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The Judas Disciple Kindle Edition
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That said, the further I got into the novel, the more I enjoyed it. The main character is around my age and also works in the same profession I do, though it was never specified which division of insurance she works in. The novel is set in an alternate reality where you either have the option of joining God's Gang and have all your basic needs provided to you or you join the Devil's Due and end up in hell. I'm Buddhist, so it would have been nice to see a few other religions represented in the book.
One of the things I wasn't sure I understood, is why the members of Gods Gang are only provided basic needs. When Corrie joins, they determine she lives too close to work and want to take away her car. If they think you don't need a car and could travel just as well via bike, they take your car. Meanwhile, all of the Desciples, including Corrie, after she wins the competition, have things like private chef's, a real Van Gogh, private jets, and personal trainers, which are all funded by God's Gang. One would think if they became a disciple for the love of god, they would be okay living like the people they are essentially making decisions for.
I don't want to spoil the book, so I won't talk about the ending, but since it was a competition for Judas, I kind of knew where it was going to go. I enjoyed the journey getting there.
The novel is written like a journal. I'm not sure if this was intentional, but there's no formatting between journal entries. Instead of starting on a new page, sometimes one would start on the bottom of the page. Some of the journal entries where she writes that she is just bored or doesn't know what to write, I thought could be edited out.
Corina, whose husband has left her for another woman, is keenly feeling betrayed. She is encouraged and supported by Lucifer himself to enter a competition to become the new Judas Disciple. In this universe, the twelve disciples are each replaced in turn by new people when they die. Unlike the rest of the Kingdom members, disciples live cushy lives, with all the trappings of wealth and power: fancy apartments, personal chefs, personal assistants, artwork, private jets, and of course, direct access to the one immortal being, Jesus. The rest of the Kingdom (or as it has been recently re-christened to make it appeal more to a younger crowd, God’s Gang, live rather drably, albeit free of need. That, it seems, is all God’s Gang can afford to do if it is to take care of all who seek to avoid risk by joining up, and things are getting worse, so changes will need to be made.
So we tumble down the lane with Corina, through a competition that’s part “Big Brother” and part “The Apprentice” [I’m a Yank-so those are my comparatives for the British author’s arrangement]. But we know she’s been guaranteed by Lucifer to win the competition, and it’s the Judas she is competing for, so we can sense the slippery slope under our feet from very early in the game. Still, we plunge on to the final revelation, carried by the author’s observations on the human condition, deft sprinklings of scripture, and wit. My personal favorite is the parable of the multiplying of the burgers and fries.
The narrative is first person, ostensibly entries in a series of journals by Corina as her tale unfolds. There are a few places where a bit more judicious editing would have been in order, and where the pace suffers, but once the Kingdom finds itself in crisis, the tempo picks up. And even though we sense the ineluctable consummation, the underlying message that “love is as love does,” and that the structure is irrelevant, “the community is the reality,” holds us, hoping against hope that this time, it will somehow be different.
It’s hard enough to write an alternative history novel, even harder to write a moralistic tale, particularly one about Christian ethics, without preaching and proselytizing, but Chrys Cymri carries it off, and in the end, (no spoilers here) the reader comes away with some new insights, perhaps even some wisdom.
Thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Rating this book was easy, saying why is harder.
When I read the description of this book, I couldn't see how anyone could write it without bogging it down to a preachy level. So I was totally floored that I found myself enjoying it so much.
The book does examine how large organizations, in this case The Kingdom of God, become corrupt. How leaders forget what the organization's mission is and only think about holding onto their own positions. Pretty heavy stuff. It is told through the eyes of a woman whose feelings are very down to Earth and that makes the heavy stuff interesting. The author deserves praise for that.
In parts it does start to get heavy, but the main character, Corina, will promptly slip out for a drink when it does. So the reader gets just enough of the message to think about it, then join her for a drink.
Even though parts are parody of today's society, the Disciples are chosen in a reality TV program, it doesn't slip into being silly.
Overall, it was well written and managed to stay entertaining while dealing with heavy subject matter. A tough balance to maintain.