Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Epiphany by the Queen of Vampires

One of my Christmas reads was The Road To Cana by Anne Rice, the author best known for her vampire and occult novels. This is the second book in her Christ The Lord series; a fictional novel continuing Rice’s exploration of the life of Jesus and covering the period leading up to his emergence into public ministry at the age of 30, culminating in the miracle of the wedding at Cana. An unusual feature of the series is that it is written in the first person, however, this allows Rice to explore the inner tensions that must have confronted Jesus as he came to terms with his calling and ministry. Jesus wrestles with the possibility of marriage, family tensions, the challenge to take up military opposition to Roman occupation and the other demands of messianic expectation.

The themes of The Road To Cana are not dissimilar to those explored in Nikos The Road to CanaKazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ, though this book is more traditional and orthodox in its theology. Incarnation, vocation and revelation are at the heart of the narrative and Rice captures the humanity of Jesus as he confronts the evils of zealotry, bigotry, cruelty and the temptations of Satan in the wilderness following his baptism. The story is an epiphany as Jesus comes to a full realisation of his mission and his true nature, hinted at throughout his life, is revealed to family, friends and the wider community.

From vampires to Christ is my more detailed post about the Christ The Lord series and Anne Rice’s faith and Jonathan Evens has also written an interesting piece about The Road to Cana. I understand that Rice plans two more books in the series and one of the interesting questions Jonathan raises is how Rice will handle the more familiar material from the four gospels. The Road to Cana suggests she will handle the material with sensitivity, imagination and considerable theological insight.

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