This debut novel presents an alternate portrait of the Middle East after Osama bin Laden’s death, while also stressing the need to bridge interfaith gaps.
In November 2011, Osama bin Laden is dead and the terrorist organization al-Qaida is in tatters. President Barack Obama’s first term closes with plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. However, the region still crawls with military contractors, including companies like the Chester Brampton Group, which run wars like for-profit schemes. Against this backdrop, three vital players emerge who have the potential to positively influence the next phase of Islam. The first is the exiled Ayatollah Arman Rastani, a Georgetown University professor who fled Iran after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s revolution. Rastani is slandered relentlessly as a spy and a spiritual inspiration for Iranian terrorists, and he’s kidnapped to London for interrogation. Then there’s Aleksandr Kozhevnikov, a former Spetsnaz (special forces) operative, who’s assigned by Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service to help dismantle American contractors’ systematic manipulation of Middle Eastern resources. Finally, there’s Atamar “The Wolf” Anagul, a retired al-Qaida strategist who’s sought by his former terrorist allies, who wish to obliterate all aspects of moderate Islam—including Rastani. When a high-profile American visitor is killed near the United Nations’ fortified Green Zone, the lives of these three determined men fatefully intersect. In her terrifying but optimistic novel, Griffith-Dickson explores the reality of post-Osama bin Laden global events and speculates on how the creation of the Islamic State terrorist group might have been prevented; at one point, for example, Atamar says, “the only way to outmanoeuvre them is to build a pan-Islamic movement in Iraq.” The author offers a sweeping panorama that surrounds readers with many viewpoints on the saga of modern Islam, including those of British teenagers descending into terrorism and that of Rastani, who believes that one must “Move all things by love, with your desire, and that is how you transform evil into good, and goodness into perfection.” This novel is for anyone who’d like to see a future that’s built by discussion and compassion, rather than violence.
An incredible political thriller that’s also a primer on current Middle Eastern conflicts.