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The Writing on the Wall Hardcover – November 6, 2007


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Hardcover, November 6, 2007
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Cosmos & Polis Press (November 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979632005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979632006
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,662,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A tautly narrated thriller. --Midwest Book Review

About the Author

After graduating in International Conflict Analysis and a special education in negotiation and mediation techniques Hannes Artens was associated with the Atlanta based Carter Center and a think tank advising the German parliament on U.S. foreign policy.

Customer Reviews

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It is a suspenseful story of diplomatic intrigue and betrayal.
E. Anson
The debut novel of Austrian-born International Conflict Analysis expert Hannes Artens, The Writing on the Wall is a suspenseful novel set in the very near future.
Midwest Book Review
Oil and natural gas and big oil corporations are lurking about trying to cut their best deal.
L. Johnson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W. Gentry on March 16, 2008
"The Writing on the Wall" by political analyst Hannes Artens is exactly what political junkies and foreign policy aficionados have been waiting for. He proves that one doesn't need the name recognition of a Richard Clarke to write bloodcurdlingly realistic fiction. And unlike Clarke, Artens creates characters you feel for. In fact, the scene where the U.S. President, who was tortured for years as a POW in Vietnam and who, as a senator, sponsored major legislation to ban torture in Guantanamo, has to order suspects to be tortured to prevent another terrorist attack on American soil, is one of the most emotionally moving and intense sequences I've ever read in a political thriller.

This fictitious take on a showdown between the U.S. and Iran is loaded with allusions to real life politicians and events. Artens doesn't shy away from naming names; he seems to be deliberately out to provoke with his realism. Not only are the aerial strikes against Iran masterminded by the fictitious CEOs of ExxonMobil and Northrop Grumman at the Dallas Theological Seminary; his President, Jim Whitman, is a "maverick, straight talking" former senator and POW who pandered so excessively to evangelicals and special interests during his election campaign that he can't control them once he's won the White House. The author's legally necessary disclaimers won't wash: this is the American version of Robert Harris', "The Ghost", and President Whitman is a barely disguised John McCain. And yet, "The Writing on the Wall" is not a partisan vendetta; Jim Whitman is the tragic hero of the book who founders against powers he thought he could manipulate, but who actually have him tied up on puppet's strings.

Its realism is also the book's only drawback.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jane L. Miller on January 20, 2008
This ain't your usual international/political thriller. There's no cookie-cutter, gun totin' hero who sniffs out and overcomes all the bad guys and their evil plots. The characters are real. You'd know them if you passed them on the street. And they all have the same fatal flaw that we have - they see the world through a fun house mirror of their own creation.
Despite the lack of guns, there's plenty of action and tension. All are ready to fight for their delusions and some are even willing to die for them. Plot counters plot and until almost the end, we're not always sure who is on which side.
While this is fiction and written a couple of years in the future, one can see the predicted events already happening. How much of this might become real may depend on the decision we make in the upcoming political races. Well researched and believeable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Katja Christina Ziehmayer on November 30, 2007
Verified Purchase
As the cover of this book suggests, Mr. Artens' vision of what world events could develop in the short to medium term future is not rosy, to say the least. But it is not only the devastation that he envisions that is so scary, it is the fact that the issues he has written about are the "recent developments" in the Middle East that cover the front pages of our newspapers today. For instance, he describes mounting political pressure within the United States to go to war with Iran, the overthrow of the government of Pakistan by Islamic radicals, and Turkish plans to invade northern Iraq. If you think that world geopolitics is a series of random events that cannot be predicted by an astute and thoughtful student of the world, then be prepared to change the way you think.

Artens shows how various moneyed and powered interests within America and around the world manipulate the public, political leaders, and perhaps even themselves, into taking horrendous actions that could provoke chain reactions that result in even more dire consequences. The author does not superficially examine the above mentioned issues from a bird's eye perspective, but instead shows the inner workings and interconnectedness of big business, national governments, international organizations, regional movements and organized religion and how they make up the political reality we now find ourselves in. This is not to say that the book is an academic exercise, as his characters' intimate relationships leave us caring about world events not just because of the magnitude of their effect and our own personal stake, but because of the individuals around the world who are caught in the horrible web of international affairs and "realpolitik", either as victims, creators, or both. I recommend this book strongly, as it will entertain you, inform you, make you think, and hopefully lead you to act before more of Artens' predictions come true.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Johnson on January 3, 2008
While many are now breathing at least a small sigh of relief that the Iran war party has been put in a box by the recent release of the National Intelligence Estimate, Hannes Artens in his novel, The Writing on the Wall, suggests the opposite. A looming war with Iran might well be like the Doomsday Machine from the movie Dr. Strangelove--waiting to be triggered by an unexpected incident and unstoppable.

The novel begins on November 11, 2011 in the waning minutes of the life of the 44th President of the United States, Jim Whitman, a moderate Republican. He and his advisors sit in horror waiting for word of the results of the launching of five nuclear tipped missiles targeting Indian cities launched by radical jihadists who have overrun Pakistan. The strain of two years of a botched war with Iran, political and economic chaos at home, and a world beset with a worsening economic depression and a clash of civilizations world war proves to be too much for the failed president who succumbs to an apparent heart attack. So much for the Prologue.

Most of The Writing on the Wall takes place before 11/11/11 seeking answers to the question, How could a war weary country end up engaged in yet another war so destructive to its own interests led by a President who had vowed to never let such insanity happen on his watch? Artens weaves a suspenseful and complex web of connections, secrets, betrayals and acts of courage through the lens of the ambivalent three-way friendship between Seran, a Kurdish expatriate; Elia, a Greek diplomat radicalized by her discovery of what her father did for the CIA; and a Bryan, an American diplomat determined to right the wrongs of the previous presidency.
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