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Iscariot

A Novel of Judas
By: Tosca Lee
Narrated by: Jason Culp
Length: 9 hrs and 11 mins
5.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

Acclaimed New York Times best-selling author Tosca Lee brilliantly adapts the life of Judas Iscariot into a dazzling work of fiction - humanizing the man whose very name is synonymous with betrayal.

Based on extensive research into the life and times of Judas Iscariot, this triumph of fiction storytelling by the author of Havah: The Story of Eve revisits one of biblical history’s most maligned figures and brings the world he inhabited vividly to life.

In Jesus, Judas believes he has found the One - the promised Messiah and future king of the Jews, destined to overthrow Roman rule. Galvanized, he joins the Nazarene’s followers, ready to enact the change he has waited for all his life. But soon Judas’ vision of a nation free from Rome 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 to his emergence as the 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 that forces us to reexamine everything we thought we knew about the most famous - and infamous - religious icons in history.

©2013 Tosca Lee (P)2013 Simon & Schuster Audio

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 15-04-2013

Felt very real and got me thinking

One of the reviewers had stated that this book didn't feel real and that the disciples didn't feel real and couldn't see how they went on to start a church because they didn't have enough faith. I feel the exact opposite, yes this book does show the disciples as human beings who struggled with faith as much as we do in this present age, but to me this added to the believability of this book. We have each read the gospels and we know the story and therefore we think we would have acted differently had we lived, walked, talked with and seen Jesus ourselves...however this book shows how real people without a glimpse into the future would act. More importantly I felt the character of Judas was very real. Through this story I felt his doubts, his longing for a Messiah, for someone to fight for him and for his people, to bring down the Romans with a crushing blow, to bring down the hypocrites in the temple...and his dissapointment when that did not happen. Tosca Lee does an extraordinary job in this story and it moved me to tears because it made me look at myself and all my doubts and I saw the Judas in me. It made me see that I too could have been Judas. The ending was good too but I was hoping for something a bit different, but that is the writer in me seeing a thousand different possibilities. Overall, I loved this book and look forward for more stories from this author...oh, and I highly recommend this one! It is definatly one of Tosca's best so far!

6 people found this helpful

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  • melissa
  • 09-09-2013

Compelling and Beautifully Written

I was so engrossed with this story. I normally avoid period pieces, as well as anything with biblical leanings however Tosca Lee is so gifted that this novel could take place at any time and in any place. The language was effortless. The story was so compelling, even the most familiar stories from the bible took on a new life for me. It renewed my interest and my faith. This is a must-read. This is a beautifully written work that engages from start to finish. There are wonderful moments of incredible warmth and deep sadness as it speeds along to what most can admit is the tragic conclusion of the ultimate story of love and betrayal.

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  • Kevin Potter
  • 05-03-2019

Great idea, mediocre execution

The audiobook narrator was decent, though far from impressive. He has a fair assortment of voices, but his tempo was pretty flat with almost no vocal inflections. Okay, I'll be honest, the idea behind this story was fascinating. I'm a sucker for side stories of historical figures we don't really know very much about. Unfortunately, this book largely falls flat. First, it starts in Judas's childhood when there is nothing interesting happening. And then we bounce through time with almost no warning all throughout the book. Now, technically the writing is skillful and error free, unfortunately the author seems not to have been able to decide if she wanted the prose to feel semi-biblical or modern vernacular, as it goes back and forth between the two throughout the book. The book does offer an interesting theory to explain Judas's betrayal, the problem is a takes a tedious and rather uninspiring road to get to it. I probably won't be reading more from Tosca Lee.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 27-02-2013

Not what I expected

I've read various versions of the "Judas Story" but this is the best researched and beautifully written one that I've ever come across.
It took me back to Judas as a child. I could relate to his dreams of being accepted and loved. The rule of the Romans is shown through a child's eyes and then through the adult's. But it isn't just about rebellion. This book shows a man with a man's dreams and ambitions. It is about friendships that Judas forms and where they lead. He both loves and is frustrated with his family and their problems. He is a man with the wish to "fit" somewhere.
The author took me on a history lesson that felt more like a trip in time. For the first time I really felt I understood the values and customs of the early Bible stories. I've read the Bible my whole life and am a devoted Christian but didn't find anything to offend me in this book,
It is more of a Jewish history than a Christian one.
In this book I learnt the atmosphere around the time of Jesus with the different fractions. Some Jews were trying to live with Rome. Some trying to rebel. Some were hoping for a miracle and to have the whole situation changed in a instant. A lot like today.
Not that this book is a history text book. It is filled with tension, drama and fun. I felt I knew all the characters personally and was upset to let them go when the story was over.
Mostly it shows there is no black and white answers. No good or bad. Just choices that are made and what it is to live with the consequences.
Judas is shown as a human with human failings and even if the intention was right, the outcome can still go wrong.
I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction. It uses some of the Bible stories as a backdrop but doesn't preach. Nor does it say that Jesus was the Son of God or not. It is the story of the man Judas, not Jesus. So don't be put off if you aren't a Christian.

4 people found this helpful

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  • His Child
  • 29-07-2017

amazing

I love this amazing story of love and forgiveness. I see myself... all of us in this story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jamie
  • 25-07-2017

What a journey!

Where does Iscariot rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best audio books I have listened to. Did not want to stop.

What did you like best about this story?

I love how Tosca Lee brought this historical figure alive.

Which character – as performed by Jason Culp – was your favorite?

By far, Judas, because he was struggling with many things we all struggle with. Made me look at him in a whole new light. Not that his choices were OK, but how he HAD choices and made the wrong one in the end.

If you could take any character from Iscariot out to dinner, who would it be and why?

It would for sure be Jesus! In the flesh.

1 person found this helpful

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  • JB
  • 30-09-2016

Thought Provoking!

ENJOYED! Started out slow but later could not wait to get to the end, even though I knew the ending. The author portrayed the disciplines as simple as the average person.

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  • Doug/ Linda
  • 19-03-2013

Brings out the real Judas awesome book

Awesome book well written. Brings out many life changing questions. Must read for all.

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  • The OTHER Barb
  • 19-08-2020

This is the first

This is the first book by Tosca Lee I've ever read... or BEEN read, listened to it on audible. I am so excited to read everything else she's authored. Everything. This book is a great work. It is brilliant, so great that I'm sort of at a loss for what to say in this review, I rarely write them. Its just that it came as a surprise to me - I judged it by the cover, and in the most shallow way possible, I thought it would be something very different. I bought it because of the subject. I love the story of Judas, how challenging it is, and how it demands that we move away from dualistic thinking if we want to really understand it, and how understanding it is the key to understanding the entire book. Also, of course, its a beautiful, heartbreaking story. So I got it because of that. What I found when I listened was that I was being yanked out of my studio where I listen to books while I work, and placed in the Middle East of the 30's AD. She brought it to life in a way that I have never experienced before, it was teaming with life! The many intertwined dimensions of life, social life and private life, and there wasn't a single moment where she ejected me out of this time travel by using some contemporary perspective or word, or even cadence. I was transported and held there. Everything was so deeply researched - the houses, the temples, cities, roman occupation, the politics, the micro-politics, the laws, the Biblical laws, the growing of the food and the serving of the food, gender dynamics, class dynamics, burial, clothing, boats, aging, crucifixion, mass crucifixion, names, the Bible, the found books, everything. Every hope and expectation, the entire perspective was that of a jewish man in the 30's AD. And she's such a wonderful, generous writer so it feels a as though she is leading you by the hand and showing you everything, but she isn't she, she's a religious, conservative, traumatized, jealous, terrified, heartbroken, adoring jewish boy and man, guiding the reader through the streets. Even in the horrific moments of crucifixions and fires, she doesn't revel in brutality in any way, but she doesn't shy away until the reader fully understands the effect that is being had on the witness. I listened to the book from start to ending in one day because I couldn't integrate myself back into my life without finishing the story. I don't know how she did this, and she certainly wasn't obligated to in any way, but she decided that she was going to leave us off from the story of Judas Iscariot with our hearts soaring. Thank goodness too, because she has spent the last hour giving us terrible anxiety, as though we didn't know what was going to happen, and then making us sob. How she filled this book with surprises and suspense, while telling the most re-told story in the world, it's amazing. Can you imagine watching Judas leading the troops to the garden and thinking "no no no, don't do it" and thinking that he might somehow decide not to? All the while feeling heart broken tenderness for Judas, who you are also angry at. She complicated this story in a way that illuminates its hidden richness. I want to add that I read a review here that complains that nothing happens in the childhood segment of this story. I don't know why this person wrote that, what the motives were for writing an angry lie, but trust me, there isn't any truth to that at all! The book began in a childhood that was rocked with event after event. I have a hard time imagining what more this person could wish for, not that anyone would wish the events of this childhood upon anyone. I have the feeling that that review tells us more about the abilities of that reader to understand the suspense filled events that were churning in the dialogue, often just under the understanding of the little boy who's perspective we are taking. And that reviewer hadn't been able to read to the point where the implied violence and fear of living under Roman occupation explodes and becomes overt, and almost unbearable. The reader in the audible version of this book was wonderful. He did such fantastic job of also keeping us fastened into the world that Tosca Lee created for us. I could listen to his voice all day long. ...And I did!

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  • M. Gatling
  • 27-01-2020

Enjoyed

I enjoyed the perspective of Judas. The author did a fantastic job of weaving the scripture story into a narrative surrounding Judas. The Narrator was phenomenal and totally immersed you in the story.