Author: Bill Kassel
Genre: Biblical Fiction
What if your brother was the most controversial figure in the history of the world and your job was to protect him? That’s the challenge faced by Rabbi James of Jerusalem, whose kinsman, the Nazarene prophet, Jesus, is stirring debate and anxiety. James’ only hope of fulfilling a deathbed promise to his father, Joseph, is his relationship with Pilate, the Roman governor, who turns to James for guidance in matters of Jewish law. Protecting Jesus becomes the focus of James’ life as his brother runs afoul of temple authorities, and Zealot rebels attempt to exploit his growing popularity — their goal to foment a revolution against the hated Romans. But even such a widely admired man of honor and learning as James can’t calm the fears of change aroused by Jesus and his movement, or counteract the forces of greed, corruption and violence that loom over a nation ready to explode.
Reviewer: Lynn Rountree
The author did a superb job studying his details. I would not call this a quick read, but something supplemental to chew on as you study the history of the Bible. Many of the historical details are factual while the story and the way it plays our are speculation. The author though did a wonderful job walking the line of plausibility. I would caution newer in the faith that this is a fictional book and for biblical truth, stick with the Bible and commentary.
I was amazed at the "whoa, that could have happened" in my spirit as I read. Many of the scenarios are very plausible! However, it was easier for me many times to forget that this was somewhat biblically based. It's a different taste as far as Christian books go, but I recommend at least getting your feet wet. I will say this author is very very imaginative and you can tell he loves what he does.
Reviewer: Kandace Perry
Overall, it was an interesting novel. However, I did find some parts that were slow and rather difficult to get through. I personally prefer a novel in my hand as opposed to reading on a device, which I had to do for this particular novel; unfortunately, that slightly lessened my enjoyment of the novel.
The cover was bold and concise and directly related to the content of the novel.
The novel was well researched, and the overall content was Biblically based. However, there was also much left to the author's imagination and embellishments.
My Brother's Keeper penned by Bill Kassel was an intriguing take on what the lives of Mary, Joseph and his (Jesus') brothers, James in particular, would have been like. You could almost feel the dust on their sandaled feet, hear the bleating of their sheep in the fields, smell the freshly cut wood from their woodshop and hear the excitement in James' voice as he retold the lessons he learned each day in class. My Brother's Keeper was written with great warmth and insight; allowing us to embrace each family member's unease over the prospect of Jesus as the Son of God. We journey with them as they complete their daily tasks and responsibilities all while working through their personal questions and struggles, until they come to a place of acceptance where their eyes - especially James' are opened and see Jesus for who He is becoming without fully grasping the enormity of what He has to do to fulfill the will of God. James fought to protect Jesus and look out for Him even though he did not fully understand what that meant. James was determined to keep a promise that he made his father, as he knelt by his father's deathbed.... to be his Brother's Keeper.
Reviewer: Camille Murray
I have mixed reactions to this book. I enjoyed the historical and cultural details, and appreciated the interesting viewpoint of Jesus' brother James. I also liked how the author brought a real-life feel to life in those days.
However, I also felt like the story dragged. Part one was especially difficult to finish, and ended up feeling "tacked on" to the rest of the story. Parts two and three, although better executed than part one, were not nearly cohesive enough to give the impression of a solid plot. I'm not sure I completely liked the way Jesus was portrayed, but I understand how difficult it is to try to imagine God incarnate.
Overall, I feel that this book would be good for educational reading, not so much as a novel.