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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Twelfth Imam

"A nation with martyrdom knows no captivity."  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Joel Rosenberg’s new book, The Twelfth Imam is a fictional story that could easily play out in real life. Tensions in the Middle East are heating up and the threat of nuclear warfare increases.  Muslim extremists are intent on wiping out Israel and becoming the world’s superpower.  This time however, the stakes are much higher as the Muslim world is watching and waiting for the “Twelfth Imam”, a Shia Muslim leader who they believe first lived in the 9th century.  Based on prophecy and Shia eschatology (or end times theology), this leader will emerge again and change the course of history, forever ending the struggle between good and evil in the last days.

The book begins with the story of an American man who works in Tehran for the state department.  It is 1979 and Charlie Harper and his wife must flee Iran as hatred builds amongst the Iranian people towards America.  Upon their departure, they refuse to leave behind their neighbors and good friends, Dr. and Mrs. Shirazi, an Iranian couple who has helped them and could be murdered if found.  As the story unfolds, the lives of these two couples remain intertwined in America long after they have started over in the United States.

Fast forward to September 11, 2001.  After the attacks on the World Trade Center, David Shirazi, son of Dr. and Mrs. Shirazi, is stunned and horrifed to learn that Charlie Harper’s wife Claire, has died in one of the World Trade Center towers.  David has just started to get to know their daughter Marseille better – and he’s falling in love with her.  After the funeral, Marseille and her father move away and David loses all contact with his first love.  Sixteen years old, depressed and angry, David begins a downward spiral that leads him into all kinds of trouble and his hatred towards Osama Bin Laden grows stronger each day. 

What David doesn’t know is that the CIA has been very interested in him for many years and is tracking his every move, planning to recruit him as a CIA operative. David speaks fluent Farsi, German and French.  He has a photographic memory and tests at genius levels. With his Iranian heritage, he has excellent potential to work undercover for the CIA and help hunt down Osama Bin Laden. 

After getting into some trouble, David is doing time in a local juvenile detention facility where he is paid an early visit by the CIA.  The agency wants to insure that David will complete college along with their training program and they make him an offer he can’t refuse – the opportunity to hunt Osama Bin Laden. Under close scrutiny by the CIA, David attends a private boys’ academy, keeps himself under the radar and throws himself into learning everything he can about Bin Laden. Upon graduation, he attends the Agency’s top-secret training facility and earns his title as a “NOC” – nonofficial cover operative. 

David couldn’t have dreamed of a more fulfilling career but he is not prepared for what he encounters when he is sent to his native country to stop Iran’s nuclear efforts, nor the lies he will have to tell to stay alive.

This book gives interesting background on the history of Iran, the Quran, Islam (both peaceful and radical), Muslim practices / beliefs. Not really knowing much about the “Twelfth Imam” prophecies, it made me do a little research and dig deeper into the basis of this book.  It is action packed, suspense filled and moves at a very fast pace. This is definitely a nail biter book and hard to put down, if you’re into end times events and apocalyptic storylines. 

Purchase The Twelfth Imam 

Read the first chapter

This book was provided free for review by Tyndale House Publishers

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