Wow. This was a really deep novel. The reader is taken to the very heart of a very complex and conflicted man. Toscas storytelling of Judas life makes you rethink everything you know and have been taught. Judas did not come by his decision lightly when he turned Jesus over to Pontius Pilate. He didnt even know that is what he was doing. He thought he was saving Jesus but his limited knowledge of the law (even though he really did think he knew everything) was used against him.
Judas starts his life out being the son of a traitor and it seems everyone he attaches to becomes one also. In Jesus, he thinks he finally found someone to believe in so he joins the Nazarenes followers in hopes of finally being free of Romes rule. Unfortunately, Jesus has other plans and so begins the frustration on Judas part. He never understands why Jesus just wont toe the line a bit instead of always going against the old Jewish laws.
Iscariot: A Novel of Judas is worth reading. Not only for the recreating of the harsh living of people back then but for the different view of the life of Jesus Christ. The reader is taken on a journey through the eyes of Judas and dives into why a man who has obvious devotion for the Nazarene ends up betraying him.
(I received this audiobook from the publisher at no charge and in no way influenced my review)
I am not a Christian, and therefore, not well versed in the this time period. Tosca Lee told this story simply: of a traumatized boy who became a successful young man who became a pivotal character in a major world religion. I have always enjoyed reading a well known tale from the viewpoint of the bad guy. Learning the characters life history and their motivations makes the over all tale that much more real for me. Tosca Lee does not disappoint. This book has a historical fiction feel to it and I did not feel that it was preachy at all.
There were other famous, learned men of the time named Judas. As there were other men named Jesus. The use of the secret society idea added weight to Judass decisions and his fears. I especially enjoyed the various culture clashes as seen through Judass eyes: Jesus the Messiah taught, fed, and healed not just the learned or rich, but the lowliest of classes and women and those not of the Jewish faith. One by one these things shocked Judas, who eventually saw the right of it. Some few references I did not fully understand, like when a few ill men move their mat on the Sabbath. But these few instances did not detract from the over all enjoyability of the book.
My one negative point is that the book became narrowly focused towards the end, whereas the beginning brought me knowledge of the cultures and political climate of the time. Indeed, my mind started to drift on the last CD, the CD where we have the ending of Jesuss life, his confirmation of Messiah-hood, and Judass death. This should have, at the least, been as interesting as the beginning of the book. Instead, it was not. In retrospect, perhaps the author wanted Judass life to end on an anticlimactic note? Could be an interesting question for an interview; not so interesting for a book ending.
Jason Culp was a decent narrator, providing a satisfactory range of male voices. There were very few female roles, even fewer speaking roles in this book, so he didnt have to stretch himself there.