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133 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Soul-Stirring Reminder
When Anne Rice first announced her intentions to tell the story of Christ the Lord, she was met with a barrage of questions, criticism, and support. Her storytelling to date had given only subtle hints of her desire to stir the soul toward things of God, and in fact some blamed her for quite the opposite. With great skepticism, readers on both sides of spiritual lines...
Published on March 28, 2008 by Eric Wilson

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana
This story is different that the old Anne Rice of vampires and witches. It seems Anne has parred down her sometimes overly descriptive storytelling for this book. A part of me was relieved and the other part just wanted more. Jesus is a fascinating character, with a lot of historical data to pick from, yet Rice seems to gloss over a lot of areas of His personality...
Published 18 months ago by Book Lover

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133 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Soul-Stirring Reminder, March 28, 2008
Eric Wilson "author" (Nashville, TN United States) - See all my reviews
When Anne Rice first announced her intentions to tell the story of Christ the Lord, she was met with a barrage of questions, criticism, and support. Her storytelling to date had given only subtle hints of her desire to stir the soul toward things of God, and in fact some blamed her for quite the opposite. With great skepticism, readers on both sides of spiritual lines awaited the release of "Out of Egypt." I found the book to be intriguing, elegantly understated, yet a bit dry.

"The Road to Cana" takes a big chronological leap forward, and the storytelling seems to reflect the maturation of her subject. Yeshua bar Joseph (Jesus of Nazareth) is now a man on the brink of embracing his identity and his purpose. He's God in the flesh, as he himself knows, but he also struggles with the human desires for companionship, family, and acceptance. His relatives and the local villagers sometimes call him Yeshua, the Sinless.

From the opening pages of this book, there are layers of meaning and beauty. Rice's story meets every expectation in this, her second christological novel, and I was swept up in the drama of village life, relational conflicts, and restrained divinity. Rice, through Yeshua's eyes, lets us in for peeks at the heart of God, as it relates to the human struggle. This culminates in Yeshua's face-off with Satan in the wilderness, during forty days of fasting--a masterpiece of textured prose--and in the following incident with Mary of Magdala. From there, Rice shifts her story from conflict into beauty, as Yeshua verbalizes his purpose to his new followers and his family.

I am not moved often to tears by books, but "The Road to Cana" touched me in deep ways, reminding me again of the honesty and integrity of Christ the Lord. This is soul-stirring fiction that brushes up with the truth and power of the Gospel. This is more than I could've imagined coming from the pen of Anne Rice. It's a book to be read, enjoyed, experienced--and to be brought to life in the hearts of readers everywhere.
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70 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A road worth taking, March 9, 2008
On the invocation page of this fine novel Anne Rice includes a quote from Karl Rahner which is very important for interpreting her project: "The truth of the faith can be preserved only by doing a theology of Jesus Christ, and by redoing it over and over again." This is indeed what Anne Rice is doing in this series of books: doing a theology of Jesus in narrative form. A very specific conception of Christian belief takes shape in these pages: one in which evil derives mostly from misunderstandings, impatience and limitations of perspective (the stoning of the two young boys suspected of homosexuality is bound to be controversial), Time is a gift which makes life worth living and the power of God is most evident in the simple pleasures of life, in a "vast, vital world of blowing wheat and shining sun" (p.198) Whatever one makes of its orthodoxy, it is a powerful, heartfelt, deeply thoughtful vision that should be taken seriously by theologically minded people.

As a novel it is fairly well-written and as fascinating as the first book in its depiction of the historical and social reality of the 1st Century. Jesus' longing for Avigail is poignant, although Rice treads delicately here, as many Christians would probably be offended if they saw Jesus portrayed as having actual lustful thoughts. There is more than a hint of apocryphal material here, as in Jesus' comment to his brother that "Heaven and earth were made for you, James. You'll come to understand", which is from the Gospel of Thomas. Interestingly, the book is at its best when speculating about Jesus's life where the Gospels are silent. When we actually come to the Gospel events of baptism, temptation and miracle, the narration becomes strangely flat and literal, without the nuanced character-building and development which characterized the earlier parts of the book. On the other hand, a number of familiar stories from the Gospels are interconnected in interesting ways, and the overall effect is a very readable life of Jesus.

Anne Rice keeps going from strength to strength. She has shown considerable courage and determination in researching the world of Jesus to the best of her ability, and the result is a narrative theology of Jesus the likes of which we have seldom seen. It is to be treasured, both devotionally and as a work of literature.
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65 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A continuation of an amazing series -, March 5, 2008
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I received my copy of Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana mid-morning - I couldn't stop reading - read it almost straight through - Jesus' story, told first person, envelopes you into the emotions that must have been part of this Son of God, who was born of a Virgin, yet still was a man in every sense - The Road to Cana finds Jesus around 30 years of age - a turbulent time for the area - Jews are butting heads with Roman officials...the area is tense. There is a drought in the area - an analogy for the drought of belief?
I cannot begin to describe the beauty of Rice's writing - We Christians know the actions of this early time of His Ministry - when all the pieces come together and His path is revealed - Jesus' family, his kith and kin, (including a beautiful kinswoman Avigail). It is mesmerizing. And beautiful, powerful, reverent.
This series is amazing. The beginnings - a montage of the first of Jesus' ministry - from casting out demons to baptism with John the Baptist to the miracle of changing water into wine at Cana - I especially like how the wine transformation was handled - the sweetness between Jesus and Mary handled perfectly - I am in awe. Rice does justice to the Lord - the Son of God -
One hopes she spreads out Jesus' story out in many, many sequels.
My niece is going on a trip for a Church project to help an orphanage in Guatemala, and I told her I am giving her Rice's two books about Jesus to read on the plane and to share with her friends who are going with the group. She knows I don't recommend books unless they touch me.

Been a while I have been drawn literally into a book, and Rice has hit her stride with this series!
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Beyond Words, March 9, 2008
People fear what they do not understand. But what if you feared yourself?

Jesus, or Yeshua Bar Joseph as he is known to his family, is just past thirty years of age. He is well aware that there are those around him who still whisper about his birth: the Magi, the gifts, the Angel coming to prophecy his coming. But he wants nothing more than to live a normal life amongst his family.

He longs to be a normal man but those around him watch. They wait. The winter has been cruel, dry and no rain has graced the land around them. And so they hope that Jesus will bring great change. It is only a matter of time.

While those around him wait for his greatness to reveal itself, Jesus struggles with his lot in life. In love with a kinswoman, Avigail, Jesus knows that he cannot marry her. He does not know everything that is planned for him, but he knows she is not for him.

Torn inside, Jesus wonders what his lot in life truly is. He wonders how long he will have to wait before his true purpose is made clear to him. When brigands attack Nazareth, Avigail is harmed, shamed. To save her virtue, Jesus prays to God to bring rain.

And he does. When the townspeople come to Jesus to ask him to stop the rain, He again asks God for help; and the rain stops. The whispering around Jesus reaches a fever pitch when news reaches them: Jesus' cousin, John, has emerged from the woods speaking of a prophet, a Messiah. John knows that this Messiah is Jesus.

Now Jesus must come to terms with who he is and his destiny; or succumb to temptation by the Devil...

Having read Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, I was more than eager to get my hands on Anne Rice's new novel Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana. It continues the story of the life of Christ as he heads towards his destiny.

Frankly, I was a little worried. I was worried that the second book wouldn't be as good as the first one. I loved Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt so much. I've read it countless times and it's become one of my all time favourite books. Would The Road to Cana be as breath taking, as incredible, as beautiful?

I needn't have worried. Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana is just as meticulously researched as Out of Egypt was and just as beautiful if not more so. In Out of Egypt we saw Christ as a boy. Now we come to know him far more intimately as he struggles with the man he has to become.

What I love most about this book is that, though Jesus is divine, Rice has done an amazing job of portraying him as human. She has really given us the ultimate study in human nature as Jesus struggles and then accepts what he is, what he must do. She shows us a man who knows what he must do and the sacrifices he makes to do it.

Now, I'm not a Christian. I normally don't read what I would call Christian fiction. Most Christian fiction actually makes me a little uncomfortable. But that doesn't matter. Rice has written a novel that goes beyond the religious aspect of Christianity and embraces the spiritual. This is not a book about religion but a story of love, family, forgiveness and redemption.

You don't have to be a Christian to enjoy this book. I know that there are plenty of people out there who probably don't want to give it a chance based solely off of its subject matter. I've had people scoff at me when I told them how incredible Rice's Christ the Lord books are.

I know that some of you, reading this review, are still scoffing. But they're amazing books, people. And Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana is the best book that Rice has ever written. It transcends genres and religion and is seriously good storytelling and amazing historical fiction. Its prose is like poetry and I was moved beyond words as I read it.

I know that I will be reading Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana again as I eagerly await the next instalment in the life of Jesus.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Single Soul is a World, August 15, 2013
The first thing I noticed while reading Anne Rice's novel about the adult life of Jesus is her writing style. The prose is direct, unhindered, and inspired. The full force of Rice's storytelling skill is channeled into a very *human* incarnation of deity. The descriptive powers that are her hallmark are here in force too. The era, characters, and the settings are fully and elegantly realized.

The novel opens to the first-person narrative of Jesus, a young man living with his extended family in Nazareth, which is in the grip of a winter drought. Rice immediately establishes the limitations of Jesus's human existence - the aching shoulders, the dreams of destiny that trouble his sleep, the upheaval caused by the Roman occupation, and his confrontation with his feelings for his neighbor's beautiful daughter, Avigail. Though controversial to some, this relationship with Avigail (whose feelings are reciprocal) seems essential to fully realize him as a human being. I appreciate that Rice didn't sidestep this core human element.

The novel takes off with the near stoning of, and then happy betrothal of Avigail to another man. Yeshua gifts her with the very chest of gold coins left to him by the three Magi to pay for her marriage expenses, an act that also seals the fact that he will never marry. This sets him apart from his community. The drought is broken by Jesus's prayer for rain, which in turn heralds the arrival of John the Baptist in the area. John is spreading a new gospel that directly challenges the authority of the Pharisees, King Herod, and Romans collectively.

Rice gives context to well-known biblical moments by punctuating them with omens that cast a restrained, subtle aura of God's invisible presence. The flight of a dove whose shadow is cast on John the Baptist's face as he baptizes Jesus is one example among many.

The wandering of Jesus in the wilderness, and his temptation, is probably my favorite part of the novel. I found Rice's personification of Satan brilliant and complex in his appearance as Jesus's own doppelganger, a mirror image dressed richly as a soldier. The self-styled "Prince of the World" works his taunts, appealing to Jesus's hunger, mocking the death of his human father Joseph, mocking his spiritual purpose as a delusion. He offers Jesus the temporal power of the world in exchange for worship. In a fantastical scene of psychological warfare brought vividly to life. Jesus cuts the Adversary down to size: "You're the Prince of the Lie. And this is the Lie: that you and the Lord God are equal, locked in combat with one another. That has never been so." By the end of the scene, Jesus talks his way into a deeper understanding that he is here to overturn Satan's message to humanity that God is beyond its reach.

The book continues with the miracles of Jesus; his encounter with Mary Magdalene, the gathering of his disciples, and the wedding of Avigail where Jesus performs miracles, and has final moments with his family before setting off on the road with his disciples toward his destiny.

While I am not religiously inspired by this novel (I'm not a Christian), eavesdropping on the thoughts of such an important religious figure was fascinating and thought-provoking. Unlike Rice's gothic novels, where vampires grope for God in their self-imposed darkness, this novel is a ray of light, of certitude, of faith. Whatever a reader might feel about its spiritual merit, it is a novel well worth reading.

Note: This is the second in a series of two books. It's prequel is the novel "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt."
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Bound?, March 21, 2008
Peter Cantelon (Morden, Manitoba, Canada) - See all my reviews
This is the second book in what is expected to be a trilogy. Book one, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt introduces us to child Yeshua as he and his family return to Israel from exile in Egypt after the death of Herod. The Road to Cana picks up when Yeshua is approximately 31 and is on the verge of beginning his ministry. Rice's grasp of the literary art is second to none and she has brought the full force of it to bear on the task at hand. Her passion for historical accuracy blends with her art and creates a narrative that is easy for the reader to step into.

Rice, a recent concert to Christianity, has said that this trilogy is an act of devotion on her part; a way of serving God through her gifting. As you move through the novel, written in first-person perspective through the eyes of Christ, you sense the passion and devotion in every page. This is not simply a work of Christian fiction however, it is clear that Rice has immersed herself in some serious theology and it practically bleeds through the pages.

Recently Christianity Today reviewed the book and drew a clear distinction between Rice's work and typical Christian fiction. To be blunt most "Christian" fiction is simply very poor writing...a lot of pulp fiction filled with simple moralizing branded with the "Christian" label to exploit a market. Unlike novelizations like the Left Behind series which contains some seriously dodgy theology Rice's work is exceptional on many levels and depending upon how the last book unfolds the series could be bound to become a classic.

Highly recommended. It would make a great book club selection too.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reverent, Precise and Correct Catholic Philosophy, September 19, 2008
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I have always enjoyed Rice's Vampire Chronicles [who cannot love Lestat, one of the most interesting fictional characters ever developed in the English Language]. I was somewhat surprised to first find that Rice had turned to Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. It certainly seemed outside her normal repertoire. Intrigued, I made the purchase, and learned from her introduction that she more or less had 'rediscovered' her Catholic Heritage after the death of her husband.

The Road to Cana is a worthy successor to the first book in the series, moving along from Christ's youth to his age of ministry. It should be noted that the prose in both of these Books of Jesus are very restrained, muted, and simplistic in nature. The writing is far less flamboyant and dramatic, unlike the Vampire Chronicles, and thus appears to me to show the subtle application of 'simplicity' as a fundamental presentation of the story of the Incarnate Christ.

This style is appropriate for the subject matter, gives an excellent picture of the historical scene, as well as the hesitant intervention of Christ in Human History. There are no surprises, although the story is told with fluid, perceptive clarity.

As a final Note, I would submit that Chapter 22 [?], wherein Jesus engages in a dialogue with Satan, is worth the price of the entire book. It brilliantly, lucidly, and accurately outlines the fundamental basis for the incarnation of Christ, the Delusion of Lucifer, and the underlying Catholic philosophical underpinnings to this complex, yet necessary 'debate' and 'revelation' between God and Satan. This Chapter alone is absolutely stunning in that it captures extremely complex philosophical concepts and presents them in a cogent, coherent 'conversation' between the Father and the Deluded Morning Star. Please read this book. You will not be sorry.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing read, March 14, 2008
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
Anne Rice, best known for her gothic horror novels that primarily feature vampires and other lost souls, embarks on her second fictional portrayal of Yeshua (Jesus) in CHRIST THE LORD: THE ROAD TO CANA. She deftly blends both imagined dialogue and situations with actual New Testament writings to piece together a period of Yeshua's youth and young adulthood not depicted in the Gospels.

The first installment of the series, CHRIST THE LORD: OUT OF EGYPT, focused on Yeshua as a child and ended with him as an eight-year-old unsure of his destiny. With this second novel, we start out with a mature Yeshua in his early 30s who is much closer to realizing his destiny and purpose. However, this does not come easily and involves several tumultuous events that lead him to his own self-realization.

At the start of the book, Yeshua and his people are in Nazareth and growing ever-concerned over the Roman leadership that has recently instilled a new leader to govern their territory, Pontius Pilate. Yeshua doesn't feel any need to join the growing masses in defiance against Roman rule, for he is too preoccupied with his own internal struggles. He witnesses a brutal stoning of two young villagers in Nazareth that he feels helpless to stop, and is receiving much pressure from his own family --- particularly his brother, James --- to choose a mate and marry. What makes this pressure even stronger is the presence of Avigail, a neighbor who has obvious feelings for Yeshua. Yeshua adores Avigail but knows that, like the Prophet Jeremiah, he will never marry. More and more, he finds himself seeking the solace of the olive grove --- the place he loves most.

Yeshua knows he has abilities and can perform unexplained "miracles." He is now well aware of the prophecies about the Messiah but still has doubts. An incident in which Yeshua is alone with Avigail in the olive grove leads to speculation amongst the villagers that something less than innocent has occurred. Particularly concerned is Shemayah, Avigail's father, who feels she has been shamed and all but disowns her.

Yeshua makes a trek to Cana to visit with Hannamel, Avigail's cousin and famous judge and scribe, making it clear that he did not in any way dishonor Avigail and has no intentions of marrying her. Hannamel already has his own suitor picked out for Avigail --- Reuben --- and with Yeshua's help they vow to bring these two together.

Later on in the novel, word spreads throughout the village that a man named John is performing mass baptisms at the River Jordan. Could this be Yeshua's long-lost cousin? A group from Nazareth and surrounding villages journey to the River Jordan, and Yeshua discovers that it is indeed his cousin, John. Yeshua submits to being baptized in the Jordan by John, and this act awakens and spurs him to confront his destiny. As it turns out, this involves Yeshua journeying into the wilderness and dealing with his own inner demons as well as facing the infamous temptation posed by Satan.

Rice now takes us comfortably into familiar Gospel territory as she describes the temptation trials Yeshua faces from Satan. Having passed this test, he emerges to rejoin his villagers to find that his earth-bound father, Joseph, has died during his time in the wilderness. He also is informed of the upcoming nuptials in Cana for Avigail and Reuben at the home of Hannamel. It is at this time that Yeshua's disciples begin to form in response to the realization of his destiny. At the wedding we witness one of his most famous miracles --- the turning of water into wine --- thus anointing him as the Chosen One.

The brevity of THE ROAD TO CANA --- 235 pages --- provides for nice pacing, and the fictional style of known and unknown passages in Yeshua's life makes for an intriguing read. Personally I would have liked for Rice to have moved slower with this series and spent some time on Yeshua's teen years. The leap from an eight-year-old boy in OUT OF EGYPT to a man in his early 30s here is a bit extreme. Nevertheless, Rice has boldly stepped into territory that most people are familiar with and achieved another novel that goes to great lengths to humanize Yeshua while at the same time documenting his rise to realizing his own destiny as the Chosen One.

--- Reviewed by Ray Palen
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and inspirational, October 22, 2012
Zia Dina (Albuquerque, NM USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana (Hardcover)
My husband read this aloud to me. Each evening we would take time to read a chapter. Often we would refer to a particular chapter and verse in the bible. Ann Rice's writing is detailed and descriptive of the area and family life. We experienced a deeply emotional response to the moving narrative.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christ Grows into Public Ministry in Powerful "Road to Cana", April 13, 2008
In his seminal book, "Life of Christ," beloved Catholic broadcaster/evangelist Fulton Sheen describes the wedding at Cana as "a rehearsal for Golgotha" and Christ's Crucifixion. "There is a striking parallel between His Father's bidding Him to His public death and His mother's bidding Him to His public life," he writes. "Obedience triumphed in both cases; at Cana, the water was changed into wine; at Calvary, the wine was changed into blood."

Anne Rice builds her magisterial Christian novel around three seminal Gospel events: Jesus' first miracle of turning water to wine at Cana, His temptation by Satan in the desert, and His baptism at the Jordan. Each precedes Christ's ministry (it gives nothing away to say the book ends with Jesus and His apostles starting their commission) and points to what He will do and who He was (is): each marks where His fully divine and human natures met, battled, and triumphed.

Staying fully within Gospel tradition, "Road to Cana" builds an historically accurate, compelling narrative to follow 2006's "Out of Egypt." Here, Jesus (again called Yeshua, "the sinless") stands amid family and village strife as fellow Nazoreans want to rebel against Roman occupation. He must also deal with an increasingly dry season (Rice vividly portrays parched lands and sky quelled by cold baths and swallows of water) which His prayers end to family amazement.

Most powerfully throughout the book, Jesus transforms His love for the town's most beautiful single woman, Avigail. His humanity yearns in dreams for married life's closeness and physical affection (not to mention quelling concerns over not being married at his age). But as He realizes and accepts His mission, His love for her becomes as brother to sister. Her offer of physical closeness (arising from pain and needing acceptance) becomes His counteroffer of spiritual comfort after a painful family rejection. His financial and spiritual support of her marriage, with colorful celebration and surprising conclusion, becomes the start of His obedience not only to His mother (who attended Cana and to whom Rice's gives warm, witty repartee to Her Son) but to His Father in Heaven. Within this fictional subtext, Rice gives a powerful, overlooked example of a sacrifice Christ made for humanity.

It adds all the more Gothic drama to His desert battle with the self-described "Helel Ben-Shahar" (the one Christ called "The Lie" and "Lord of the Flies"). Rice includes each Scriptural word they exchanged, but Jesus' describing His mission and battle plan to defeat Satan should be a template for ministers and rouse joy in faith-filled readers.

"The Road to Cana," carries Ms. Rice's hallmarks from her new career phase: meticulous accuracy, balance between Christ's roles as family member, friend, arbiter, perceived political hero, real spiritual hero and finally, lone figure between His heavenly Father and the world He came to save. The book ends where that journey began, and "Road to Cana" builds a compelling narrative linking each of those signposts. Highly entertaining, inspirational, and recommended.
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Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana
Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana by Anne Rice (Hardcover - March 4, 2008)
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