November 14, 2005 12:00 PM

NOVEL

by Anne Rice

Anne Rice isn’t afraid—and may be drawn to—curious and controversial subjects: In 1974 she began writing about the undead and went on to produce wildly successful works including Interview with the Vampire. After 20-odd bloodcurdlers, she is venturing into radically different territory; in her latest, Christ the Lord, she boldly imagines the early childhood years of Jesus, written in first person. Will her vampire-philes turn away now? Will Christian readers take offense? If they do—and there might be a backlash—it won’t be because Rice has lost her touch. Christ the Lord is well-researched and nicely written, and Rice (who has said that the book was inspired by her return to the Catholic faith) uses restraint in telling her tale. She believably represents Jesus’ gradual understanding of his origins and fate. Inevitably, the story doesn’t offer many twists, but Rice’s version is reverent and often moving.

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