Tyndale House Publishers
The Tehran Initiative by Joel C. Rosenberg is a geopolitical thriller exploring an all-too-real scenario in which America and Israel desperately try to outmaneuver a rogue, nuclear-armed Iran. CIA operative David Shirazi, protagonist of The Tehran Initiative’s prequel The Twelfth Imam, returns to the Middle East in a desperate race against time. Surrounded by enemies and naïve allies, he infiltrates the upper echelons of the Iranian government, struggling to gather enough evidence to convince a reluctant American government of the full extent of the Iranian nuclear threat before it’s too late. Complicating matters, a mysterious, miracle-working Muslim “messiah” is traveling about the region, unifying Islamic nations into a single, powerful Caliphate. Woven together flawlessly, the espionage, political drama, and religious tension allow for a chilling view of the Middle East, and a number of plausible yet jaw-dropping plot twists.
The Tehran Initiative is easily Rosenberg’s best novel to date, and includes something for virtually every reader. It combines the action and exquisite detail of Tom Clancy with the tense religious drama of Left Behind into a fast-paced thriller that builds to a climax that satisfies as much as it leaves the reader anxious for the coming sequel. The novel’s violence and warfare, though ever-present, are subdued in a way that adds to the tension while simultaneously keeping the book appropriate for sensitive readers and even young teens. Rosenberg also manages to weave in numerous family struggles and religious conundrums without the story feeling burdened.
Central to The Tehran Initiative’s emotional conflict is David Shirazi’s struggle between Christianity and career. As a covert operative, he’s expected to lie to everyone, including his own family, kill without mercy, and sacrifice others in order to protect his own life and his cover. Yet, as a Christian, he is naturally appalled by such things. As a result, the novel subtly wrestles with interpretations of John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” For Christian readers especially, this dilemma provides an additional level of spiritual and theological depth to what is already a thought-provoking book.
Readers may disagree with Rosenberg’s views on current world events and eschatology, which are only thinly veiled through the novel, but neither should distract too heavily from enjoyment. And though The Tehran Initiative is a sequel, it provides enough context to be enjoyed as a standalone novel. For anyone remotely interested in world events, The Tehran Initiative is an entertaining and enlightening novel of unparalleled value. – Ryan Dennison, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
The world is on the brink of disaster and the clock is ticking. Iran has just conducted its first atomic weapons test. Millions of Muslims around the world are convinced their messiah—known as “the Twelfth Imam”—has just arrived on earth. Israeli leaders fear Tehran, under the Twelfth Imam’s spell, will soon launch a nuclear attack that could bring about a second holocaust and the annihilation of Israel. The White House fears Jerusalem will strike first, launching a preemptive attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities that could cause the entire Middle East to go up in flames, oil prices to skyrocket, and the global economy to collapse. With the stakes high and few viable options left, the president of the United States orders CIA operative David Shirazi and his team to track down and sabotage Iran’s nuclear warheads before Iran or Israel can launch a devastating first strike.