"Some of the mostilluminating discussions of terrorism have been works of fiction by eminentauthors like Albert Camus, The Just Assassins;
JosephConrad, The Secret Agent
; Fyodor Dostoyevsky, ThePossessed
; etc. works I used in the terrorism courses I taughtin late 1960s before the subject interested academics. Anne Speckhard, apsychologist, who has spent considerable time interviewing terrorists, hasdecided to use her talent and experience to produce a novel on how one becomesa terrorist today. My students always foundthe great fictional works generated more valuable and exciting discussions thanthe academic works assigned, and
the Brideof ISIS
will have the same effect." -David C. Rapoport
, Founding and Chief Editor of Terrorismand Political Violence,
Author of FourWaves of Modern Terror
From the Author
I was completely fascinated when I first heard about Shannon Conley, a Colorado, white, Christian teen--the quintessential "girl next door" who decided to become an ISIS bride. Converting at age 17 she fell under the influence of Internet jihadi ideologues--Anwar al Awlaki among them. We droned him in 2011, but he lives on via the Internet, inspiring countless acts of terrorism from beyond the grave, including hers.
I was intrigued with how Shannon Conley apparently fell in love with her ISIS boyfriend and what compelled her to consider becoming his bride and joining ISIS. I could imagine that a young nurse's aid who was praised by her ISIS boyfriend could have visions of glory as a medic to the cadres--moving from bedpans to the battlefield. And love makes us all do crazy things and take risks... I was also horrified that she openly admitted to FBI agents that she had studied how to and seriously considered launching a VIP attack right inside the United States--a "stay and act in place" attack that ISIS is now getting well known for.
Unable to forget Shannon Conley I first searched for all the material I could find on her case and I attempted to interview Shannon, her family and her lawyer. Unable to gather enough information to write a nonfiction book I couldn't let it rest so I decided to take what I know about terrorism from the more than four hundred cases of terrorists, their family members and close associates I've interviewed around the world and put together a composite story matching and inspired by hers. The result is Bride of ISIS.
Bride of ISIS reads like a thriller but is painstakingly end-noted and includes an author's note that explains to the reader where every detail in the book matches the crazy reality we all live in today. I hope you like it and please remember to give it loads of stars!