Tension rises in the Middle East.
As the apocalyptic leaders of Iran call for the annihilation of Israel and the United States, CIA operative David Shirazi is sent into Tehran with one objective: use all means necessary to disrupt Iran’s nuclear weapons program—without leaving American fingerprints and without triggering a regional war.
As David begins to infiltrate the Iranian government, news spreads throughout the region of an obscure religious cleric hailed as the Islamic messiah known as the Mahdi or the Twelfth Imam. News of his miracles, healings, signs, and wonders spreads like wildfire, as do rumors of a new and horrific war.
With the prophecy of the Twelfth Imam seemingly fulfilled, Iran’s military prepares to strike Israel and bring about the End of Days. Shirazi must take action to save his country and the world, but the clock is ticking.
The Twelfth Imam by Joel C. Rosenberg is an intense political thriller that masterfully conveys the true tensions that lie in the Middle East. The first book in Rosenberg's new series, it beautifully sets the stage for the following novels. The plot line of this novel is well developed and pulls in characters from all areas of the story. At the beginning it is hard to see how all the characters are important and part of the unfolding events, but as the novel continues, it becomes increasingly evident of their connections to each other and to the overall plot. There is a tone of urgency and impending destruction throughout the novel that keeps the plot line moving at a fast pace. The novel is a wonderful combination of quick moving action segments and incredibly researched and insightful comments about the Shia Muslims' beliefs and the rising tensions in the Middle East.
The characters were interesting and realistic as well. At times they seemed less developed when compared to the intricacy of the overall plot line, but it did not take away from the story; rather, it left room for continued character growth in the sequel, The Tehran Initiative. David and Najjar both experienced growth throughout the novel, and it was interesting to see their thought processes as they began to grasp what was truly going on.
The Twelfth Imam was a very interesting novel that clearly showed what many Muslims believe as well as pointed out the growth of Christianity in the Middle East through Jesus dreams and visions. I learned a lot about some groups of Muslims views about the End Times and about the implications of their beliefs.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel by Joel C. Rosenberg. It was not a quick read, but it was informative and I was not bored while I read. I highly recommend it, and I cannot wait to read the Tehran Initiative.