Rice's new series on the life of Jesus Christ is a testament to the reawakening of her faith. She has moved from the dark world of vampires and witches to another plane, where healing and light allow her to create a re-imagined 7-year-old Jesus.

Jesus' family is returning from exile in Egypt to Israel. Their journey, set against the backdrop of the Jewish rebellion against Herod Archelaus, presents Jesus with opportunities to stun his elders with his extensive knowledge and his ability to make it snow and bring inanimate objects to life. He learns of his birth and begins to ponder what his grandfather's mumblings about the "King of the Jews" means. But his true epiphany comes when he's attacked and kills his attacker, only to raise him from the dead.

Rice portrays Jesus as a boy wrestling with his destiny. Her young protagonist possesses a spiritual and supernatural essence and is rooted in his Jewishness and his love of his family. Rice's extensive research and personal faith are evident throughout this beautiful and accurately rendered book. She uses lyrical, lean prose to give Jesus his voice and bring the gospel to readers in an original, stirring voice. Though purists may take offense, many will see how profoundly drawn to her faith Rice has become and how courageously she tackles something so controversial. This is a moving, fascinating, thought-provoking reading experience. (Nov., 336 pp., $25.95)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin