In a debut certain to spark conversation, Kristen Wolf takes the story of Christianity and spins it in an entirely different direction – think The Mists of Avalon for the story of Jesus.
In 1st-century Judea, Anna has been an oddity all her short life, different in body and mind from everyone around her. When her mother dies giving birth to a stillborn boy, Anna is sold to shepherds by her father, who passes her off as a boy. To keep her secret, Anna assumes the identity of her doomed brother: Jesus. After a decade with his adopted family, Jesus is again uprooted when he discovers a group of women who preserve Goddess worship in an era when the male God rules all. In their idyllic commune, Jesus resumes life as Anna and comes to terms with her gender fluidity; but when her world is destroyed for the third time, she again becomes Jesus to bring the message of what he has learned to a people who will kill him for it.
Some readers will find The Way an interesting reimagining of history; some will see it as denigrating one religion to promote another; and others will simply enjoy it as a myth told in a different way. As historical fantasy, it’s well constructed and well written; the setting is thoroughly researched and richly described, and the pace flows quickly, though many of the characters lack complexity. Regardless of personal opinion, it can’t be denied that The Way is a daring and passionate debut from an author to watch in the future.