[Last Jihad 2] – The Last Days

[Last Jihad 2] – The Last Days

Osama bin Laden is dead. Saddam's regime is buried. Baghdad lies in ruins. Now the eyes of the world are on Jon Bennett and Erin McCoy, two senior White House advisors, as they arrive in the Middle East to offer a historic Arab-Israeli peace plan and the American president's new vision of freedom and democracy. But in the shadows lie men whose hearts are filled with evil--men for whom the prospect of peace goes against everything they believe. And soon one terrifying scheme after another begins to unfold. As Jon and Erin face a battle for control of Jerusalem and the Holy Land and an Iraqi plan to rebuild ancient Babylon, they can't help but wonder: Are such signs evidence that they are living in the last days before the return of Christ?

From Publishers Weekly

Rosenberg's sequel to the bestselling The Last Jihad (2002) is a near-clone of its predecessor: an action-packed Clancyesque political thriller with paper-thin characters. Presidential envoy Jon Bennett returns as the protagonist, along with his bodyguard and love interest, Erin McCoy, an "Uzi-toting, Arabic-speaking CIA supermodel." Their efforts to broker a Middle East peace, whose centerpiece is a fortuitously discovered deep oil reserve with the potential to make every Israeli and Palestinian wealthy, are literally blown to pieces when a suicide bomber claims the life of the U.S. secretary of state and Yasser Arafat himself. The surviving members of the American delegation, along with the Palestinian and Israeli entrepreneurs behind the oil-drilling venture, are scrambling frantically to escape from the Gaza Strip when civil war breaks out among the factions grappling to succeed Arafat as leader. Meanwhile, the sinister forces behind the attack seek to wreak further havoc by dispatching teams of terrorists to America while provoking the Israeli government to trigger a wider conflagration by invading the West Bank and Gaza. The author singularly fails to suspend readers' disbelief with his baffling decision to set the action in the year 2010 while simultaneously placing real-life events from 2003 such as the invasion of Iraq and the appointment of Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) as Palestinian prime minister seven years in the future. His efforts to make the book a relevant, "ripped-from-the-headlines" tale are already dated-the real Abu Mazen has resigned his post-and the fantasy solution to the intractable political conflict by a deus ex machina will strike many readers as silly.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

It's the near future. Osama bin Laden is dead; so are Saddam Hussein and his sons. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have been wiped out. Iraq is in ruins, and it's up to Jon Bennett, the U.S. president's senior advisor, to find a way to rebuild it. Central to this effort is a "massive and spectacular tract of oil and natural gas" discovered in the Mediterranean, a source of wealth that could bring peace to the Middle East. But will 81-year-old Yassar Arafat let peace reign? That becomes a moot point when Arafat is assassinated by a suicide bomber, and our hero, Bennett, is suddenly all that stands between peace and global destruction. Like the first Bennett novel, The Last Jihad (2002), this one is a timely tale of political intrigue and international terrorism. That's the good thing. The bad thing is that (also like its predecessor) the novel features stilted dialogue, crudely drawn characters, and a generally clunky narrative style. The author is clearly an expert in international politics, but his skills as a storyteller have yet to be revealed. Still, Rosenberg is scheduled for interviews with Rush Limbaugh and Hannity and Colmes, which will create demand. David Pitt
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