Wow, this is one of those books that's rather hard to describe, let alone review. It comes from a leftfield view of the world, written in a way that makes you wonder if it's just you that doesn't' think along those lines.
Ostensibly, this is a work of theology telling the story of Lazarus. A passing knowledge of biblical history is probably a help in reading this, but as long as you've heard of Jesus you're probably ok. The author mixes biblical story, historical fact, art and imagination in a way that is completely convincing in telling the life of Lazarus, his early friendship growing up with Jesus, his decline, death and resurrection. As Lazarus is really barely mentioned in the bible (although important, his part is small) this is quite a feat to expand a few sentences into an entire lifetime.
This is a great book for imagining how things must have seemed to ordinary people at the time. After all, after Lazarus was raised it would be natural for people to wonder if perhaps actually is Lazarus the messiah? Jesus has yet to die and return, but Lazarus managed it. Or was Lazarus just a trial run for Jesus, so he could gauge how to maximise the impact and conviction of his own resurrection? How does Lazarus feel about all this? Confused? Annoyed? What about the Romans, who were wondering as much as anyone about what Jesus and Lazarus are up to?
This is a fascinating book, with a great insight and humour. Don't think this is one only for the religious, it's a really good read even for died in the wool atheists. Highly recommended.