The Book of Rachael By Leslie Cannold (Text NZ$40)
Dr Leslie Cannold, ethicist and social commentator, was named in 2005 as one of Australia’s top 20 public intellectuals. This, her first work of fiction, is a brilliant imagining of the life of the fiercely intelligent younger sister of Joshua of Nazareth. Defying the restrictions of her gender, and the help of her brother, Rachael becomes educated and forms a relationship with his friend, Judah of Iscariot. Reading this brilliant, fascinating novel was the only time in my life I wished I knew my Bible better. I’m sure I missed many of the references, but was nonetheless intrigued and involved.