The Third Target, by Joel C. Rosenberg

Five stars (of five)

Rosenberg presents yet another political thriller with aspects pulled from the headlines, sure to interest a large cross-section of readers. New York Times foreign correspondent J. B. Collins is given a once in a lifetime opportunity, to interview a high-ranking official of ISIS. Collins can use this exclusive as a means to learn much about the organisation and its structure. While the governments of Iraq and Syria have both been targets, Collins learns of a third target, one in which terror will precede complete territorial and government take over. After learning that ISIS might have captured a collection of chemical weapons from the Syrians, Collins seeks to confirm the story and share it with the world in a second and more dangerous interview. Attacked on US soil and captured when he makes it to the Middle East, Collins is shown just how deeply rooted ISIS has become and what it has in store for a secret peace announcement in the region. Pulling clues from his interviews and end-times biblical passages, Collins may have revealed the largest coup ISIS has in store for the world. Powerfully written, with a cliffhanger that will have readers begging for a sequel, Rosenberg pulls the reader in with his typical political writing, peppered with biblical foundations. Well worth the investment of those seeking to understand this new terror group emerging around the world.

After reading an academic book on ISIS last summer and being highly disappointed, I was unsure if Rosenberg would try to decorate this novel with the same superficial set of facts. Rosenberg defies these expectations, spinning a masterful tale, telling not only of the fluctuations in Middle East politics, but also presents ISIS history and future goals in a comprehensive manner. Pulling on many sources, as well as biblical predictions, Rosenberg debunks the lone image known to the general public, that ISIS is solely interested in kidnappings and public executions. Readers looking for a great piece of fiction while also learning a great deal should certainly give this book a chance, provided their curiosity comes with a tolerance for Christian semonising in a lukewarm form.

Kudos, Mr. Rosenberg for this wonderful novel. You know your stuff and tell things in such a credible way that I often wonder how much is simply fiction.