20 October 2011

The Tehran Initiative by Joel C. Rosenberg

For the first time ever, I am posting a video with my review (or trying to). If all has gone according to plan, you should be able to see and listen to Joel C. Rosenberg, in the video above, explaining the premise behind his book, The Tehran Initiative, which is the second in a trilogy (the third is not yet published).

Character Development          5
Editing                                     5
Sex                                          0
Violence                                  2
Romance                                 0
Readability/Flow                    5

Let me begin by admitting I know little to nothing about the sects of Islam or their beliefs. I am not overly aware of Mid-East politics or policy. And, although I am Christian and have a good understanding of the Bible, I am not in any way a scriptorian. In other words, I am likely the epitome of the readership for this novel. It is Christian Fiction and there are lots of references to Biblical prophesy throughout the book.

Technically, this is a very well written book. The writing style is strong and flowing. Joel Rosenberg hooks the reader from page one and the story flows effortlessly from there. I have not read the first of this series and I did not at any time feel like I was missing out. 'The Tehran Initiative' reads well as a stand alone book. Although I am sure the character development began in the first novel of the series, there was no hesitation, on my part, in getting involved with the characters in this book. The author has included a list before the story that explains who each character is and where they fit in the intrigue. I have said it before and I'll say it again - I love it when authors do this! I had no trouble keeping up with the characters while reading but it was nice to know there was a fall back if I needed it.

The main character of the novel is David Shirazi, a CIA operative working undercover in Iran. As a sub-plot, David struggles to balance his loyalty to his country and job; his devotion to his family and his desire to have a 'normal' life and family of his own. His struggle is palpable. It was heart wrenching when he had to leave his parents for the assignment which is central to the story.

Although essential to the plot, the one problem I had with Mr Rosenberg's novel was the portrayal of Islam and the Islamic people as either naive followers or outright evil; the nemesis of the Christians. I am sure there are followers of both religions that feel this way but I am not one of them. It is a peeve I have with a lot of Christian fiction that the purpose of the books seems to be more to convert than to educate, enlighten and edify. I certainly felt this was true of 'The Tehran Initiative'. It would have appealed to me more if the story had been kept, while at the same time weeding out some of the 'Bible thumping'. Often the scriptures referred to in the book were interpreted in ways I was a little uncomfortable with. (again I would point out that I am NOT a scriptorian)

Overall, 'The Tehran Initiative', is a strong, compelling political thriller. My husband has been chomping at the bit waiting for me to finish so that he can start. It will be interesting to get his take on it.

A Taste from page 312 - 313:
A chill ran through David's body as a deep sense of foreboding came over him. No one knew more about the Twelfth Imam than Dr. Alireza Birjandi, and Birjandi had been adamant that he would not meet with the Mahdi under any circumstances, fearful that even a man of his wisdom and experience could be drawn to the Madhi and lose his reasoning. But this was an intelligence operative's dream come true - and in many ways it was the very reason he had been sent to Iran.
note:  The book was provided to me by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my fair review.


  1. It does sound too be too much for me, not that big on thrillers. Though if it was a movie then yes! :D

    Lol, but I knew a friend who would love it

  2. I appreciate reading your review. I agree that this book was an excellent read. Thank you for taking your time to read it and review it.

    A Fellow Blogger.

  3. As I've been reading the first two books in Rosenberg's trilogy, I can't help but compare it to the "Left Behind" series written several years ago, which also dealt with end times from a Biblical prophesy perspective. Rosenberg's fiction reads much better than "Left Behind", with more plausible plot lines, better character development, and a smoother flow. And when you compare his story lines to what we're reading in the newspapers lately about the Middle East, it's almost eerie. I can't wait for the final book of the trilogy.

  4. The story continues following the developments of a Caliphate centered in Iran and how the US and Israel deal with the growing threat. The twists, turns and political wrangling that are portrayed keep gripping your attention and make it hard to put the book down. The underlying spiritual struggles of the characters make you consider the likely spiritual effects behind the problems facing the real world.


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