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Friday, April 26, 2013

Book Review: Iscariot by Tosca Lee


Iscariot: A Novel of Judas by Tosca Lee
Unabridged, 9 hr. 11 min.
Simon & Schuster Audio
Jason Culp (Narrator)
February 5, 2013

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Source: Received for review from publisher

“In Jesus, Judas believes he has found the One—a miracle-worker. The promised Messiah and future king of the Jews, destined to overthrow Roman rule. Galvanized, Judas joins the Nazarene’s followers, ready to enact the change he has waited for all his life.
But Judas’ vision of a nation free from Roman rule is crushed by the inexplicable actions of the Nazarene himself, who will not bow to social or religious convention—who seems in the end to even turn against his own people. At last, Judas must confront the fact that the master he loves is not the liberator he hoped for, but a man bent on a drastically different agenda.

Iscariot is the story of Judas—from his tumultuous childhood and tenuous entry into a career and family life as a devout Jew, to a man known to the world as the betrayer of Jesus. But even more, it is a singular and surprising view into the life of Jesus himself that forces us all to reexamine everything we thought we knew about the most famous—and infamous—religious icons in history.”

Being someone that isn’t very religious, I find I am still drawn to the stories from the Bible. That being said, I typically prefer my stories to be from the Old Testament. However, this story of Judas – the perpetual antagonist in any New Testament story of Jesus gets a new treatment by Tosca Lee and that drew me into this novel.

Iscariot follows Judas from his youth to his death and fills in many of the gaps in his life left by the Bible. We learn about what his life might have been like leading up to meeting Jesus and get some insight into why he might have made some of the choices he did throughout his life. Lee’s Judas isn’t a perfect character – he is still flawed but you get into his mind and soul and see how he might have viewed the events that were transpiring around him. While reading the novel I found myself discussing it with my fiancĂ© who knows more of the Biblical stories than I do, and it appears that Lee did follow many of the events of the Bible while enhancing the background.

One of the aspects that I really appreciated about this book was the fact that the author was able to bring the belief of Jesus as the savior into a real world setting. For me, the events of the Bible always seem sort of suspended above reality and I felt very connected with the world that Lee created and could more easily believe all of the drama that ensued. The story really sucked me in and there was something interesting and engaging at every turn.

I think that this is a book that any historical or Biblical fiction fan would enjoy. There is enough consistency with the Biblical stories but also enough fiction to create an interesting yarn. The ending certainly surprised me, but that was because I didn’t know the Biblical story.



The narration for this book was excellent. I enjoyed the voice of the narrator and it was easy to listen to and not at all dry or monotonous. I could actually believe that he was voicing Judas.

Author Tosca Lee also has written another Biblical Fiction book - Havah: The Story of Eve. You can visit her website or blog for additional information about the book. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?

You can also watch the book trailer here.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I really enjoyed reading this book too-I thought the sections with Jesus were particularly good and I found myself heartbroken over others.

    1. I agree - I like how they felt like real people.


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