Review of “Iscariot” by Tosca Lee
“Iscariot” is sure to find itself on the shelf of Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti and Robert Liparulo fans for sure, but this latest book by Tosca Lee will find itself sharing the stack of favorites with Paul Maier’s readership and undoubtedly find its way across genres to fans of Robin Hobb and Raymond Feist. This title, published by Simon and Schuster, will be in hardcover and a Kindle edition with a publication date of 5 FEB 2013.
Lee sets out to chronicle the story of Judas Ish-Kerioth (Iscariot) during his early years through the events of Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemane. As most readers already familiar with Tosca Lee know, the imagery is grand and never disappointing. The dialogue is believable. The characters, portrayed as real people, carry the baggage of life’s limitations and disappointments.
The main character, plagued by struggle, guided by his allegiance to the Law and to his conscience. The full impact of the story is found when Judas meets resistance to his convictions in his own mind. His loyalties become suspect so much that Judas finds himself in profound inner turmoil resulting in a polished climax perfectly supportive of the character’s frame of mind throughout the entire story.
Lee’s brilliant style, unveiled slowly with a measured tension created in the very real distress of those who participated in this moment of history, is breathtaking. Christ’s growing frustration and His occasional incomprehensibility (from the perspective of the disciples) are slowly made manifest so that by the end of this work, the reader can identify with every character.
Her depiction of the calming of the storm on the Sea of Galilee and the healing of the demoniac is vividly described, capturing moments of intense action and emotion while almost inviting the reader into the scene through a fluid narrative that works so well that one could imagine the events unfolding like a movie.
Lee, through her narrative, has created in me an almost obsessive captivation with her ability to fashion a story capable of showing me insights that will no doubt last my lifetime. With Tosca Lee, I could imagine every geographical feature. Her precision in detailing the scenery of every event, whether the Jordan River, Peter’s home, the Temple Mount and the valleys down the hill from Jerusalem were spot on.
The author brings early devices, like “Sons of the Teacher” or the “questionable” birth of Christ back into play throughout the book effortlessly and with grace. From significant symbols, like the Roman eagle in the Temple complex, down to the tassels on the robes of the priests, the author has obviously spent time researching the minutest detail, providing the richest story possible.
I hesitate to publish this review out of concern that it will seem gushing and overly flattering. Yet, there is simply no way to adequately commend Tosca Lee for such a well-done historical fiction. The story works. It is clear. It is believable. I would like to personally thank her for the time she devoted to the task. This was a joy to read.