Customer Reviews: The Twelfth Imam
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on October 19, 2010
This was my first time reading a novel by Mr. Rosenberg. On the back cover it is listed as Fiction/Suspense, which is one of my favorite genres to read, but I tend to tread cautiously - not wanting to get expectations too high, only to be disappointed by a "Suspense" novel, that was about as suspenseful as reading yesterday's news. However, this was not the case with The Twelfth Imam.

From the very first page I was drawn into the political unrest of 1979 Iran and the siege on the American Embassy in Tehran. From there starts the story of Charlie Harper, an American trapped inside a country he loves, that now sees him as the enemy. He soon realizes that trying to get out of Iran alive with his pregnant wife and their American passports is no longer an option. But Charlie is determined to find safety for his wife and unborn child. And as the violent attacks against them increase in intensity and frequency, he retaliates in kind and does the unthinkable.

And that's just within the first 25 pages!

The Twelfth Imam, is a fast paced, action filled, hold on to the seat of your pants suspense ride. The intrigue and political upheaval in the area continue on for decades, spurred on by rumors and visions that the mystical Twelfth Imam, a descendant of Mohammed, has returned to claim his kingdom which includes plans to annihilate all Jews and Americans off the face of the earth. But when Israeli Intelligence is able to secretly confirm that Iran has almost completed their nuclear weapons program, they prepare to strike first, and everyone, including the President of the United States, feverishly work to keep peace.

Joel C. Rosenberg masterfully takes you on tour of the Middle East, immersing you in the various cultures and religious beliefs of Iran and Iraqi Muslims, while keeping you abreast of the inner workings of the CIA. He even manages to throw in a little romance!

Highly recommended. I enjoyed reading every page of this book. A first degree page turner. Joel C. Rosenberg - you have a new fan.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.
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on October 19, 2010
Joel Rosenberg has done it again. The Twelfth Imam is fabulous. If you're a fan, you will love it and if you're not a fan, then I urge you to get this book and you will soon become a fan!

This story is very relevant in the days we're living in. The events are not so far-fetched, and you can easily see these things happening. Not only that, but they fit with Biblical prophecy. That's what makes his books so thought-provoking!

I very highly recommend this book to anyone. It's full of fast-paced action, suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and a story line that will keep you thinking long after you've finishing the book. There are characters that I deeply cared about and when it was over I still wanted more! If you're a Rosenberg fan, you'll love this one, and if you're not a fan, then I hope you'll give this one a try because I think you'll become a fan. His books are entertaining, relevant, and pack a powerful message.

A complimentary copy was provided for an honest review.
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on September 5, 2011
I'm not sure how it seemed to escape many reviewers that this book is only the first of a trilogy. That's why the ending is more abrupt, etc.

I've read Joel Rosenberg's other book series, and I can tell you that I think his writing and character development have both improved a great deal since then. I appreciated our getting to know the main character a good deal before much happens; that's what good writers do. Otherwise, you don't care an iota about what happens to him, right? Anyway, I really liked it, and look forward to _The Tehran Initiative_ coming out in October.
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on October 19, 2010
what do you get when you combine a Christian writer with the last name Rosenberg writing about a CIA operative named Shirazi who is embedded in an Iranian campaign to annihilate Israel and the U.S.? You get an explosive, un-PC look at a fictional account based on what really could happen if some psychopaths get their way half way around the world.

Right off the bat, this book is intriguing and interesting. Rosenberg has a lot of experience (having written the big seller The Last Jihad). I just finished Gods of Ruin which is a great political thriller along the same vein if you're tired of the fanatical Islam story line, but if you can't get enough of the intense, ripped from the near-future headlines, The Twelfth Imam is highly recommended too.
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on March 11, 2011
My wife is a huge Joel Rosenberg fan and wanted this book. Needing something to read on business trips I "stole" it. I was involved and engaged from the very beginning to the end. In fact, was disappointed that it ended. I am not a fan of the ending that leaves us hanging. It is obvious that the groundwork is laid for the next book. But that said, I enjoyed every minute of the book! I didn't want to put it down, and looked forward to each reading session. So hurry up with the sequel!

One reviewer said he wanted to learn about Muslims by reading this. He said he didn't. He couldn't be more wrong. What this book does is put a lot of their eschatology in a story format and helps the reader see how that might translate to real life. Don't be like the CIA Ops Dir, Jack, and not realize that Iran/Middle East is fueled by religious fervor. It is a book about our times.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone to read.
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on December 8, 2010
It was an excellent fast paced novel and as I found myself heading ever closer to the ending I realized that I had no idea how it might end. A sign of a well crafted novel if ever there was one so I stayed up past my bedtime to finish it. As I turned the last page and read the last line I noticed that the words "The End" did not appear on the page. Probably because the words "To Be Continued" would have been more appropriate. I doubt that the author had any intention of writing a sequel but when a book ends abruptly as events that have been building up since page 1 reach a crescendo of excitement, one can not help but question why. Whether the author prematurely ended the book to meet a publishers deadline, to set up a potential sequel or because the author sincerely felt that the readers imagination would provoke a far more stimulating conclusion, I can not say. From my perspective the book concluded before the the plot and subplots were sufficiently played out and that left me both disappointed and unfulfilled.
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on March 16, 2011
Joel Rosenberg first caught my attention some years ago when I read his debut novel The Last Jihad, which begins by putting readers in the cockpit of a hijacked airplane hurtling ever closer to an American city on a kamikaze mission. This was about 2006, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were in full force and everybody in the world knew what the term jihad meant, so I didn't find Rosenberg's plot too incredibly intuitive. Then I discovered that The Last Jihad was actually written nine months prior to 9/11/01. His following novels, also centered on apocalyptic events in the Middle East, also had aspects that came true--from the death of Yasser Arafat to an alliance between the Russians and Iranians. Now Rosenberg has returned to fiction with a new series, more apocalyptic and explosive than anything else he's written.

The Twelfth Imam asks a very simple question: What if the Islamic Messiah came to earth? To really understand this novel, you have to have some sense of the cultural and historical background. In Shiite and Sunni eschatology, the Madhi--or twelfth imam--is the prophesied redeemer of Islam whose worldwide rule will precede the Day of Judgment.

In the near future, tensions are high in the Middle East. Iran has vowed to annihilate Israel and the US, and intelligence warns both countries that Iran will soon have nuclear strike capabilities to make their threats a reality. Enter CIA operative David Shirazi. He's been training for this mission his entire life, but that doesn't make things any easier. One just doesn't waltz into Tehran and destroy a country's nuclear program without leaving some evidence. Even worse, the CIA's initial plan goes horribly awry, leaving Shirazi to improvise his way through the mission. But at the same time Shirazi is working his way into the Iranian's good graces, he's discovering that a mysterious figure called the Madhi is upsetting Islamic politics and disrupting even more of the plan.

While the main focus is on Shirazi, Rosenberg also develops the story from the perspective of Najjar Malik, an Iranian physicist who discovers that the head of Iran's nuclear program--who happens to be his boss and father-in-law--isn't interested in developing nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. The Mahdi and his exploits are also featured, depicting his performance of miracles and unveiling to the Islamic leaders. The result is a fast-paced, thought-provoking, and page-turning introduction to what is sure to be an explosive series. Rosenberg's work seems ripped from the headlines--next year's, that is--and as the novel leads to its climax, the reader knows the story is only just begun.

Despite the title, The Twelfth Imam is more a character-driven novel that focuses on David Shirazi and his unique background. This seems to slow the story at first, but later on it serves as the foundation for some very big payoffs down the line. Rosenberg also spends some amount of time developing the reader's knowledge of Islamic eschatology, as understanding that is foundational to the whole of the series.

The Twelfth Imam raises questions of every stripe. Politically, what if Iran goes nuclear? Religiously, what if the Islamic Messiah came to earth? Diplomatically, how do we handle Islamic leaders with apocalyptic beliefs? Evangelistically, what is Christ doing in Muslim countries? Personally, how should I relate to my Muslim neighbors? Entertaining, enthralling, and engaging even long after the pages are shut, The Twelfth Imam is an excellent introduction to what should be an exciting series. Rosenberg again proves that he is the king of Christian conservative political thrillers.
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on July 13, 2012
As Christians, we've heard about the second coming of Christ, the rapture, and the end of the age in our churches, on our podcasts, and in our reading materials often enough, we could probably quote it in our sleep.

Ever wonder what OTHERS think about the end of time? Ever wonder what MUSLIMS believe about the end of time? If not, you really, really should. And who best to tell you that an author I believe to be THE expert on the subject, Joel C. Rosenberg.

I think it's fitting that his latest novel releases so close to the anniversary of September 11, 2001. Joel's first work of fiction took those events into account, and that five-book series ended up on the New York Times Bestsellers list.

"The Twelfth Imam" is destined for that list as well. CIA operative David Shirazi has been preparing for this day his entire life, though he didn't know it at the time. The leaders of Iran are calling for an apocalypse, one so great it will usher in the twelfth, or hidden, imam.

In order to do so, Iran's nuclear weapons program must be on target, but figuratively and literally. It's CIA operative Shirazi's task to infiltrate that network of annihilation and derail their plans. But does David know what he is truly up against?

A mysterious cleric has appeared in Iran, claiming to be the prophesied Muslim messiah. Signs and wonders are popping up everywhere: healings, miracles, and unnatural events follow his path.

It would seem the Muslim prophecy has been fulfilled. What about Scripture? What about Jesus? How do all the pieces to this prophetic puzzle fit together, and what part does Iran's nuclear capabilities really play in it all?

Joel Rosenberg takes us back to the days of Ayatollah Khomeini, reminding us of the turmoil that took place in the late 1970's...then rapidly flashes us forward to the eve of 9/11 and the events that changed the lives of Americans...

...specifically David Shirazi and Marseille Harper.

We'll travel from Iran to the US and back again, meeting Najjar Malik, a brilliant scientist recruited to aid neighboring Iran...and see how his early days as a youth influence his life as an adult in a regime bent on destroying Israel and the United States.

Ultimately, it's like a cast of hundreds, with each playing a pivotal part in the events to come. So don't miss a close attention to every detail...

You'll learn more about the Muslim view of the end of the age than you'd ever glean from a thousand hours of CNN, FOX News, and network news combined...and you'll be able to bank on what you learn, because Joel Rosenberg views events through three lenses: economic, political, and Biblical.

The media had a field day with the WMD's of'll be fascinated by the realities of "The Twelfth Imam", seeing how it all fits together...even the faulty intelligence that led to the war in Iraq...or was it false?

Joel Rosenberg has spent countless hours, days, weeks and months interviewing both the famous, the infamous, and the unknown to glean information that will have the hair on the back of your neck standing at attention. With over 2 million copies of his books sold, I think you can be assured he knows what he's talking about.

But don't just take my word for it. Pick up a copy of "The Twelfth Imam", published by Tyndale (my thanks to them and Beverly for my advanced copy--which I DEVOURED in two days!).

In the meantime, "The Twelfth Imam" gets The Golden Bookmark from me for Overall Excellence and Relevance in Writing. Be warned: there's GOT to be a sequel! But if you've only got time to read ONE BOOK this Fall... your Bible. If you've got time for two, make the second "The Twelfth Imam". You won't regret it.

At least, until you have to wait for the sequel! And what better way to honor the fallen of 9/11, by reading and understanding rather than burning and ranting?
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on January 27, 2012
The Twelfth Imam grabs you immediately and does not let go. I could hardly put it down. I have now also finished The Tehran Initiative, and it was just as good. I can't wait for The Damascus -- can't remember the third book of this series, but I believe it will be the last. We will see if David and his more or less girlfriend get together to stay, I hope. Meanwhile, I was so crazy about these books that I ordered all five of his "The Last Jihad" series. James Ivey, MD
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on February 11, 2016
Couda been great. Marred by the fantasy elements. Jesus appearing in the flesh for the good guys, the twelfth Iman appearing in the flesh for the bad guys. Complete with miracles, etc.

Of course, those miracles and god-like powers didn't actually help them. They only used it to cure some sick people and the bad God used it to kill someone. They didn't use those powers in the actual conflicts where it could have actually helped. Weird that, eh?

Anyway, I read fantasy, so I am used to God-Like beings fighting it out...but, they do it much better in most of the fantasy books I've read. These guys were kinda wimps in comparison.

It's shame, because the story, sans the gods, was awesome! I could have even handled all the sermons and biblical passages and quotes. Those religious belief's are the fundamental reason behind all the stuff going on over there, so it is relevant to understanding the region. Just went overboard with the Gods actually showing up in the flesh. Without that, this woulda been 5 stars. However, I couldn't get past that and was kinda disappointed that this great insight into the region would be lost on a lot of people who will start rolling their eyes when the Gods start appearing.

And that's a shame.
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