Bible-followers who tackle this faithful if sentimental version of the ministry of Jesus may be puzzled by the theosophist framework here, with its construct of persons and events outside commonly accepted historical fact or Biblical authority. La Croix tells the Messiah's story through the eyes of Judith, leader of the Essenes (the ""Brotherhood of the Elect"" on Mt. Carmel), and Ruth, here the sister of Jesus. The Brotherhood, whose destiny it is to interpret revelations from God throughout the ages, discovers that Judith has been chosen to guide and teach the upcoming Messiah. And, indeed, she chooses Mary, from a group of girls raised on Mt. Carmel, to be the possible mother of the Messiah; before Jesus' birth, she travels to Egypt to learn stories of Creation, of wars between the Sons of Belial and the Sons of the Law of One, and of Atlantis; and after the Messiah is born, the Elect on Mt. Carmel will follow the child's travels (""each new tooth became a cause for rejoicing"") as Jesus (here called Jeshua) goes to Egypt, India, and Persia to learn ""the ancient arts of mind over matter,"" then returning to Capernaum. From here on, the miracles and the sayings of Jesus (in a modern translation) closely follow the Bible books--with Mary's daughter Ruth as witness and commentator. And, throughout, the author relates the dramatic chronology and the miracles with enthusiasm. Still, the narrative tends to cloy--with a pastel-Sunday-School-card Jesus (the sun is ""a gauzy halo that framed his face""). And orthodox Christians may find much of this a bewildering maze of fabrications. A Biblical offside in floppy prose--so handle with care.