Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Tehran Initiative by Joel C. Rosenberg

The world is on the brink of disaster, and the clock is ticking.

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 just 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 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 by Joel C. Rosenberg is the sequel to the The Twelfth Imam. Starting with a short preface from the first novel, The Tehran Initiative jumps right into the action left behind by The Twelfth Imam. The plot line of this book is quick, action-packed, yet still saturated with the Gospel message, the Muslim ideals and prophecies, and the political tensions surrounding the arrival of the Twelfth Imam. There is a good mix of the action segments and the slower, more political events. I enjoyed the variety, and it increased the suspense of the scenes as I had to wait sometimes to see what was going to happen to the characters. The action scenes were excellent and exciting, but I was also surprised by the brutality often displayed by the CIA. The political intrigue and the rising Middle Eastern tensions were interesting and striking,  and I was able to clearly see parallels to what is occurring abroad right now. There were several unexpected twists to the story that kept me on the edge of my seat, and one scene in particular that deeply satisfied me.

The point of views from which this novel is told switch between multiple people.  These include CIA director Robert Allen, Tom Murray, Will Jackson, David Shirazi, Marseille Harper, Eva Fischer, and Najjar Malik. These perspectives change quickly and often, though the story primarily lies with David. These changes help the reader understand that much of the passage of information in the story is fractured and that the situation is rapidly moving out of the control of the world leaders.

The characters of The Tehran Initiative were well developed and kept growing and changing from the previous novel. David Shirazi definitely experienced the most growth, and I enjoyed seeing his character change and deepen throughout the novel. The President, William Jackson, was introduced on a deeper level in this novel, but I was not impressed by his character. He came off, as he was intended to, as a weak and indecisive man who was more concerned with a fake 'peace' then saving Israel as well as America from the plan of the Twelfth Imam. The Israeli Prime Minister and his minister of defense, however, were incredibly strong characters that were afraid to defy America in order to save their country. Other characters whose characteristics continued to be revealed were Marseille Harper, Eva Fischer, and Najjar Malik. Both Eva and Najjar took stands during this novel for what they believed in and were not afraid to face the consequences. Marseille was more involved in the story and began to discover the truth about several people, including the Twelfth Imam. More of her past and character came out as she investigated.

Overall, I enjoyed The Tehran Initiative immensely. I thought it picked up smoothly from The Twelfth Imam, had a great plot, neat narrator changes, and excellent character development. I would highly recommend both The Twelfth Imam and The Tehran Initiative to anyone who enjoys action or political thrillers. These books are also a great way to learn more about the tensions in the Middle East in an exciting and only slightly more fictional manner.

I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

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