Title: The Tehran Initiative
Author: Joel C. Rosenberg
This book starts fairly slow with the author working recaps of book one in the series throughout the narrative. As a result, Rosenberg doesn’t really hit his stride until about a hundred pages in. From that point on, however, I couldn’t put the book down. It has all the classic elements of a spy story. The protagonist, David Shirazi, is operating amid the backdrop of war between Iran, led by the twelfth Imam, and Israel. Along with the international intrigue, Rosenberg also includes the spiritual. His characters, through flawed and imperfect, live their faith in a way that is believable and practical. This book is easily as good as the first book in the series (The Twelfth Imam) and I am looking forward to the final book of the trilogy.
This book is Rosenberg’s first in the David Shirazi series. When I determined earlier this month to add more fiction into my reading diet, this book was on my short list. I had read it once before when it was first released, but looked forward to a re-read so that I could continue through the series.
Rosenberg is a master of weaving current headlines and events within the framework of his fiction. The end result is a highly believable spy novel. Rosenberg also laces this story with Islam eschatology concerning the arrival of the Twelfth Imam, or Mahdi, along with elements of Biblical eschatology. In doing so, Rosenberg creates a Christian thriller that’s ripped from the headlines yet laced with end-times suspense.
For what it’s worth, I am by no means an expert in Islam, however, I did take an undergraduate class that included a look into the eschatology of those who believe in the coming of the Twelfth Imam and this book seems right on the money. Rosenberg certainly has a handle on his topic. I’ll reserve my judgment of Rosenberg’s Biblical theology for after I’ve read deeper into the series (which I believe is a trilogy).
This book is highly entertaining and well-written. The characters are believable, flawed, and life-like (unlike the wooden characters that seem to permeate much Christian fiction). I think it can be enjoyed by believers and unbelievers alike. Those who give it lower ratings seem to be hostile to the Gospel of Christ in general.
I am looking forward to the rest of the books in this series.
Book Review: Epicenter 2.0 by Joel Rosenberg
Publisher: Tyndale House, 2006
Rating: 9 out of 10
Joel Rosenberg was recommended to me by a fiend at church and being the Amazon.com junkie I am, I immediately checked him out. I am incredibly glad I did! In one simple word, this guy is amazing. Rosenberg has written a series of highly acclaimed political thrillers that have an uncanny way of predicting real life occurrences. I am not sure how I missed him because his books are so unnervingly prophetic that he is constantly being interviewed on television. He has conducted high level briefings for people in our government as well as other countries and has worked for such notables as Benjamin Netanyaho and Steve Forbes. In reality though, Mister Rosenberg is not a prophet. He simply reads the Bible and writes fiction stories that fit into the prophecy revealed in Scripture. His books will freak you out a little.
Epicenter is Rosenberg’s first nonfiction work. In this book, he details the meaning of such prophetic passages as Ezekiel Chapters 38 and 39 and illustrates how these prophecies are playing out in the world around us. Rosenberg also spells out some of the headlines we can expect to see in the future as these prophecies come to pass. It is incredible just how knowledgeable Rosenberg is.
I’ll be honest, Bible prophecy is one of those things that I have always felt some people focus on too much. I have always preferred to know that God is in control and that He has a plan for us all. The only Bible prophecy I have ever spent much time meditating on is that Jesus will return someday. I always thought the details were best left to God. After reading this book and spending some time studying the Scriptures that Rosenberg references, I am completely convinced that God has spelled out in amazing detail the way in which He will bring about the end times. I am also further convinced that we are watching it come to pass right now. I realize that Christians have been saying the end is near for 2000 years now. I also realize that saying I believe the end is really near is liable to get me labeled as some kind of zealot of something, but I don’t really care. I can’t tell you if it will happen in my lifetime or not, but Jesus Christ is coming back … this I know for sure. Rosenberg’s work has served to convince me of this.
This book should be read by everyone. If you are a Christian, you will be very happy you have decided to believe in Scripture after reading this. If you are not a Christian, this book may very well give you reason to reconsider.
At the risk of sounding blunt and offensive, if you read this book, study the Scriptures that Rosenberg references, and then can’t admit the Bible is a special text that is inspired by God … you are a fool.