I've been writing reviews of Joel Rosenberg's books on IntoTheBook, but I think they've had enough of my reviews of him. Well, Aunty Evonne has lent me his latest book: The Twelth Imam, which is different from his 'Political Thriller' series, as it focuses more on Iran and it's nuclear programme. Unlike the other books, this book also provides a rather comprehensive alternative viewpoint (i.e. he also writes from the viewpoints of the Muslims).
The book is suspenseful, because none of the characters start of as God-fearing. It's an interesting way of writing, because his past series started off with at least a few Christian characters. Well, I could probably continue praising the book, but that would probably result in a spoiler. So, I think I'd just talk about two points that I didn't like, but I figure will be pretty controversial.
The first thing, was that the book had a very obvious political agenda. I don't mind the 'Christian Agenda' as some of the critics on Amazon.com have pointed out, because I find it pretty well done. Furthermore, if you have read his other book, you can see that he is a staunch Christian, which is really cool, because it is another avenue to introduce the Gospel. But what I don't like, is this polarising of the two parties in America. In his last series, I could see it's necessity, because it's essentially a political thriller. But this book, which focuses more on espionage, seemed unnecessary for two reasons. One, it's quite a big overgeneralisation to say that all Christians are Republicans and vice versa. Two, it's confusing to those reader's outside the US. I've been following US politics as much as I can, and I still don't understand the difference between the two parties, or why they can't seem to compromise. I really don't think someone who has not even bothered with politics can understand. Since it doesn't seem to add anything to the book, I don't think it should be inside (perhaps someone like Ernest Hemingway said something similar).
The second thing was, somewhat similar, this idea that America is the only one who can make a difference. Again, I see it's necessity in the first book, and in real life, but this book seemed to be about one man's operating in Iran. In fact, the CIA (which I assume represents the American Government), is shown as inept and not listening to his opinions. In that case, why must blanket statements about how America is the only one who can stop Iran appear? I feel that it contradicts, and even diminishes the message of how it's Christ and Christians that will change the world.
All that being said, this is still an excellent book. I was genuinely caught up in the events, which are very well-depicted, and learnt about Shia Eschatology at the same time. I really can't wait for the sequel to come out(: