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Review: Iscariot, A Novel of Judas by Tosca Lee

Title: Iscariot, A Novel of Judas
Author: Tosca Lee
Publisher: Howard Books, A Division of Simon and Schuster, Inc. February 2013
Genre: Fiction
Labels: Historical Fiction, Disciples, Judas Iscariot
Format: Hardcover
Age: Adult
Pages: 352
Rating: 5 Stars

Judas Iscariot was one of the chosen twelve disciples. He was chosen by Jesus. Jesus even called him a friend. Judas had spent three years with Jesus, they ate together, slept near one another, traveled together. Judas heard Jesus' teachings and observed the miracles, so how could he have gotten it all wrong, and further how could he have betrayed Jesus. How could he have done this horrifying act of selling Jesus out? Most of us (including me) never get past those questions. It's almost as if the answer will be too frightening. Maybe, because we're afraid of the answer, that we might have done the same thing. Just typing that last sentence makes me want to go hide in a closet.
At the tale end of the book, author Tosca Lee, shares her experience while writing this book. She tried to "run-away" from this story. She finally succumbed to what she felt was a calling. She spent three years reading and studying, writing many more pages from her research in the rough draft of the book.
Iscariot, A Novel of Judas, confronts the reader with the person of what history has lay claim to as the ultimate betrayer. The worst kind of betrayer is a person you thought was your intimate friend, a friend you thought could be trusted and loyal. Instead, they sold you out.

My Thoughts:
I'm glad this story was written. It is historical fiction at the peak of perfection! Why? Because it made me think, and ask myself hard questions.
  1. Do I see what I want to see in Jesus?
  2. Do I see what I want to see in His followers?
  3. How often do I not get it (meaning Jesus and His Word), because of my own agenda, or fear, or hang-ups? 
  4. Why do I place myself above Judas or any other person who has denied or sold-out Jesus? 
  5. Have I been a Christian for so many years that Jesus' death on the cross has become more about other's sins, rather than mine? 
Christian fiction is not just for entertaining pleasure. It is a way for us to understand through a story another person, it is also a way for us to understand ourselves a bit more.
I felt Iscariot, was outstanding in giving flesh and bone to Judas. He was neither portrayed as good or bad, nor misquoted, nor any other guessed perception of him. Tosca let the story from the Bible, specifically John's Gospel, share with us Judas' humanity and suffering and pain and sin.

Link @ Amazon:
Hardcover $12.49
Kindle $9.78

Link for Tosca Lee Website

Link for a Tosca Biography from Wikipedia