Cascata Nerina's Reviews > The Last Jihad

The Last Jihad by Joel C. Rosenberg
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Mar 03, 11

bookshelves: alternate-history, male-protagonist, mystery, theology, political-science
Recommended for: see my review
Read from March 01 to 03, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: Once

Lots of people have called Rosenberg a modern Nostradamus, but I think that he is simply someone who pays attention to events and the ripple effect they have on other events. For instance the first book in his Political Thrillers series (creative series title I know), The Last Jihad begins with a hijacked plane, and while it refers a couple of times in the beginning to 9/11, the majority of the book was written pre-9/11 and those bits were added in later rewrites according the preface in the second book The Last Days.

The characters in the book are well thought out most notably in their background which gives them more rounding than otherwise would. There's a lot of history built into what happens in the book, and a lot of it is explained. Most of it isn't things that would be internationally well known either. One particularly pivotal character to the entire book (though not the main characters), just happened to be curious and bored ten years or more ago and it resulted in the opening scenes of the book.

At the same time anyone who keeps up with politics would find it interesting as an alternative history: What if? The plot is a logical production of what would have happened if, rather than going into Iraq in a post 9/11 world we dealt with them diplomatically, but hunted out and tracked down most of the terrorists. The biggest initial thing that changed was that following bush a Colorado Republican named MacPherson was elected into office to continue the work. Though the date of the opening is never given clues lead to the deduction that the book opens on the lead up to Thanksgiving 2010. The clues include: that it's Thanksgiving week, he's returning home for it; that it's just passed mid-term elections; and that he could get reelected with a landslide if his popularity holds. From there the tangents begin to diverge quickly.

The first two chapters of the book are the hardest to read. The first one because it jumps right into action packed drama, but you're still adjusting to the author's style of writing (which skips around though each scene is a complete scene). The second one is hard because, even without technical terms, a lot of financial thoughts and paragraphs occur and if you don't think in terms of high finance you might have to wade through it twice, or at least slow down (which is what I did).

This is the first book, and if you like nice wrapped up endings to the end of your books be ready with the second book on hand. The plot of the first book is wrapped up to my satisfaction and I will be trying to read a few other things first. However, the plot in general is not wrapped up; and will continue on for another four books (thus far) the second of which also is eerily accurate. According to the reviews.

The settings are well described when they deviate from something that anyone would know. For instance in the airport the biggest description refers to the long lines and is about that long; but when they go off the beaten path the descriptions get much more detailed and take in all the senses. I am thinking of one scene in particular, but because it is in the latter half of the book I won't bother to share it, but let you discover it.

The book does have Christian leanings. It isn't overwhelming, or preachy, but consider the factions involved - Israel and Iraq (which are at each other's throats over religion). Bible verses are quoted a few times, but that's about it. Just thought I should make anyone who was thinking about reading it, but has very set views of religion and politics aware of it.

The second cautionary note is that there are a lot of players. If you have trouble keeping names and jobs and personalities straight ... (Normally I'd say names and faces, but there aren't really faces here) get a pencil and a piece of paper ready; jot down the name and the political position or job association. That will help keep you straight.

Over all it was a great book, but I'm holding off on the next one because it sucks a lot out of you. It's not for children, nor is it for everyone; but those who like political thrillers will enjoy this one.

Now because political thrillers aren't generally my cup of tea, but I wanted to try something new, I don't have a lot of "If you like X try Y" for you.

If you want a little more religious studies with your thriller try Tim LaHaye's and Jerry B. Jenkin's Left Behind series which is based on Revelations (the last book of the Bible).

If you would prefer your thriller with less overt religion I would say try the series 24, which is actually a television series, but I did say that I didn't have a lot of Political Thrillers in my background.
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Reading Progress

03/01/2011 page 22
6.0% "Well that was a blast of an opening chapter... *Still blinking at how fast it moved*"
03/02/2011 page 150
43.0% "This book starts with a bang and then just keeps moving. I like it."
03/03/2011 page 271
77.0% "It doesn't drag me along, but it does keep me wondering."

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