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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Book Review: Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice

Br. Benet Exton, O.S.B.

Even before I began reading Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, I was wondering who the author was? The only Anne Rice I was familiar with wrote vampire stories. Surprisingly enough, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, is written by the same Anne Rice, and this is not a vampire story. I had not read any of her vampire stories, but I did see the movies Interview with the Vampire and The Queen of the Damned based on her work.

But she had a conversion experience a few years ago and has returned to the Catholic Church.

Anne Rice, when she writes a book, prepares beforehand by researching the history of the place and times where the story is set. She wants to be as historically correct as possible. The extensive academic and spiritual preparation to write this book is obvious. Rice wanted to make sure she understood what the Holy Land was like during the times of Jesus. She also did research on Alexandria in Egypt.

Christ the Lord is a fictional story of when Jesus was seven years old. At this time he was in Egypt. Rice puts him in the magnificent city of Alexandria where his family was working as carpenters. His parents were not the only ones there from his family. His step-brothers were there as were his cousins, uncles and aunts. This novel is a delight to read because Rice has written the novel in the first person with Jesus as the storyteller.

Jesus and his family were doing very well in Egypt. Then one day they heard that King Herod had died and it was now safe for them to return to the Holy Land. The family decides to return to Nazareth. On their way home they stop at Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, but a rebellion broke out and they had to leave Jerusalem. On their way home to Nazareth they ran into pockets of trouble with rebels and with the Roman soldiers who were putting down the rebellion. The rebellion was harshly put down. Many people died and lots of property was destroyed. The family safely arrives in Nazareth where Jesus and his family returned to somewhat normal lives.

Anne Rice has a long author’s note in the back of the book which probably should have been a “foreword” to inform the reader about the background for this book. The note also serves as a wonderful telling of her conversion. She did not convert lightly. She did it with thought and prayer.

Christ the Lord is a wonderful fictionalized account of Jesus as a child. It is a very inspiring story and brings out the humanity and divinity of Christ. I highly recommended this book for those looking for a good Christian novel.

  1. Br. Benet Exton, O.S.B., writes from St. Gregory’s University, Shawnee, Oklahoma.

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