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The Twelfth Imam
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291 of 307 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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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145 of 164 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
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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90 of 111 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
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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62 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I bought the book thinking that it was going to be a simple read. Having never read a book from Rosenberg, I didn't know what to expect...My heart was racing and screaming for someone to help as I entered the world of Iran pictured so perfectly by Rosenberg. He then fast forwards to a wonderful peace and friendship, then to love...then to action, and just when you think it is going to slow down or you figure it out...something supernatural happens that blows you away and your heart starts racing again and you start yelling for someone to help... please hurry with the next book...I can't wait...
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As with all of Joel Rosenberg's novels, 'The Twelfth Imam' is outstanding.

This novel will keep readers on edge from start to finish. It is so good, that I was torn between reading non-stop or slowing down to savor it a bit as I did not want it to end.

It features events that are really right out of today's headlines. There is great concern over Iran's nuclear weapons program and a fanatical Iranian president threatening the annihilation of the United States and Israel. Intertwined with that is the appearance of the mysterious 'twelfth Imam', the 'messianic' figure that weighs so prominently in the worldview of the current Iranian president Ahmadinejad. Iranian-American CIA agent David Shirazi is tasked with stopping the nuke program.

The plot of the story is so plausible considering current world events, that it is doubly intense. This is one novel that no one should miss.

I would also encourage anyone who has not done so to read Rosenberg's other books. I have read all but one of them, and they are all excellent. He is probably the single most underrated author on the planet currently. Great stuff!
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
My review title reflects my feelings after the first few pages of this book; things start happening fast and furious and pick up speed after that. For me the book was a page-turner; I had difficulty leaving it to even eat and many of my normal activities had to wait until I finished the book.

In the spirit of full disclosure I can joyfully acknowledge that I am a born-again Christian and have a decidedly Biblical worldview as opposed to a secular worldview. If you understand that it will help you to better understand my review of this book. Most of the older reviews rather clearly reveal the worldview of their writers; this book is written from a Biblical worldview!

If the thought of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ brings feelings of excitement and joy you will probably love this book; if not, you may find it of little or no interest or, as in the case of some, even annoying.

We have been living in what is referred to as the church age or the age of grace. During this era, which started in AD 33, we have seen less overt intrusion of the supernatural into the affairs of men. The Bible teaches that this era will come to a close after which the world will experience extraordinary supernatural events that will be powerful, intimidating and deadly.

Mr. Rosenberg introduces the reader to the beginning of that time of change during the course of this novel. He is part of that ever-growing body of Christians that believe we are beginning to see the end time events described in the Bible; I see the supernatural events he describes as not only possible but probable.

The Twelfth Imam has been a subject of many articles and studies; the belief in his imminent return has a strong hold on the leadership of Iran who believes it is Iran's responsibility to foment chaos as a catalyst for the Mahdi's return. There is no interest in a roadmap to peace, they seek a roadmap to chaos; Mr. Rosenberg makes that very clear in this book.

Mr. Rosenberg refers to persons and uses words from the Bible that will be familiar to students of the Bible. One notable example of this is the reference to the "Prince of Persia" on page 295. If one is not familiar with Daniel 10:13 the significance of that title would be lost. In Daniel 10:13 a demon who is called "the prince of the Persian kingdom" is mentioned as resisting one of God's angels for 21 days.

The significance of those verses is that a powerful demon, called the Prince of the Persian kingdom, had sufficient power to resist an angel for three weeks. A further significance is that Persia is now called Iran. I have no doubt in my mind that the same powerful demon involved in that account is still active and is influencing the Iranian leadership today.

During the course of the story Mr. Rosenberg describes Jesus appearing to a number of Iranians who accept Him as their personal Savior; from what I'm hearing this is true not only in Iran but in many Muslim nations. For one who loves the Lord these scenes are very touching reminders of God's grace manifested through the work of Christ on the cross.

It is evident to anyone who watches the news that many significant and potentially dangerous events are taking place around the world today. It is easy to believe that things are speeding toward some unknown future. If one has knowledge of the Bible and faith in it as God's Word one has a dependable guide to what is happening now and what will happen next.

This book is the first in a series of books that creates a fictional framework in which Biblical prophecy plays out. The last chapter ends without a conclusion to the story, after all it is a series; the next book will likely pick up the story as if it were the following chapter. I'm looking forward to continuing the story should the Lord tarry.

Fortunately I know how reality as we know it will end and I'm happy to share the good news, the Lord Jesus Christ is victorious.
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