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2 Stars Out Of 5
Some historical inaccuracies
December 11, 2012
Like many Christians, I was pleased (but somewhat skeptical) when this author of pulp horror novels claimed to convert to Christianity years ago. Since she does have a lot of fans, I read this out of curiosity, wondering if a horror writer was up to the demands of historical fiction. Frankly, I was disappointed, though not surprised, to find a number of historical inaccuracies - for example, she refers to "candles" (so does the KJV Bible), when in fact candles were not used in ancient Palestine, and most modern versions of the Bible have "lamps," referring to the oil lamps composed of a saucer and wick. Also, she has the characters often using the term "Jews," but in that time and place "Jew" was almost solely used by non-Jews, while the Jews themselves referred to each other as "Israelites," "children of Israel," etc. (Recall the episode in John's Gospel where Jesus refers to Nathanael as "a true Israelites.")
Aside from that, the characters in the book never really come to life. I know a few fans of this author, and they rave about all the research she does so she can accurately depict the clothing, furniture, etc. As I already noted, she isn't all that accurate in this novel, but, more importantly, she just doesn't make the characters seem like human beings. Obviously creating vampire characters is quite a different thing from getting inside the minds of saintly people.
Like many Christians I have been taken aback by some of the very harsh comments the author has made in the past year about Christians (calling us "haters" because of our stance on abortion and homosexuality). Even if the book were well written, which it is not, I could not recommend any Christian buying this book, knowing it would profit an author who has said such harsh things about Christians. Certainly there is much better biblical fiction to spend your money on.
I am not a huge reader of Christian novels, I just haven't found the right fit for me, except for maybe Terri Blackstock. So when I saw this book on my library shelf, I grabbed it half-heartedly and figured I most likely would not read it. I mostly wanted to see what kind of novel could be made out of the life of Christ. I mean, the greatest book of all already tells His story, how can you beat that? Anne Rice wrote a very distinctive book. I found myself mesmerized. Rice managed to credibly portray what the human side of Jesus could have experienced. While taking very limited liberties with the account of Christ as told in the gospels, Rice brought his culture and social existence to life with vivid, poignant scenes, aspects of his life that aren't always addressed in the gospels. It was emotional at times, enlightening, humorous, & very empathetic. I enjoyed the book, devoured it. It motivated me to read parts of the gospels again and see Christ in a new light, from a different angle. I very much recommend this book, it's such an intriguing concept.
My heart was moved as this novel made the life of Jesus come alive in a way that just reading the scriptures never did for me. I chose the Unabridged CDs and have been so blessed by the elequent telling of this amazing journey by our Lord Jesus Christ! Wow! How amazing that Ann Rice used her gift as a talented writer to be a blessing to so many that may be seeking comfort. It is the best gift by far that I have given to myself and others! Thank you Ann!