Some forty years after Jesus' death, Judas tries to set the record straight, and refutes his reputation as the betrayer.
We all know the story of Jesus told by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but what about the version according to Judas?
Judas's name became synonymous with betrayer, but is that how he saw it himself? In this witty, original and teasingly controversial account, some forty years after the death of Jesus, Judas finally tells the story as he remembers it. Looking back on his childhood and youth from an old age the gospel writers denied him, Judas recalls his friendship with Jesus; their schooling together; their families; the people who would go on to be disciples and followers; their journeys together and their dealings with the powers of Rome and the Temple. His is a story of friendship and rivalry, of a time of uncertainty and enquiry, a testing of belief, endurance and loyalty.
With his richly painted backdrop of ancient Palestine, Stead goes beyond the boundaries of the story known to us all and convincingly enters the mind of one of its key players. This bold novel, with its wonderfully clear narrative prose, is fresh, provocative and compelling.
“Stead's book delights in subtle comedy and takes care to puncture all kinds of minor myths...Making Judas an agnostic is a brilliant stroke that allows Stead to offer rational explanations for all the miracles...Written with glowing simplicity and rich in delicate humour...Stead's deft marshalling of the language, the way he gets words to do his bidding without ever being obvious or showing off, only adds to the pleasure of reading this thought-provoking, witty and highly topical novel”
James Wood, Daily Telegraph
“[An] elegant, calm novel...Stead writes a cool, reasonable prose......Stead maintains an eye unblinkingly opposed to the transcendental”
“A subtly potent revisionist account of the life and death of Jesus”
“Brilliantly imagined...Among Stead's many achievements is a convincing social, political and physical backdrop...his creation of a coherent, rival story - clever, moving and sometimes witty, with fully human characters - is nothing short of a revelation”
Sam Phipps, Herald
“The distinguished New Zealand novelist plays with these differing takes in his novel of ideas, which retraces Jesus's journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem through the eyes of Judas...Seen from Judas's point of view, many familiar details take on a more familiar nature, tailored, intentionally or not, to the sceptical hue of our age...The overall result is a pleasingly unpredictable mix of traditional and radical...It's clever, thought-provoking...”
“CK Stead, New Zealand's most distinguished man of letters - scholar, critic and poet, as well as novelist - has written a fiction that is remarkable, intelligent and moving”
Allan Massie, Scotsman