This 1951 novel takes the very interesting premise of playing out the life of Barabbas after he is freed and Jesus is crucified. Lagerkvist (Nobel prize winner), portrays Barabbas as many would imagine him -- strong, violent, brooding, and dangerous. But Lagerkvist takes it further by showing the impact of Jesus on his life. Barabbas witnesses both the crucifixion and the resurrection, yet still finds it impossible to believe despite a desire to do so. Two encounters with the apostle Peter show us similar characters who have made different choices, and these encounters have many years between each other.Barabbas is unable to return to his old life as a rebel against the state, yet his violent side is shown in his quick decision to kill a man who is stoning a woman he once loved. The woman and others are people willing to give their lives for Christ, an action which always surprises and bewilders Barabbas. He wants to do the same, but simply lacks the willingness to believe. It is not a matter of courage, but of surrender.At times the story tends to the melodramatic, and it would have been stronger told from the viewpoint of a clearly identified voice. I could not help but think throughout how interesting this would have been if written by Nikos Kazantzakis.