"In 2002 I made up my mind that I would not write anything that wasn't for Christ," the former vampire queen explained. The title of her latest novel stakes out Rice's new preoccupation. "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt" tells the story of a young Jesus from his point of view: a 7-year-old boy who is discovering his powers and his identity.
Rice immersed herself in Christian scholarship, and her book draws heavily from many sources, from Josephus to N.T. Wright. But she discards much of modern New Testament scholarship, as she explains in the author's note. Her contempt for what she calls "skeptical scholarship"--including "arguments that insisted most of the Gospels were suspect, for instance, or written too late to be eyewitness accounts"--is obvious throughout the note.
The story of Jesus that she constructs includes some legends about miracles the boy performed. But she makes her tale consistent with the Gospel of Luke, forming an elaborate and imaginative addition based on a few lines describing Jesus' childhood. "I took my cue from Luke," she says. "I saw a great framework there."
"I offer this book to those who know nothing of Jesus Christ in the hope that you will see him in these pages in some form. I offer this novel with love to my readers who've followed me through one strange turn after another in the hope that Jesus will be as real to you as any other character I've ever launched into the world we share."
Rice's future "strange turns" are likely to continue to be inspired by Jesus. "My life is committed to Christ the Lord," she said. "My books will be a reflection of that commitment."
I don't see why she couldn't find a way to combine the two as J.G. Eccarius has done.