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Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt    by Anne Rice order for
Christ the Lord
by Anne Rice
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio
* * *   Reviewed by Pat Elliott

The Bible is silent about the years between Jesus' birth and the beginning of His ministry. Anne Rice has researched many historical writings to piece together this book. As in all her novels, this one is historically accurate according to what history knows about the child Jesus who lived and died, but whose legacy is part of every Christian's hope for eternal life. Yet much of what she writes is only what she assumes to have been.

Written in first person, in the voice of the child Jesus, the book begins as Mary, Joseph, Jesus and others of their family feel it is time to leave Egypt. They fled to Egypt in order to save the infant Christ Child from murder by Herod's soldier's swords. After several years in Egypt, Joseph has a dream telling him it is time to return to Israel. The book follows Jesus as he leaves Egypt, the only home he has ever known, and he and his family joyfully reach their homeland. There he is confused when he finds turmoil and war. The Romans who rule the land are cruel and heartless. Finally the family reaches the comparative safety of Nazareth, only to find that Nazareth has not escaped the wrath of the Romans.

The author assumes that Joseph was married before he wed Mary, giving Jesus step-brothers. She also gives him adoptive sisters through the death of his mother's sister. The child is not lonely but always seems to be searching for who he is and why he is. Neither Joseph nor his mother will tell him of his birth or the events surrounding it, even though others hint at it occasionally. The child comes to a slow realization that he is different but he doesn't comprehend why until he and the family travel to the temple in Jerusalem. There he understands that he is God's child and that he has a special place in God's plan.

This book is well worth reading for the Christian, the seeker, and the historian. The reader must remember that it is fiction, based on fact. It is up to the reader to agree or disagree with the writer, and to wonder about the childhood of Jesus. Through Rice's imagination, we can experience with the child his first visit to the Temple and sense how he reasons in his heart when he first feels the power of God within him.

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