Book review: The Twelfth Imam

First-time author Joel Rosenberg wrote a novel in which terrorists hijack a plane and crash it into the World Trade Center. Not all that impressive, except that he completed the book nine months before the tragedy of 9/11 ever happened. The eerie way life imitated art thrust Rosenberg into the national spotlight, and he’s been on the best-seller list ever since.

His new book, The Twelfth Imam, should further cement his popularity. The story take place today, and current events about the conflict and intrigue that characterize the geopolitical realities of the Middle East are woven masterfully throughout. Apocalyptic leaders of Iran are calling for the annihilation of Israel and the United States, AKA “The Great Satan.” Iranian-born CIA operative David Shirazi slips into Tehran to disrupt the implementation of Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program.

Complicating matters is the emergence of a mysterious cleric. Do the miracles and healings he’s performing confirm that he is the Islamic messiah known as the Twelfth Imam?

Rosenberg does a masterful job of building the suspense page by exciting page. And he provides enough back story into his characters and details about the life and culture of the Middle East to make his yarn feel believable.

There is a strong spiritual component to The Twelfth Imam that is tethered to popular perspectives on end times prophesy. Jesus himself appears to a number of characters looking as described in Revelation and quoting passages of scripture. While I wouldn’t agree with some of Rosenberg’s eschatology, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Have you read any “Christian” novels where you loved the story but weren’t completely on-board with the author’s theology? Would you be comfortable recommending the book to others?

An advance reader copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

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