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Taking post-9/11 conspiracy theories that blamed the attacks on Zionist agents as the seed for this unusual thriller, Ferrigno (The Wake-Up) posits a nuclear terrorist onslaught in 2015 on New York City, Washington, D.C., and Mecca that has all the earmarks of a Mossad operation. The blue states are moved by these horrors to convert to Islam, while the red states break away from the Islamic Republic, forming a Christian republic in the South. By 2040, three major parties struggle for control in the Islamic Republic: the moderate State Security forces, under Redbeard; the Black Robes, a fundamentalist religious police force; and the top-secret Assassins, under the Old One. When Sarah Dougan, Redbeard's niece and a respected historian, reinvestigates the 2015 attack for a new book, The Zionist Betrayal?, the Old One sics his deadliest assassin on her. Running from Seattle to Vegas, Sarah has a protector in her lover, an ex-fedayeen soldier named Rakkim Epps, whose agnostic POV anchors the novel. Fans of instapundit politics will love this thriller, which has the cinematic motion and atrocity F/X of a good airport read. However, Ferrigno's gimmick—the transformation of America into a cartoon version of Islam—lends the proceedings a damaging air of implausibility. (Feb.)
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In a huge departure from his edgy thrillers set in the glittering wasteland of contemporary L.A. (Flinch, 2001; The Wake-Up, 2004), Ferrigno sets his ninth novel in the year 2040. The U.S. has been rent by civil strife and a nuclear attack that leveled New York and Washington, D.C. The nation is now divided into the Islamic States of America, whose capital is in Seattle, and the Bible Belt, located in the South. Young and fearless researcher Sarah Dougan, a moderate Muslim who frequently chafes at the restrictions placed on women, discovers that the nuke attacks long blamed on Israel were in fact carried out by a fanatical Muslim billionaire who intends to take over the nation by launching an unprecedented attack on the Christian South. Intending to verify her explosive findings, Sarah must go into hiding, where she is joined by her lover, former elite Muslim warrior Rakkim Epps. The two zigzag their way across an unrecognizable U.S., dogged by a psychopathic rogue assassin named Darwin. Ferrigno deserves props for his imaginative portrayal of a futuristic America, which is often highlighted through startling details, as when the second half of the Super Bowl must wait on midday prayers. But his new novel lacks his usual edge and his signature dialogue. Still, with its inventive setting and violent, action-packed, even controversial storyline, this novel should have no trouble finding an audience. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.