The pious outsider Nicodemus appears only three times in the gospels. He came to question Jesus under cover of night, and was told “You must be born again.” He spoke in protest as the ruling council laid plans to kill Jesus. And after the disciples had fled, Nicodemus helped take Jesus’ body from the cross and lay it respectfully in a tomb.
Writer Joy Buchanan weaves a moving and edifying narrative around these fixed points. This historical novel fills in the rest of Nicodemus’s story: his love, his loss, and his quest for truth in the turbulent setting of first-century Jerusalem.
This paperback is long enough to be a satisfying read, but short enough at 89 pages to not intimidate the casual reader. It takes historical accuracy seriously, but keeps the vocabulary unpretentious. So it makes a fine present to anyone over the age of twelve or so. Evangelical Christians will appreciate its fidelity to the gospels, while for non-religious folks this novel can be an agreeable first-time entry into the biblical narrative. Some readers may see themselves in Nicodemus as he struggles to make sense of the extraordinary claims about Jesus, in a world where tragedy and injustice seem to dominate.