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Iscariot

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Iscariot by Tosca Lee

Reviewed by Karri Compton

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"I've read very few authors with as beautiful and descriptive prose as Tosca Lee."

Judas the Betrayer. The zealot. The devil. He's as infamous as any character in the Bible. But how much do we really know about him? Was he thoroughly evil? Or was he more like you and me than we would ever care to admit?

Judas of Kerioth, son of Simon, was a Jew, a man who loved the law, one who longed to see Israel throw off her Roman oppressor, and see the salvation of his people. When he met John the Baptizer, he gladly immersed in repentance. And when he met Jesus, he became a follower and friend. But that's not all of the story. It's much more complicated. He expected the One who claimed to be Messiah to gather to himself a strong army, which, in its uprising, would restore the temple and the land to its own people. But that wasn't Jesus' way—his salvation came entirely differently. In a way Judas never suspected.

I've read very few authors with as beautiful and descriptive prose as Tosca Lee. She has an eye for detail and a heart for emotion that is evident on every page. Though she obviously penned this lovingly and painstakingly, it still pained me to read this book. Why? While I loved how intimately involved I became with the characters and how much sympathy I had for Judas, his story is tragic and without much hope. I kept thinking that if only he had made some realizations sooner...if only he had waited to take his own life and been able to see Jesus' resurrection...perhaps that would have made a difference, and Judas may have become one of the pillars of the early church as Peter became and as James the brother of Jesus became. I had knots in my stomach much of the time because I knew how the tale would end for Judas and as we all know, it wasn't pretty.

Even now, the book is still speaking to me. I am still thinking of how God's ways are often diametrically opposed to ours. How Jesus did only what He saw the Father doing, and yet how opposite those things were from the religious leaders of the day. Much to think about. As hard as it all was to read, it was enjoyable as well, and definitely worthwhile. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Karri ComptonKarri Compton, wife and mother of three teens, two cats, and a beagle, devours Christian fiction whenever possible. Her favorite genre is suspense/thriller, especially Ted Dekker and Steven James novels. Since promoting biblical worldview fiction is dear to her heart, she reviews on her blog, Fiction Fanatics Only! and is a staff reviewer for such sites as The Christian Suspense Zone and Fiction Addict. Her stab at writing a novel confirmed what a tough job it is, and so the work is shelved for now, allowing the pros to do what they do best. When she isn't reading and reviewing, Karri stays busy at church and performing in various community theater companies.