Review of The Twelfth Imam by Joel C. Rosenberg


Genre: Apocalyptic Fiction

Series: Book One of the Twelfth Imam Series

Recommended: A riveting story of high stakes and affronted faiths.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Twelfth Imam, the story of an Iranian born CIA agent working to find and disrupt the secret Iranian nuclear weapons program in the midst of catastrophic global events, personal tragedies, and the questioning of his personal faith as a non-practicing Shia Muslim.

Although it is very much a work of fiction, the style of the writing and the sincerity of the characters make the story appear as a glimpse into an apocalyptic reality.  I especially appreciated the depth of the character’s faiths (it’s not often that a Christian writer would show those of other faiths to have so genuine a passion for their beliefs) and the appearance of the supernatural realm alongside the physical.

Being a Christian work, I found it interesting that the book does not have any “Christian” characters–that is, some characters come to know Jesus Christ as Lord, and faith is at the forefront, but there were no evangelical Christians going around making converts, and I found this somehow refreshing (and more believable).

From a theological perspective, I found this scenario much less dramatic than the prophetic illustration of the last days–not that the stakes weren’t high, or that the plot wasn’t exhilarating, but that it only portrayed a small piece of the prophetic story and even then, only as one possible outcome (of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, so long as readers read fiction as fiction and the Bible as the authority on biblical mysteries).

My only complaint is that the ending was surprisingly abrupt–I considered that perhaps part of it was missing before discovering that this book is the first in Rosenberg’s newest series.  Even so, the book ending felt incomplete (not mysteriously, romantically or suspensefully incomplete, but like the story was chopped off mid-sentence); and since it was so enjoyable to read, this was especially disappointing.

I received a complimentary Advance Reader Copy of this book as a part of the Tyndale Blog Network.