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 Jesus who tells the story.
Listen to Anne Rice talk about Christ the Lord on Charlie Rose.
©2005 Anne O'Brien Rice; (P)2005 Random House, Inc.
"Rice's painstaking historical research is obvious throughout." (Publishers Weekly)
"Riveting....Rice's book is a triumph of tone (her prose lean, lyrical, vivid) and character. As he ponders his staggering responsibility, the boy is fully believable, and yet there's something in his supernatural empathy and blazing intelligence that conveys the wondrousness of a boy like no other." (Kirkus Reviews)
I'm giving this four stars based on the incredible amount of research Rice conducted in the making of this book, and the interesting author's note at the end where she details her return to the church and talks about the research. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to listen to the afterword first, as I believe it will provide better context for the actual story.
The story itself, isolated from these other factors, would receive three stars from me. There really weren't any passages that had me hanging on every word. This is not a page-turning thriller. However, the tale is interesting enough, and the narration was fine. It's nice to know that the descriptions of the buildings, clothing, lifestyles, and the goings-on in the temple are historically accurate. The story of the moneychangers in the temple, for instance, was very interesting and gave me a much better understanding of what Jesus faced later in his life. I love well-researched historical fiction, and am appreciative of the effort Rice put into this. It was well worth my time.
but I was captured by it immediately and couldn't stop listening until it was over. Ms Rice has managed to bring alive 7 year old Jesus and all of the various emotions he must have gone through trying to determine exactly what was different about him. She has also made historical events come alive through the eyes of a little boy. Brilliantly done!!
This is a Christian fictional novel by Ann Rice who returned to the Church in 1998. This is a great book if you are interested an orthodox, well researched book about the life of Jesus, the Christ as a child of 7 or 8 years old as His family returns to Judea and Nazareth from Egypt after the death of King Herod. The book is unusual because it is told in the first person from the perspective of the Christ Child. The book is very thoroughly researched and covers a time in the life of Christ that few Christians think about very much. I was fascinated. The book uses some information from apocryphal gospels, one about the early life of Christ as a child. I believe this early apocryphal Christ Child gospel is not heresy but is simply a fictional account of what Jesus' childhood might have been like, told in the third person by a believer as respectful as Anne Rice is in this account. I learned a lot, and I am surprised I learned so much because Jesus Christ has been the focus of my life and learning for a long time and I consider myself a scholar, but Anne Rice's scholarship far exceeds mine. She makes me feel like an amateur. I am impressed. The reader sounds like a 10 or 11 year-old boy and he is perfect for the part. He does a very professional job reading this book. I cannot recommend this book more strongly.
This is a great look at Jesus from an angle we hardly see -- Jesus the boy. What must it have been like to grow up in the Roman-ruled world? Anne Rice gives a version that is plausible and definately thought-provoking.
The perspective is a distinctively Roman Catholic one, but that shouldn't turn off Protestant readers. Take the legends and dogma with a grain of salt and move on. Move on because Rice sets up the historical context in which Jesus became a man and then a teacher. (Rice's theory on Mary the perpetual virgin is deft at explaining Jesus's "brothers and sisters" mentioned in the gospels.)
Rice also gives a portrait of Joseph that is touching. We know almost nothing about Joseph the carpenter, but Rice captures a man of God trying to make sense of his burden while trying to be a good father to this mysterious boy.
She works a little too hard working in players that I doubt Jesus encountered as a child (the future high priest Caiaphas), but the idea that Israel is that small and the family lines that intertwined is interesting.
I'd never before read an Anne Rice novel, but I'd heard about her devotion to researching historical background to add authenticity to her work. I was also intrigued by her jump from vampires to Jesus Christ.
She explains how she came to write "Christ the Lord" in a long author's note at the end. It may make a great prologue for fans wondering why the queen of vampires has written a doxology to Jesus Christ.
The voice talent is excellent.
The story is engaging.
I only have two complaints:
1. It is too short. The story only covers 1 year of Jesus' life, from 7 to 8 years old. I don't mind this because the writing is top notch, I just want more ;-)
2. It would be nice to have downloadable footnotes and bibliography so that users can read some (or all) of the sources for the book.
This is an excellent historical novel with two distinct themes. On one hand, is the very interesting theme of Jesus' evolving self-awareness. How does a 7-year old come to terms with being "different" in a way that no other human has faced? That theme alone was worth the price of the book. A perspective of Jesus that I've not thought of commonly.
The second major theme was setting the cultural milieu of first-century Israel. This book has affected how I read the gospels now. As we enter the Easter season this spring I can't help but picturing Jesus and his family entering the temple for the first time on their return to Jerusalem. This provides a rich, historical value to the novel.
I'm not sure how a non-believer would respond to the book. To me it did not seem preachy or didactic, but others may see it differently.
Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt is a profoundly moving book. While it is historical fiction, the book captures much of what we know about Jesus of Nazareth and his times. The social and neurological sciences have helped us understand the psychological, emotional, and intellectual growth of a human person, and the limitations this imposes on the person. Saint Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians (2:6-11) that Jesus did not "cling" to his divinity but "emptied" himself to become fully a human being, subject to these same limitations. Thus, using these concepts Anne Rice gives us a Jesus, just attaining the age of reason, who begins to question who he is and his place in the world.
Yet, this self-same Jesus is something more. It is hard enough to grow up as an ordinary child, but Jesus realizes that he is not totally like other children. He holds within him a "power" that sometime flows out of him in miraculous ways. He also overhears stories the adults tell about strange happenings that seem to have something to do with him. He also is already experiencing a deep relationship with God - both through his study of Torah and in the time he spends alone walking the hills or watching the skies, encountering the God who created all this wonder.
In making Jesus truly come alive, Anne uses her research into biblical archaeology, cultural anthropology, first century history, and Jewish traditions to create a very real world. While some parts of her story are historically implausible, like Jesus studying under the great Jewish scholar Philo of Alexandria, they make great sense within the narrative Anne weaves and help us better understand this young boy.
In a brilliant narrative style, Anne has Jesus tell his story when he is actually several years older than he is in the story. We here his own story, but it is told from the perspective of a wiser, more knowledgeable youth.
As a cleric who teaches Christology, I highly recommend this book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have read many Anne Rice books and have enjoyed her style of writing. This is a book of fiction, and I read it as just that. I found the historical content to be fascinating and what little I know of biblical history, she included details to make the story relevant for me. The story may not be a gripping cliff hanger, but don't let that stop you from reading it. It's enjoyable, and fun to follow. I like the first person narrative and consider this a unique perspective from which to develop the Christ child character. If you've ever wondered what the Christ child may have been like, this story gives a very good 'what if'.
Refreshing! As an historical novel, it deserves a solid 4 stars. The reader was excellent (which is 60% of every audible selection). The story was cohesive and entertaining. The characters were believable. To the skeptic: this is a novel and not a dissertation. Remember that and you will enjoy it. Why not 5 stars? Jesus cries too much. The family laugh was nice, but a bit overdone. And the long after thought by Ann Rice was ...well... long. Don't read it before hand as suggested by others. That will ruin the "novelty" of this novel.
Do not go into this novel expecting the same old preturnatural interview with moments of explicit content. You will not get it. This is a wonderfull half-fiction novel for any audience. With her painstaking research, Rice once again has reached a new level of story writing. This story about a few years in the life of Jesus as a young boy, written in first person no less, is one of the most unique looks into the 1st century I have ever read. Her portrayal of the character of the young Jesus shows a young, thoughtfull, extraordinarily loving, and courageous boy who faces his early trials with quiet dignity and inner strength. All done in a style all Rice's own. Hats off to Anne Rice! (Don't read this expecting vampires or witches. It's a very conservative book about Jesus the Christ.)I found this book to be Rice's most poignantly honest and daring book yet.
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