I caught this notice of a Starred Review in my latest Religion Bookline from PW:
Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana
Anne Rice. Knopf, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-400094352-1
In the New Testament, the miracle at the wedding at Cana—where Jesus turned water into wine—marks the commencement of his tumultuous three-year ministry. In Rice’s beautifully observed novel (a sequel to 2005’s Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt), however, the wedding miracle is in fact the culmination of an intimate family saga of love, sorrow and misunderstanding. As the novel opens, Yeshua (Jesus) struggles with a sense of restlessness of purpose and a deep love for a comely kinswoman. Waves of isolation sweep over him as he comes to understand that serving the Lord’s will takes precedence over the desires of his own heart. Whereas the first novel in this series hewed so closely to Scripture and to the author’s meticulous research as to be somewhat arid as fiction, this book imagining the "lost" young adulthood of Jesus offers wise and haunting speculation where the Bible is silent. And the final chapters, which pick up the story with the New Testament’s accounts of Jesus’ baptism, temptation, and early miracles, manage to be soulfully insightful even while faithfully tracking the Gospels. Rice undertakes a delicate balance here: How can a writer make a believably sensitive and wounded protagonist out of someone who is believed to be sinless? If it is possible to create a character that is simultaneously fully human and fully divine, as ancient Christian creeds assert, then Rice succeeds. (Mar. 4)
I own but haven’t yet read Out of Egypt. Have any of you read it? What did you think? This one sounds like it will be good, and yet I remain somewhat reluctant to read fictionalized accounts of Jesus and His thoughts and actions, especially in regard to things that aren’t actually in Scripture. Do any of you feel the same way? I don’t have the same problem with other biblical characters (i.e. Francine Rivers’s books about the five women who are named in the lineage of Christ).