Iscariot by Tosca Lee – a Review

FYI, after you read this review you will find contest rules at the end. If you would like to win a copy of Iscariot by Tosca Lee, please join in the fun!

How do you add suspense to one of the best known stories in the world? We all know the basics: Jesus was a teacher who went around healing people, and performing miracles, signs and wonders. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind about whether or not He was the Messiah. Well, except for the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the political leaders and perhaps some of His disciples. Then, after Jesus arrived in Jerusalem in what we know as the Triumphal Entry the crowds pretty well let people know that Jesus was the Messiah. He was then betrayed by Judas and crucified.

So how do you add suspense to that story? In the book Iscariot, Tosca Lee invites you to re-examine everything you know about Jesus and the relationship with His disciples; especially the only one that Jesus called friend – Judas. This novel is historical fiction, but you have a hard time remembering the fiction part of that as she weaves a realistic story of the life of Judas from a young boy until the time he ends up killing himself after betraying Jesus. As she writes about the life of Judas the question she asks at the beginning of the novel continues to stick with you: “Would I have betrayed Jesus? Would you have done the same thing?”

The automatic answer to that question, of course, is “Never!” Yet, as we follow the story, an unwilling sympathy for Judas arises. You can’t help but wonder if Tosca Lee has in mind a new version of the story; one where Judas doesn’t betray Jesus! In the end, the story doesn’t change. As you read, though, your outlook on Judas changes. Rather than seeing him as the evil moneygrubber that we all instinctively believe him to be, he becomes an almost sympathetic protagonist; a tragic hero in the true sense of the phrase.

I have no doubt that once you read Iscariot, that you will never be able to sit through a “typical” sermon about Judas without wanting to yell out at the preacher, “But have you thought about….” The scariest thing about this book is that as you read it, you feel the dust on your feet, you smell the unwashed bodies all around you, and you realize that as strong in your faith as you may be, you could easily have betrayed Jesus in the same set of circumstances. Then when we come back to reality, we realize that we betray Jesus daily by our thoughts and actions. You can continue in your safe little bubble if you don’t read this book or you can confront yourself as you let the words force you to examine your own relationship with Jesus Christ.

So here are the contest rules. You can be entered to win a copy of Iscariot by Tosca Lee by doing these simple tasks. 1) Follow this blog. 2) Leave a comment here. Somewhere in your comment let me know which disciple you would like to talk with and why. Your user name should have contact information in case you win. If it doesn’t, keep checking back. 3) Have a friend come by and comment saying something like, “John asked me to read this and say hello.” If they would like to win also, they need to give you credit for bringing them here.


7 thoughts on “Iscariot by Tosca Lee – a Review

  1. I, too, have been looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of this book. I’m hoping that it will perhaps enlighten me to the thought processes of Judas. It’s nearly impossible for me to believe that any man who had traveled with Christ could have betrayed him intentionally. I believe that there had to be more to the story. Jesus knew he was going to die, and perhaps how. Someone was going to have to set in action the processes that would complete this prophecy. I question whether or not Jesus had discussed this betrayal before hand, and if Judas was following Jesus’ instructions to turn him in.

    I am trying to get you liked, but when I press the “Like” button, nothing seems to happen? I’ll figure it out though…

    You pose the question, which of Jesus’ disciples would I like to speak to the most? It WAS Judas Iscariot, and I believe that I answered the “why” portion of the question in my above comments. I want to see if I can’t get into his head a bit more. I just can’t believe that Jesus was a poor judge of character.

    If I win, you can contact me through facebook email, or at I have to admit, I’m not terribly faithful to my gmail account though.

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  2. Good review Bob. It’s so easy for us reading the Bible not to understand the disciples perspective. All of them would have doubted Jesus was the Messiah because He wasn’t who anyone was expecting.

    Love Tosca’s twist with Judas. And as a result have to have empathy for him.

    Great question about which disciple would I like to hang out with. Peter, I think would have driven me mad, so probably John.


  3. Great Review! You know I want a chance to win it, because my favorite books to read have to do with people from the Bible! If I could walk with anyone…hmmm…it would probably be Peter, because so many of us relate to him the most. But then again, maybe John so we could have a deep discussion about the book of Revelation and what he experienced with Jesus. Of course I know she wasn’t one of the 12 disciples but she was a follower of Christ, so Mary Magdalene would be interesting to walk with too. But you know I plan on walking with each of the disciples and many others from the Bible during the Milleneum…but first with Jesus! Bob, this is Bonita and I know you have my email, if not you can message me on facebook.

  4. Just for the record, my plans are to run this contest for a week. That means Saturday night or Sunday I plan to choose a winner. I realized that I hadn’t put down the time frame here.

  5. Pingback: Iscariot…..a review | Daily Enduring Truth

  6. I placed all contestants on an Excel spreadsheet. I used the random number feature to draw the winner and the winner is……Blondmyk! Congratulations Michael. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

  7. Woohoo! Thank you Bob! I’m very excited about winning “Iscariot” and can’t wait to sink my teeth into it. I’ll let you know what I think. Thanks very very much again!

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