I just finished reading Damascus Countdown, the long-awaited conclusion to Joel Rosenberg’s Twelfth Imam trilogy. The first two novels were The Twelfth Imam and The Tehran Initiative. This third story began with a massive preemptive strike by the Israelis against Iran. In a matter of minutes all of Iran’s nuclear development facilities were destroyed or disabled, and six of the eight nuclear warheads that Iran had prepared for war were destroyed. The big question was, “Where were the other two nukes?”
If you can imagine, the story just continued to become more dramatic as the Mahdi – the Twelfth Imam quickly expanded his new Islamic caliphate and threatened to obliterate Israel.
Behind the scenes, David Shirazi, an American-born son of immigrants from Iran, who had become a deep-cover spy for the CIA and an employ of a cell phone company in Germany, began a series of mind-stretching adventures.
This intriguing story is about many things:
It is about the critical conditions in the Middle East that could easily accelerate to a preemptive strike by Israel against Iran. This is not Science Fiction; it is very close to what is happening right now! All of the powerful military vehicles, communication equipment and weapons in this story already exist (except possibly the Iranian nuclear warheads), and may be under the control of defense commanders already! It has been said so often that it has become a new cliché, that news stories (or headlines) are being “ripped from the pages” of Rosenberg’s books.
It is about the intense intrigue of undercover agents to ward off complete destruction. The violence and deception that secret agents must use is disturbing, but understandable.
It is about the extreme beliefs of Shia “Twelvers” that has removed all normal caution about nuclear warfare. During the Cold War, Russia and the United States had an understanding that kept either side from using nuclear weapons against the other. It was called “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD). This philosophy will not restrain the Shia “Twelvers” from using these horrendous bombs once they have them because they believe their Mahdi (Messiah) will not come until the world is embroiled in its final war.
It is about what the U.S. might or might not do if the situation worsens. This tension is handled skillfully in the novel.
It is about Biblical and Muslim prophecies. There are many similarities between prophecies from the Bible and Muslim prophecies because many of the latter were borrowed from the Bible. This novel helps us understand where these different schools of thought agree and disagree.
It is about the rise of Islam and the confusion about whether Antichrist could be a Muslim. The story takes into consideration the phenomenal changes that are occurring in the Islamic world, including the Arab Spring, terrorism, and tension between Sunni and Shia Muslims. It shows that it is not likely that an Islamic Caliph will be the final Antichrist of the end times.
It is about courageous evangelism by Christians and amazing conversions of Muslims. Rosenberg’s passion is the revival of the Church in these troubled times and the evangelization of Muslims. The conversion of some of the characters in the book is a heart-warming aspect of the plot. Dreams and visions directly from Jesus play a part in this aspect of the story.
It is about the fulfillment of some end times prophecies and the preparation for others. There are warnings in the Bible about the destruction of several of Israel’s ancient enemies, including Damascus. These battles are in addition to the War of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38 and 39) that Rosenberg has explained in his earlier novels. This series shows how some of these other prophecies could be fulfilled in our times, and still leave the specter of the Ezekiel war for a near-future time when Israel may be living in peace.
It is about love. We should really let you discover this touching aspect of the story for yourself.