Neither historians nor theologians have solved the mystery of the missing years in the life of Jesus. His whereabouts between the ages of 14 and 29 are an unknown. There is a school of thought that suggests these lost years were spent with Jesus traveling, Tibet, India, and the rather elusive civilization of the Kushans are often mentioned. One thing is clear, if Jesus did travel to some, or all of these locales he would have encountered different religious beliefs.  In 1939 a Tibetan Buddhist librarian at the Himis Monastery in Ladakh made the statement “These books say your Jesus was here.”

It is with this as a backdrop that Lois Drake weaves her novel about those lost years. Venturing into this subject is almost certain to offend some faction of people! I can name several other books that in one form or another have created a firestorm by bringing Jesus into the story line, Irving Wallace’s The Word, Charles Templeton’s Act Of God, and of course Dan Browns The Da Vinci Code. There are very few subjects likely to create more trouble than novels about religion. Oh, and they do not just have to concern Christianity, just ask my acquaintance Eric Kampmann of Mid Point Books, he published the controversial Jewel Of Medina, his European publisher pulled out of the project after his offices were fire bombed!

I do not think that Lois Drake has by any means produced a controversial novel, but I am sure that some purists and zealots will take offense. Me? I just like great stories, and ISSA – The Greatest Story Never Told fits the bill.

It transpires that Lois Drake actually did a good deal of research before putting pen to paper. Fred Peck collaborated on the work, doing extensive research on the rather mysterious and little known Kushans. In part Lois Drake also took a great deal deal of inspiration from The Lost Years Of Jesus by Elizabeth Clare Prophet, this book explores some ancient Buddhist manuscripts that tell of Jesus’ explorations through India, Nepal, and Tibet.

Did Jesus change his name to Issa during this period of his life? Did he embrace the teachings of Buddhah?

Lois Drake, emphasizes that this is a work of fiction, she has merely tried to create a story that might cover some of the situations that Jesus might have encountered if indeed the missing years were spent traveling. She has created some traveling companions who journey with Jesus. They are all well crafted and believable. There are no ‘miracles’ per se, it is just a learning experience,  we see the student Jesus gradually become the teacher Jesus.

You have probably noticed that this review reveals almost nothing about the plot. That was a very a conscious decision, and one I thought long and hard about. The subject matter is contentious, and I want to encourage people to read this book in order to draw their own conclusions, rather than be colored by mine.

I found ISSA – The Greatest Story Never Told to be a truly engaging piece of writing.

You can order your copy of ISSA-The Greatest Story Never Told from Amazon, Lois Drake also has a web site in support of the book.

Simon Barrett

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