Sunday, March 26, 2006

Book Review: Prayers for the Assassin

A terrifying -- and all too real -- glimpse into the future Five Stars

Robert Ferrigno - Prayers for the AssassinThree nuclear explosions in Washington, New York, and Mecca provide the historical backdrop for Ferrigno's exceptional detective story: a world turned on its head. Evidence that these devastating attacks were orchestrated by "Zionist agents" changes the course of history.

In America, the combination of post-attack sympathy for Islam and several Hollywood celebrity conversions cause massive upheavals. With the federal government in shambles, the blue states form an Islamic Republic (capitol: Seattle) while the red states form their own Christian Republic (capitol: Atlanta). After decades of bloodshed between the two, by 2040 an uneasy truce reigns.

In the Islamic Republic, three political elements battle for control: the State Security forces under the control of moderate politico Redbeard; the fundamentalist Black Robes, led by firebrand cleric Ibn Azziz; and a shadow organization led by a billionaire recluse known only as "the Old One". When Redbeard's neice Sarah -- an accomplished author -- begins to investigate the terrorist attacks, her new book's proposed title ("The Zionist Betrayal?") sets off alarms throughout the Islamic Republic. And the Old One is especially determined to find and terminate this troublesome female.

Unnerved at his fraying plans, the Old One unleashes his ultimate weapon against her: a psycophathic Fedayeen assassin named Darwin. Sarah, though, is a dogged detective and she has an especially experienced and capable bodyguard. Rakkim Epps, an orphan also raised in Redbeard's household and who later served as a "Shadow Warrior" (special ops) in the elite Fedayeen, is reunited with Sarah at Redbeard's request. Together, Rakkim and Sarah circumnavigate the Western states trying to stay a step ahead of Darwin while tracking down the real instigator of the 2015 nuclear attacks.

The detective story on its own is excellent, but it is Ferrigno's rich level of detail that must be read to be appreciated. In the background, he describes an America transformed into an Islamic Republic, with new social mores, "Ask the Imam" radio talk-show dialogue, and even midday prayers at the Superbowl. This tapestry, combined with an excellent action-adventure plot, makes for a fascinating (and somewhat terrifying) story.

No comments: