This would be pure pleasure reading if it weren't so close to what I'm reading in headlines these days. Good read - hard to put down. This was my first experience reading Joel's books. I just ordered The Last Jihad series to read more of his work. Keep em coming!
This book continues the series wonderfully!! I highly recommend reading it. Believe it or not, I think that there was more action in this book than the first. It was great to read about these wonderful characters again. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.
David Shirazi is back! And so is the other cast of characters in the second installment of Rosenberg's new political thriller series which could have easily been plucked from today's headlines. The Tehran Initiative sees the return of CIA operative Shirazi working undercover to foil the plans of Iran's leadership to initiate a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Israel. Shirazi equally plays his role well as a government operative working under the auspices of the CIA and under the guise of a telecommunications salesman for an international company, seeking to provide Iran with a new communications infrastructure for their new leadership, which has bas been essentially taken over by the purported Twelfth Imam, miraculously revealing himself as the long awaited Muslim Messiah. Reminiscent of a charismatic leader who is essentially handed over a kingdom, the Imam poses a formidable threat in many respects, not just politically, but to followers of assorted religions as well. Mandated by his government handlers, Shirazi battles not only his clearly identifiable enemies, but more importantly, his inner struggles to learn the truth of who really is the Messiah. A great addition to the series, and it was thoroughly enjoyed, particularly the analytic skills demonstrated by Shirazi's love interest, Marseille Harper, who discovers a secret about Shirazi which has a profound impact. Bring on the third installment Mr. Rosenberg!
David Shirazi is back with more secrets than ever. After successfully extracting Iran's top nuclear scientist, David is confronted with a race against time as he desperately tries to track down missing nuclear war heads and top political operatives while following the events happening in the rest of the world and at home.
In this sequel to The Twelfth Imam, more details are revealed as we continue to learn what is really going on in this alternate future where the new leader of Iran is reestablishing the Caliphate and nuclear armageddon is looming. The plot is redolent with details, and the author does a masterful job at tying up the loose ends and eliminating possible plot holes.
However, while the first book was definitely action driven, much of this book is stuck in committee, focusing on dialogues between characters that I sometimes had trouble keeping straight. The politics in this novel are as confusing as in real life, and everyone may or may not have a double motive.
Violence is here again in plenty, including shootings, beatings, water boarding, other forms of torture, earthquakes, bombings, and what not. The descriptions are not overly graphic, and the fast pace of the novel keeps you from dwelling on these disturbing scenes too deeply. In fact, most of the characters don't seem to be too shaken either. At one point in the story, when a main character finds himself tortured by supposed allies, he finds himself almost immediately back at work without any seriously debilitating pain or trauma. In the author's eagerness to move on with the story, perhaps he sacrificed the reality behind what it means to have human beings purposely inflicting severe mental and physical pain on other human beings, and in the process lessened the sense of reality the book worked so hard to create.
Religion continues to be a central theme, specifically Islamic mythology and conflict between Islam and the rest of the world, including Jews and Christians. Evangelism begins to play a crucial part in the plot, as does reading the scripture, prayer, and faith. The author does a good job in keeping these aspects relevant to the story and characters, rather than laying it on the top like an artificial veneer.
There are no notes in the back of the book citing Mr. Rosenberg's sources and inspirations. This is something included in the first novel which I sorely missed in this sequel.
I'd recommend this book to a reader who enjoys the spy thriller genre but also has the patience to wade through pages of explanatory dialogue where nothing terribly exciting happens. This book requires a significant time and patience investment to finish, but finishing rewards the reader with another installment in a very good suspense series. Thumbs up.