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Library Journal Review
The second title in Rice's "Christ the Lord" series (after Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt) picks up with the life of Jesus shortly before his public ministry begins. The young man known as Yeshua Bar Joseph is living among his family and friends in Nazareth, where public unrest is stirring against the political powers of the time. There are those who remember the stories surrounding Jesus's birth, but they do not quite understand what it all means even though they sense that he is special. Jesus himself wrestles with knowing that something is coming that prevents him from marrying and living life for himself, but he shares the same human emotions as his brothers and friends. Rice once again paints a powerful account of Christ's humanity while staying true to orthodox Christianity. And her well-drawn, believable supporting characters add to a vivid, captivating story. As the novel builds up to John's baptism of Jesus and the beginning of miracles, it will inspire readers to see Jesus in a new light. This is a novel that both religious and secular audiences can appreciate and enjoy; highly recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/07; 500,000 copies first printing; BOMC Main Selection.]-Tamara Butler, Bryant & Stratton Coll. Lib., Buffalo, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Roles don't come a whole lot juicier than playing Jesus, so James Naughton hit the jackpot when he got to read Rice's first-person account of the life of Jesus--or Yeshua, as Rice has it. Naughton has a booming baritone--the voice of a born leader. As Jesus, he offers quiet strength and a touching sense of compassion. If the material is overly familiar, for obvious reasons, Naughton handles it well. His pronunciation of the Hebrew terms with which Rice studs the text is nimble, and his reading is hushed without being overly sappy or faux spiritual. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 4). (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This second volume in Rice's fictionalized biography of Jesus, following the well-received Out of Egypt (2005), sees the Son of God at a turning point in the preordained path of his ministry on earth. Employing the same even pacing and careful interior exploration of Christ's passion as she demonstrated in the first volume, Rice opens her well-constructed narrative in Nazareth, where Jesus the carpenter, although he is aware of who he really is (as is his family), has rather stalled in undertaking the serious work for which he was placed on earth; he awaits an unmistakable sign from God that he must begin his inexorable path to martyrdom. He is severely tested by pleasures of the flesh, but he resists; the devil himself appears to him and attempts to throw him off course. He comes to realize the sign he has been waiting for has been within him all along. Christ begins to reveal more widely who he is, gather disciples, spread the holy word, and take the initial steps that will lead to the cross on Golgotha. Excellent historical fiction with sensitive, humanizing religious interpretation.--Hooper, Brad Copyright 2007 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Rice continues the story of Jesus, which she began with 2005's stunning Out of Egypt. Silent Hannah, a deaf mute, claws the air. She's just heard that her brother, the Orphan, and Yitra, another beautiful boy, have been stoned by a viciously self-righteous crowd. The murdered boys were doomed by rumors of their forbidden love. Comforting Hannah with his strange serenity, is Yeshua bar Joseph, or Yeshua the Sinless, another townsman about whom the Nazarenes whisper: Past 30 and still unmarried? Fitfully sure of his destiny--his spiritual intuitions come upon him like spasms--Jesus senses that ordinary life is divinely denied him. He is smitten with Avigail, Silent Hannah's best friend and the town's angelic beauty, but knows that his love must be chaste. So when marauding brigands attempt to kidnap her, his rescue of the girl is tender but irreproachable. Not so, however, believes her furiously possessive father. Sealing her into his house, he makes her a horrific example of shunning; with patriarchal perversity, he blames the almost-rape victim for "allowing" herself to be attacked. And Jesus becomes suspect, with Avigail's father making insinuations about the young people's connection. To find her shelter, Jesus journeys to Cana, there to petition the scribe Hananel to intercede. Its subplots detailing the machinations of Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas, the Essene struggle toward a purer faith and the flight of some of Jesus's comrades to Athens to study philosophy, this is painstakingly researched historical fiction. Rice's Christ is both convincing and compelling. Another winner. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.