds, leaders, and disciples are given new life and truly leave an impact on the reader.
I wholly recommend this book and others that Tosca Lee has written. I couldn’t put the book down. From the very beginning I was drawn into the tragic story of Judas’ life as Lee portrayed it, my heart breaking with his and my mind wondering perhaps he really didn’t mean to betray Jesus like he did, as we think he meant to. Masterful story telling that keeps you pondering long after the end.