Sunday Afternoon Bookworm #2: The Tehran Initiative (Joel Rosenberg)
Originally published on The Biblical Bookshelf.
The Tehran Initiative explores an interesting hypothesis. No matter what view you hold of the church’s presence during the Tribulation period, many in the modern American church make an interesting assumption about Revelation’s beast—that he will be a smooth-talking public figure, loved by much of the world. This assumption is probably influenced by the ever-popular Left Behind series.
Rosenberg develops an alternate interpretation: Perhaps the beast is the same individual as Islam’s Twelfth Imam, an apocalyptic figure whom they believe will usher in the end of the world. Perhaps he will be loved by the Islamic world, but hated from the start by the rest.
Granted, this is a novel. Rosenberg is not (at least overtly) advancing this as a point of doctrine. But it is interesting food for thought.
Context and worldview aside, the novel is thrilling and compelling. When you pick up this hefty hardcover, you might not anticipate that it will keep you engaged, fascinated, and flipping the pages through the final chapter—but it does.
Though this book is second in a series, it is not what you might think of as a typical “series novel.” I made it to the closing page—459—before realizing that a sequel was intended. And only then did I check and find out (or, perhaps, rediscover) that there was a preceding book in the series, The Twelfth Imam. Rosenberg doesn’t assume that you remember the characters or the plot from a previous novel. Yet, since he doesn’t spend painfully long passages on backstory, the pace is unlikely to drag for readers of the earlier book.
The book contains enough violence to make it inappropriate for young and perhaps middle-aged children. Plot developments require key characters to both receive and administer torture. Yet the character who administers it wrestles and struggles with whether it is an appropriate means to the end—the end of averting a nuclear holocaust.
With that caveat addressed, the book will undoubtedly delight fans of Rosenberg’s apocalyptic thrillers, as well as fans new to the author. It receives a Biblical Bookshelf rating of four stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection (FTC 16 CFR, Part 255): Review copy provided by publisher. A positive review was not required; opinions expressed are those of the site editor.