Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana

If you haven't heard, some time back Anne Rice--the one famous for her vampire novels--returned to the Catholic faith of her youth and vowed to use her gift for God's glory. To this end, she's written an autobiography and two novels about the life of Christ. I'd previously read the first novel, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, and just finished Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana.

These novels differ quite a bit from her previous work. They're well-written but in a simpler, lighter style. More notable than the change in style is the perspective she tackles. Both are written in first person from Jesus' perspective. Yes, it is audacious. Some might even argue that it's blasphemous to even go there. But I'd say it's as well done as such a thing can be, adroitly balancing Christ's humanity and divinity, and a fascinating "what if?"

In both books, I felt there were times when Rice was uncomfortably close to the edge of what I thought was presumptuous, less so in the first book because she was dealing with a period in Jesus' life that we know little about. In The Road to Cana, we get a speculative account of the connections between stories we are familiar with in Jesus' life. This seem somewhat riskier. But, if you look to it not as Scripture but as an effort to portray Jesus and his community as living, breathing beings with real feelings, relationships and temptations, I think it is rewarding. The descriptions of Jewish life, apparently thoroughly researched, are intriguing all on their own.

The Road to Cana ends with the turning of water into wine, essentially the beginning of Christ's public ministry. I'll be curious to see if Rice continues this series. I do recommend these first two books but encourage you to press through any uncomfortable parts, for I think you'll find the resolutions satisfactory, even moving. Though the portrayals weren't always as I would've written them, I do believe Rice intends to honor Jesus and portray him true to his character and natures.

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