Any book that starts off with two naked people and a talking snake has something going for it. The continuity is a bit off; there’s the story of Cain and Abel being the sons of Adam and Eve, who are the first man and woman, but then Cain goes off and gets married, and it’s never really clear where Mrs. Cain comes from.
The poetry and lyrical realism are very reminiscent of Shakespeare’s better works, but it does get episodic in places, especially in all the writings of the “prophets;” where’s the connection to the main plot?
The second half has a nice “Rashomon” feel to it with four different versions of the life of the main protagonist. The political issues get a little muddy; the author could have taken a cue from Michener in doing more research and laying it out clearly as to what the political climate was like. He or she assumes the reader is familiar with the backstory of Israel in 4 B.C., and that’s a pretty big leap.
All in all I enjoyed it; the messages were pretty simple: do unto others etc. is a bit hackneyed, but it still comes across. As far as fables and mythology goes, though, you might want to check out some of the works by Tolkien; there’s a much stronger plotline there.
I gave it three stars. It’s got a nice tune and you can dance to it.