[Last Jihad 1] – The Last Jihad

[Last Jihad 1] – The Last Jihad

Jon Bennett and Erin McCoy are two of the shrewdest strategists on Wall Street and close friends of the president of the United States. Their secret project: a billion-dollar oil deal off the coast of Tel Aviv and Gaza that could form the basis of a historic peace treaty and bring enormous wealth to every Israeli and Palestinian. But nothing has prepared Jon or Erin for the terror that lies ahead. The book that started it all, The Last Jihad is the first of Joel C. Rosenberg's New York Times best-selling series, with 500,000 in print. The first page puts readers in the cockpit of a hijacked jet on a kamikaze mission into an American city--but it was written nine months before 9/11/01. As the plot unfolds, White House advisors Jon Bennett and Erin McCoy are under attack in Jerusalem as the U.S. goes to war with Iraq over weapons of mass destruction--but The Last Jihad was published four months before the actual Iraq war began.

From Publishers Weekly

Timeliness adds considerable juice to Rosenberg's frenzied political thriller, set a couple of years in the future. In the wake of September 11, popular American president James MacPherson has spearheaded an international effort to destroy terrorist training camps in the Middle East and North Africa. Osama bin Laden has been killed, but Saddam Hussein continues to plot against the West. The novel opens with a coordinated international terrorist attack, in which Paris and London and several sites in the United States are bombed. Quick-thinking agents deflect an assassination attempt on the president, but MacPherson is gravely wounded. The reader follows the crisis through the eyes of Jon Bennett, a Wall Street strategist putting together a stock deal in Israel when the terrorists strike. Bennett once worked closely with MacPherson on Wall Street. After a tortuous interrogation at the Jerusalem airport on his way back to the U.S., Bennett passes out, expecting to be killed. When he awakes, he finds that he has passed a crucial test and is now a member of President MacPherson's inner circle of advisers. So far, Rosenberg (Not Quite Scaramouche, etc.) keeps a lot of narrative balls in the air with lean writing and breakneck pacing, but at this midway point the novel loses focus and urgency. Rosenberg's failure to give the characters dimension is exposed when the story slows down and moves away from dramatic scenes of action. Intelligence reports indicate that Saddam may be planning a nuclear attack, and the advisers engage in a lengthy heated discussion about a first strike. Though the characters in this debate come off like talking heads, the energy and scope of the dispute breathes new life into the last half of the novel and hints at greater things from the author.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

This new novel from a Washington, D.C., communications expert scores big on timeliness. It's the very-near future, and the U.S. president has won a midterm election, succeeding George W. Bush. Saddam Hussein has sent assassins to gun down the newly elected president. Meanwhile, Iraqi terrorists attack the leaders of U.S.-allied countries. America sees one hope for the Western world: an Israeli-Arab alliance with the single goal of stopping Hussein. Only two people can make the alliance happen: Jon Bennett, a Wall Street strategist, and his partner, the lovely Erin McCoy. Can our plucky heroes orchestrate the giant business deal necessary to forge the alliance and save the free world? In today's get-Hussein political climate, the novel is sure to find an audience, but some readers may not find the book as exciting as expected. While Rosenberg works a couple of genuinely surprising plot twists into his story, and his grasp of international politics and terrorism seems solid, his prose style is, at best, adequate. Although fans of Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy will no doubt enjoy it, readers who like their narratives elegant and their characters more than paper-thin may be somewhat disappointed. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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