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Second in the futuristic trilogy, Sins of the Assassin was a disappointment after having enjoyed the first in the series. During the first quarter of the book, Ferrigno wastes too much ink in recall each time a snippet from this book relates to an event from the first. For a reader choosing this as their first of the trio, some recall is needed but this was way overdone in comparison to other series authors. As developed in the first novel, the former United States has been divided into several regions, the two most controversial being the Islamic Republic and the Bible Belt. In this sequel, the protagonist Rakkim Epps and his sidekick the adolescent prodigy Leo have been directed by the President to recover a hidden weapon developed by the former US which lies buried beneath a mountain in the Belt. In the right hands, the weapon is hoped to relieve tension between the divisive states. Once underway, the reader is led from one fantastic adventure to another. Each time, Rakkim emerges stronger and unscathed thanks to his superhuman Fedayeen powers. Each godless group Rikki encounters is at odds with the next group but all are acting for the greater good of God or Allah. There is so much continual praise for one god or another, it becomes trite. In the final few chapters, as predicted the weapon is recovered, a war is fought and a few characters change allegiance; nothing is what it appears in this brave new world. But its not that exciting either. Arriving home with a portion of the treasure, our protagonists find the President and Vice President have been assassinated, the cities are in chaos and Rakkhim and Leo are forced into hiding. At books end, we are left with a continent in peril while Rakkhim hunts down and kills an elusive adversary. Many questions are left unanswered and that is the reason for the third book in the series. For me, I can live not knowing the answers.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Ferrigno Hits Another Bullseye!March 12 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
SINS Of The ASSASSIN is the second installment of a planned trilogy (Come on Ferrigno, why are you going to leave us with only three books?) and it's even better than its dazzling predecessor, PRAYERS For The ASSASSIN.
Those of you who aren't familiar with the Assassin saga should understand that by the mid-21st century the world has been turned upside down. Western Europe is an Islamic basket case while America itself has been broken by nuclear attack, civil war and ecological disaster. In addition to the territorial acquisitions of Canada and the encroachment of the ascendent Aztlan Empire of Mexico or breakaway republics like the Mormon Free State and a Cuban dominated Florida, two political configurations now dominate what used to be the United States: the Islamic Republic of America and a loose confederation of the former southern states familiarly called the Bible Belt. Both are second rate powers, one waiting to destroy the other while Russia and China and new economic powerhouses like Brazil, Nigeria and South Africa strip them bare through exploitive trading privileges and concessions.
In this bizarre world of our near future lives Rakkim "Rikki" Epps, a genetically enhanced former "shadow warrior" of the Islamic Republic's elite Fedayeen special forces. Rakkim doesn't have the time or inclination to make sense of the bewildering religious and political forces responsible for the mess in the world...he is too busy fighting them. In PRAYERS we watched Rakkim curtail the maniacal ambitions of the Old One (an ancient Arab billionaire somewhat reminiscent of Hasan-i-Sabah, the 12th century leader of the Ismaili sect of the Assassins), helping to expose him, not Israel, as the one behind the nuclear attacks on Mecca as well as New York and Washington. In this latest installment we see him deep undercover down in the Bible Belt, hoping to infiltrate the army of a Kentucky warlord who is believed to be close to unearthing an old US weapons system, which he plans to sell to the Chinese.
Whereas the original novel showed us the nightmare of the Islamic Republic of America: a place where Disneyland lies in ruins for those to remember the immaturity and wickedness of their forefathers, where Mt. Rushmore has been defaced, where Jews are hunted down, Catholics have been ghettoized and homosexuals hang as putrid ornaments from the Golden Gate Bridge; SINS Of The ASSASSIN gives us a glimpse of a chaotic Bible Belt that seems to have also gone insane. New Orleans has long ago drowned in the perennial hurricanes that lash at the Belt's southern shores. Diseases and plagues infect much of the region. Outside of the capital of Atlanta, central authority is literally a joke, with power being held by warlords, various militias and drug barons. The South has become a place where indentured servitude is common and Waco reenacments draw huge crowds.
Robert Ferrigno put much time and research into his books, he also creates complex characters with depth of personality. You care about Rakkim and want to know more about him, how he ticks, how he will end up at the end of it all. You suspect that his wife Sarah is slowly becoming disillusioned with Islam. You wonder if Rakkim's Catholic friend, the Seattle detective Anthony Colarusso will live to retire, or will his refusal to "know his place" or his resistance to his son's conversion eventually cost him his life. You're glad that Jewish Spider's son, the supergenius Leo, has found a girlfriend. Ferrigno's tale isn't only about Islam vs. Christianity, it's just as much about the people coping in such a situation. Both PRAYERS and SINS kept me mesmerized and looking forward to the next installment. I strongly recommend them to anyone interested in alternative history and future shock literature.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Heroin packaged as a bookFeb. 9 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
Seldom does an eagerly anticipated sequel meet the hype. Even less frequently does it exceed the original, especially when the latter received numerous awards and hit all of the bestseller lists. Such an anomaly is Robert Ferrigno's Sins of the Assassins, the second volume in the Assassin Trilogy.
Epic in scope, cinematic in its plotting, startling in its violence and ultimately realistic despite its futuristic setting, Sins features the return of Rakkim Epps in a post-nuclear U.S. In Prayers for the Assassin, Epps uncovered the true backdrop behind a so-called "Zionist" attack on Washington, New York and Mecca. The attacks triggered a second U.S. Civil War that eventually split the country into a moderate Islamic Republic and a Christian-oriented Bible Belt. With help from his long-time friend Sarah, Epps exposed "the Old One" as the instigator of the nuclear attacks. The Old One, bent on establishing a global Islamic empire with North America as its cornerstone, was stopped dead in his tracks by Epps and Sarah but escape to live another day.
In "Sins", another, darker day has arrived. The United States is more fragmented than ever as the Christian Bible Belt is racked by warring factions; the Islamic Republic has become increasingly radicalized as Sharia law spreads; and the Aztlan Empire (Mexico) and Canada are encroaching on the old southern and northern borders.
Worse, word of a legendary super-weapon buried in a remote mountain area -- a highly-classified DoD project in the old U.S. regime -- threatens to unravel the fragile truce that exists between the Islamic Republic and the Bible Belt. Epps is tagged for a secret mission by the president of the moderate Islamic Republic to retrieve the weapon. Any hope for a "re-United States" hangs in the balance as a variety of international players -- including China, the modern global superpower -- race to control the weapon.
Epps is one of the Islamic Republic's elite "shadow warriors," a tiny cadre of special operatives groomed for commando activity behind enemy lines and genetically enhanced for night vision, fighting skills and agility. Compounding Epps' troubles, however, he's ordered to bring Leo -- an unathletic, unworldly nineteen year-old scientific genius -- with him on his nerve-wracking mission into the Bible Belt. Leo's job will be to quickly interpret the weapon's technology and to perform other classified tasks to which even Epps is not privy.
Along the way, Epps grapples with his own religious beliefs. As the violence escalates, he becomes convinced that somehow, some way, the spirit of Darwin -- the ultimate assassin controlled by the Old One -- has entered his being. Epps struggles to maintain control over his own schizophrenic existence as he and Leo weave their way through the Bible Belt's fragmented territories of religious cults, militias and corrupt officials.
As Rakkim and Leo wend their way to the mountain and the weapon within, they face not only the combined forces of the Old One, but a formidable militia led by "the Colonel", a military legend in the Bible Belt. Foremost among the Colonel's troops is Gravenholtz, a mechanically enhanced super-soldier capable of unbelievable savagery.
If Hollywood hasn't optioned the Assassin series, it's high time some Porsche-driving, mousse-laden genius arranged a meeting with Ferrigno's representatives.
The only downside of the book? You'll need the literary equivalent of methadone to overcome withdrawal once the story ends. And you'll be marking the calendar for the final chapter of the triad.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A Chilling Vision of a Possible FutureFeb. 14 2008
Patrick A. Hayden
- Published on Amazon.com
The second novel in a planned trilogy, "Sins of the Assasin" picks up three years after the end of the previous novel, "Prayers for the Assasin". That novel painted a future in which a civil war has torn the USA apart in the Isalmic Republic of the North and the "Bible Belt" of the South. Rakkim Epps, a former special forces "Shadow Warrior" for the Islamic Republic and hero of the first novel, is living in hiding with his wife, Sarah, and their son. The Old One, a brilliant, ruthless billionaire with aims on establishing a worldwide claiphate and who almost took over the Republic, has escaped after his part in the events that led to teh Civil War are exposed. On a cruise ship in the Pacific he plots to take over both the Islamic Republic and the Bible Belt, again trying to use a reunited Islamic America to establish a global caliphate. And in the Bible Belt, a charismatic leader known as "the Colonel" has stumbled upon a secret from the old USA which could upset the fragile peace between the two American nations and plunge the world into chaos.
Ferrigno's first novel in this series was fantastic, painting his shattered Islamic Republic of America is small strokes, with the glimpses of the changes forming a larger picture. One of the most interesting parts of the novel was the idea of the "Bible Belt", the loose union of states that pretty much comprise the old Confederate States. They are only mentioned and not visited in the first book, which focused on the theocratic Islamic Republic that was trying to balance religian and Sharia law with some freedom for it's citizens. Here, the Bible Belt. their culture, their govenrnment, their religion and their people are all thrust to the forefront, and with those same small touches, Ferrigno paints a portrait of a ruined American south, ruined by global warming, corrupption, religious fervor and international meddling.
Rakkim is sent into the Belt on a top-secret mission to stop the Colonel from discovering A secret weapon of some kind that the old USA hid at the bottom of an old mine. He takes with him a 19-year old genius who can analyze and nuetralize the weapon. His journey takes him from Texas to Georgia and Ferrigno presents us with a polar opposite of the Islamic Republic. In the Belt, law & order hardly exist at all, as local warlords intimidate the weak national government. It's basically what would have happened if the South had won the first Civil War, really, with a distrust of centralized power and a fierce Christianity rule. It's as frightening a place as the Islamic Republic, but for different reasons, and Rakkim and Leo have expectations shattered and form strange alliances as they move towards their target, while the Old One continues his plan.
The central story here is Rakkim's. He is different than in the first book, and still haunted by the climax of that novel. He is at turns incredibly kind and ruthlessly brutal, and this dichatomy is being to wear at his soul. Rakkim is struggling with his faith, and the strange things he sees along his journey make that struggle harder.
Leo, the 19 year old genius, is also well realized. He starts off as a know-it-all brat, but as he sees the world as it really is, he adapts and finds courage in himself. He's sort of a foil for Rakkim, and as he and Rakkim find the worst in humanity in the Belt, they also find the best.
There are some big twsist in this story which I will not give away. Events occur back home in Seattle, the Capital of the Islamic Republic, that will bring about tremendous change to whoever can manipulate the events. Suffice it to say, I can't wait for the next novel in the series, as a epic ending is the offering.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
You'll lose sleep with this oneJan. 27 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
A great follow up to the first book. This, the second of three, keeps you turning pages with the continuing story of Rikki and friends fighting for the good in a future America you never anticipated. Travel to the Bible Belt, find secret weapons, fight science-enhanced soldiers, discuss religion and politics. One of the best thrillers in years. I can't wait for the final chapter. A smart, wry commentary on all of the foolishness of the present day.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Even better than "Prayer for the Assassin"Feb. 14 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
When Ferigno's first "Assassin" novel was published, I gave it 5 Stars in my member review of it right here on Amazon. I thought it was a brilliant novel.
When I saw the sequel was out, I bought it with high hopes, but also a bit of trepidation, because many authors can't really pull sequels off all that well, particularly novels of a dystopian future.
Can you imagine Orwell having tried to write "1986"? Or Huxley attempting "An Even Braver New World"?
I'm happy to say my fears were completely unfounded. This is a totally absorbing read. I will recommend that you read the first novel, "Prayer for the Assassin", before reading this one. Even though, as the reviews have noted, this book absolutely succeeds as a stand-alone story, Ferrigno takes the groundwork so successfully portrayed in "Prayer" and builds upon it, and "Prayer" really sets the frightening overall tone of the dystopia portrayed in this series.
In this novel, we follow Rikki Epps as he once again works to thwart the Old One's attempts to install himself as the ruler of a world caliphate. This is obviously the spine of the series, and it will be very interesting to see how Ferrigno wraps this up in the final installment.
Having established in the first novel the fracturing of the former United States, the first novel explored the resultant Islamic Republic, and this one explored the Bible Belt, the sector of the former US that has remained Christian. There are a couple of other areas Ferrigno has left himself to explore: the Mormon Territories (my guess) and the Nevada Free State (lightly explored in the first book).
The characterizations are vivid and memorable; Rikki Epps continues to develop and fascinate, and new character Leo is a great foil.
Wherever he's going with this, I can hardly wait for the next one.