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Christ the Lord: Out of Egyptby Anne Rice
Anne Rice certainly does her homework. Although she writes fiction, she is well-versed in the historical background of her subjects. Christ the Lord is no exception. The story centers on Jesus' life as a seven-year-old. Rice presents Jesus at this age as a very ordinary child, growing up like most other children of his time, and she treats all of the characters in this way, possessing "ordinary" lives. As time passes, Jesus begins to figure out who he is and is forced to confront his miraculous powers, reacting as one might expect from a child coming of age -- though in extraordinary circumstances -- with fear, surprise, denial. The novel is especially exciting when covering the battles and turmoil, the exodus from Egypt, and the flight from Herod's Massacre of the Innocents. Rice has succeeded in making this a very real and timeless story. I highly recommend it, and, as Christ the Lord only encompasses a few years of Jesus' childhood, I look forward to future novels in which the story of his life can further unfold.
Synopses & Reviews
Having completed the two cycles of legend to which she has devoted her career so far, Anne Rice gives us now her most thoughtful and powerful book, a novel about the childhood of Christ the Lord based on the Gospels and on the most respected New Testament scholarship.
The book's power derives from the passion its author brings to the writing, and the way in which she summons up the voice, the presence, the words of the young Jesus who tells the story.
"Rice departs from her usual subject matter to pen this curious portrait of a seven-year-old Jesus, who departs Egypt with his family to return home to Nazareth. Rice's painstaking historical research is obvious throughout, whether she's showing the differences among first-century Jewish groups (Pharisees, Essenes and Sadducees all play a part), imagining a Passover pilgrimage to Jerusalem or depicting the regular but violent rebellions by Jews chafing under Roman rule. The book succeeds in capturing Jesus' profound Jewishness, with some of the best scenes reflecting his Torah education and immersion in the oral traditions of the Hebrew Bible. As fiction, though, the book's first half is slow going. Since it is told from Jesus' perspective, the childlike language can be simplistic, though as readers persevere they will discover the riches of the sparse prose Rice adopts. The emotional heart of the story — Jesus' gradual discovery of the miraculous birth his parents have never discussed with him — picks up steam as well, as he begins to understand why he can heal the sick and raise the dead. Rice provides a moving afterword, in which she describes her recent return to the Catholic faith and evaluates, often in an amusingly strident fashion, the state of biblical studies today." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The restraint and prayerful beauty of Christ the Lord is apt to surprise her usual readers and attract new ones." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"In her attempt to breathe life into a historical religious figure, Rice's superb storytelling skills enable her to succeed where many other writers have failed." Library Journal
"Rice's book is a triumph of tone — her prose lean, lyrical, vivid." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Anne Rice is the author of twenty-six books. She lives in La Jolla, California.
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