The Last Jihad
by Joel C. Rosenberg
Tom Doherty Associates, 2002
351 pages; Hardcover; $25 Can
Reviewed by Ike Van Dyke
ADDITION - DECEMBER 2012: Since the publication of The Last Jihad the author has extended the series by another 4 books, and it is now clear the author is premillennial, and dispensationalist, which conflict with Reformed understandings. So, while I still think The Last Jihad a fun read, I would most certainly not recommend the series.
There were two things that I particularly liked about this novel.
First, the action scenes in it are “Clancyesque.” Yes I know that isn’t a real word, but it is a good description. Detail driven, technical and yet frantically paced, the action is written very much like something you would read in one of Tom Clancy’s novels. And there is lots of action in this story, from a Gulfstream jet attacking the US president’s motorcade, to Apache helicopters taking on SCUD missile sites, to terrorists breaking into a Mossad agent’s house.
Second, while this is not a Christian novel, it is a Christian novel. What I mean by that is in pretty much every Christian story I’ve read someone always converts to Christianity in the last few pages. That doesn’t happen here. Still, the American president is obviously Christian as are many of the other characters. Jon Bennett, the story’s hero, is not a Christian, but after he’s recruited to do the president’s work, he ends up in some very hazardous situations that force him to confront his own mortality. He doesn’t convert, but he does start to think about the truly significant issues in life. It’s clear in these sections that the author is Christian, and is trying to make his readers think, while still avoiding the preachiness that many Christian novels are saddled with.
There is one problem. Written in 2002, this book is set in a future ten years from now in which Saddam is still ruling Iraq. This is, in fact, a pretty major plot element as Saddam, in his seventies, is diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. With nothing left to lose he decides to unleash “The Last Jihad” on the West. In 2002 when this novel was first released, the story’s plausibility propelled it on to the bestsellers list. A year later, after Saddam’s fall from power, this book is clearly nothing more than fiction.
Very good fiction!
This is fairly political book (as you can tell from all the political people who endorsed it: Rush Limbaugh, Steve Forbes and Sean Hannity) with lots of action mixed in. It isn’t quite as good as a Tom Clancy novel, but then again, few books are. I definitely recommend The Last Jihad.