Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Twelfth Imam by Joel C. Rosenberg

Title : The Twelfth Imam
Author: Joel C. Rosenberg
Publisher: Jaico Publishers
Genre: Christian Fiction Thriller

A fast paced thriller which features action from the word go, the latest novel by Joel C Rosenberg is a book you can’t put down once you pick it up to read. It weaves the End of the day theory of shia-ite eschatology, current day events and 5the personal stories of the characters in an intricate plot packed with action and suspense.

It’s the story of a spy, David Shirazi aka Reza Tabrizi, an Iranian immigrant boy who loses the one girl he ever felt close to and never comes to terms with the loss. After losing his way for sometimes in the aftermath of the nine eleven attacks he decides to join CIA and hunt for Osama bin Laden. David is then abruptly appointed to Tehran where the President along with the spiritual leader has been planning to unleash nuclear terror on the world in general and USA and Israel in particular.

They believe in the theory of creating chaos and violence to coincide and even encourage the appearance of the ‘Mahdi’ or the The Twelfth Imam as per the shia-ite belief. With an American president who wants to negotiate instead of waging war, an Israeli Prime Minister who is prepared to take pre-emptive action and destroy the reported nuclear sites and a scorched CIA which doesn’t want to put its foot in its mouth again after the Iraq fiasco, David has his task cut out.

He sets out on a topsy- turvy ride to Iran where his job is to discover and disrupt the nuclear weapons program without USA being apparently involved and avoid triggering a war. His courage, skill and humane values are stringently tested and he is forced again to evaluate his religious philosophies.

The novel emphasizes the faith of Christianity and other religions in non-violence and world peace and brings out the chilling facet of Islamic fundamentalism and futility of jihad.  Being a Christian novel it obviously upholds Christ and Christianity.  To an average Indian reader, it will be disappointing not to find even a mention of Hinduism, a little odd considering it has a dominating presence in Asia and is the world’s third largest religion.  Also the visions of Christ himself to the various characters who convert to Christianity and give up Islam, its violence and the zeal to prove Islam as a false religion are bit out of place for a first time reader of the author.

The book is action oriented, fast paced and crisply written. The plot is tightly woven and characters well etched out. The romantic angle provided by Marseille, David’s love of life is interesting. His self-discovery and quest for a religion which provides him succor, peace and is non-biased is an interesting sub plot. The end however is abrupt and one feels short changed after all the hair- raising action. It is as if the juggernaut comes to halt suddenly. If that’s done deliberately to leave the reader waiting for more and anticipate the next book in the series it definitely serves its function.

A must read for those who are interested in the Twelver theory , the current events in west Asia and the relationship between Iran, Iraq , Israel and USA . It is chilling to realize how close we can be to war and end of day if Iran is really following the nuclear program as is widely believed.

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