Monday, November 7, 2011

The Tehran Initiative

Joel C. Rosenberg
Tyndale Publishing

The world is on the brink of disaster. Iran has just conducted its first atomic weapons test. Millions of Muslims around the world are convinced their messiah — known as the Twelfth Imam — has arrived on earth. Israeli leaders fear Tehran, under the Twelfth Imam’s spell, will soon launch a nuclear attack that could bring about a second Holocaust and the annihilation of Israel. The White House fears Jerusalem will strike first, launching a massive preemptive attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities that could cause the entire Middle East to go up in flames, oil prices to skyrocket, and the global economy to collapse. With the stakes high and few viable options left, the president of the United States orders CIA operative David Shirazi and his team to track down and sabotage Iran’s nuclear warheads before Iran or Israel can launch a devastating first strike. But will they be too late?

The Tehran Initiative is the continuing saga of David Shirazi as an agent of the CIA, and it follows his deep incursions into Iran as he seeks out the locations of 8 Iranian nuclear warheads.  The world is literally on the verge of self-destruction that will be brought on by either Iran or Israel -- the question is who will launch a first strike.  David needs to keep his head clear and in the game despite dealing with the impending loss of his mother, and the resurgence of feelings for a long lost love.  Added into the mix is the reality of Christ and who He is, and The Tehran Initiative becomes a non-stop story of action, intrigue, hope, and faith that keeps you turning the pages quickly in order to keep up.

The book itself is, of course, incredibly well written.  Rosenberg does an exquisite job of making the story realistic, while not allowing his readers to get lost in the terminology.  Because of the subject matter, it's easy to get lost in a series of acronyms and not fully understand the scene.  Personally, I found myself interjecting the acronyms when I knew what they were, and learning new ones as they came my way.
The characters are well developed and, even if you haven't read The Twelfth Imam, their motivations are easily understood.  Because The Tehran Initiative is a sequel, there is the danger of being forced to re-develop your characters for new readers who are unfamiliar with the previous story, but Rosenberg makes sure that all the relevant information is reviewed in such a way that you are thankful for the quick re-cap - even if you've read the previous book.

It has been said of Rosenberg's work that he writes tomorrows headlines, and I have to say that this is absolutely true!  I remember reading a scene in The Tehran Initiative that described the President exiting Air Force One with a contingent of national leaders from Israel and Egypt, and the next day I was watching video of the President and a number of other people in suits (aside from the Secret Service) as they exited Air Force One.  It was freaky, but not as freaky as reading Rosenberg's story line of several Iranian battleships heading through the Suez Canal with two of them carrying nuclear weapons, and then reading about actual Iranian battleships travelling through the Suez Canal that very same day.  Indeed, Rosenberg writes tomorrow's headlines.

All in all, if you like a great story, filled with suspense, action, and unlikely twists that have the ability to blow your mind, The Tehran Initiative is the book for you.  You don't have to read The Twelfth Imam to understand what is happening in The Tehran Initiative, but I highly suggest reading them both.  Each one of them is a roller coaster ride all it's own.

FTC Disclosure: I received The Tehran Initiative for free as part of the Tyndale Publisher book blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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