Tosca Lee's: Iscariot

Title:  Iscariot
Author:  Tosca Lee
Pages:  307
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Howard Books
                Tosca Lee has done a masterful job of bringing Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus Christ, to life.  She shows us Judas from childhood through the last day of his life.  Her account is a work of fiction told from Judas’ point of view.  This story was three years in the making, and it is worth the wait.
                We are first introduced to Judas as a young boy, living with his father, mother and older brother.  He adores his father and brother.  He is envious of his brother being taken into his father’s confidence on something important, but Judas doesn’t know what it is.  His father is involved in something secret.  Judas has an argument with his brother and has told his father that he doesn’t want to leave the town where they are staying.  He leaves with his mother to get some water from the well when the Romans attack.  Judas and his mother run for safety, hiding in a cave for several days.  For days, they hear the sound of Roman axes and laughter.  The Romans finally leave and Judas and his mother emerge from the cave.  They begin walking to the town, seeing rows of trees lining the road.  How did these trees get there?  What they discover as they get closer is grisly indeed.  From this point on, Judas views himself as guilty and unclean.
                In order to survive, his mother must use her body to gain food and shelter for them.  Her honor, dignity and purity must be sacrificed to live.  Judas, again, feels guilty.  He becomes a rebellious teenager for a while.  He eventually marries and settles down with a job in the temple treasury.  He is happily awaiting the birth of a child with his wife, Susanna.  The unthinkable happens again.  The Romans attack.  Judas leaves the temple desperate to make sure his wife is safe.  When he arrives home, he finds out she has gone to the market, the very place of the Roman attack.  What will he find when he gets to the market?
                He then is invited to join a secret organization intent on overthrowing Roman rule.  He meets John the Baptist, who introduces him to his cousin, Jesus.  We begin to see the life of Judas among Jesus disciples.  We see the relationship develop between Jesus and Judas.  Judas finds the love and acceptance he so desperately needs.  Jesus accepts him just as he is.  Judas, though, can never really believe that he has become clean.  The story continues to its historical end, but we see things through the eyes of Judas.
                The characters of Jesus and Judas are depicted in such a way that you feel you are a part of the relationship too.  The ability to make the reader feel as if he is part of the story is the mark of a great author, and Tosca Lee certainly does that in this story.  Emotions are strongly evoked, and the reader feels like they are back in Judas’ time experiencing life with him.  Don’t miss out on a great work of fiction!
                My rating is 5 stars
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at
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