Review

Christ The Lord: The Road to Cana

by Anne Rice

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 on January 7, 2011

Christ The Lord: The Road to Cana
by Anne Rice

  • Publication Date: March 4, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • ISBN-10: 1400043522
  • ISBN-13: 9781400043521