David Stokes
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Go to the fiction section of any local bookstore - mega or micro - and you’ll encounter title after title dealing with international intrigue, terrorism, and conspiracy in high places.  These subjects have long been popular, but it seems that they are more so these days, as geopolitical reality unfolds before our eyes.  Many novels seem to read very much like real life. 

Only the names are changed. 

Emerging as a master of the genre is Joel C. Rosenberg.  His first breakout novel, The Last Jihad, climbed the New York Times Bestseller list several years ago, due in part to its eerily familiar plot having to do with an airliner being hijacked and set on a kamikaze course to attack an American city – this all written months BEFORE the 9-11 attacks.

According to CNN Headline News, “J.K. Rowling may be the writer of the moment for the young and the young at heart.  But for many adults Joel Rosenberg is the ‘it author’ right now.  Inside and outside the Beltway in Washington, people are snatching up copies of his almost lifelike terrorist suspense novels.”    

He is not a modern day “Nostradamus” as some have suggested, but Rosenberg is a man who understands that there may be clues to current events, and even future happenings, in some very special ancient writings.  And those writings claim inspiration beyond their authorship.  We’re talking about the sacred Hebrew and Christian scriptures.

Joel’s latest novel, and the last in a compelling series that included: The Last Jihad, The Last Days, The Ezekiel Option, and The Copper Scroll, is called DEAD HEAT.  It’s a must read for anyone interested in how the past may very well inform the present – not to mention things to come.

Prior to his career as a writer (there are 1.5 million copies of his books in print these days), he worked for Steve Forbes, Rush Limbaugh, Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky – giving him experience and credentials beyond those of the many suspense novelists. 

I had a chance to talk with Joel recently about his new book, Middle Eastern affairs, and the current U. S. Presidential campaign.  He told me that DEAD HEAT is “about a highly contested political campaign” and “what could happen if a Commander-in-Chief underestimates the danger of radical Islam.” 

With a “ripped from the headlines” feel, the novel weaves his interpretation of ancient Biblical prophecy into realistic current events. 

Joel is fervently pro-Israel, this being the understandable result of his family heritage.  His paternal ancestors escaped Russian persecution of the Jews early in the twentieth century.  His loyalty is also fueled by his personal faith as an Evangelical Christian.  

The very fact of Israel’s existence is, to Rosenberg, a testimony to the reliability of the Bible. He told me that “the Bible is the only book on the planet that ever predicted that (a modern state for the Jews) would come true – and it has, quite dramatically so!”

This passion for Israel shines through his books and is evident, as well, in his humanitarian efforts on behalf of the poor and needy in the Middle East (such efforts not limited to Israel alone, but focused on the surrounding nations as well).  He and his wife established The Joshua Fund  (www.joshuafund.net ) a few years back, and they are currently involved in an effort called OPERATION EPICENTER, with the goal of distributing $120 million dollars worth of food, clothing, pots and pans, furniture, medical supplies, construction supplies, wheelchairs, and toys for children in the region, over the next few years.   

Reflecting on the current campaign for the presidency, Joel considers the war against radical Islam to be an overriding issue; one with “winner take all” stakes.  He considers Barack Obama to be very “weak” in foreign policy experience as well as on issues relating to America’s strategic relationship with Israel.   Yet, he also notes that Christians don’t seem to be flocking en mass to the McCain campaign.

Rosenberg’s November Communications, Inc. commissioned a poll last week, one that questioned 1,000 likely Christian voters.  The results were not good news for the man from Arizona, revealing that if the election were held today Mr. McCain would lose the Christian vote to the Democratic nominee – 36 to 45 per cent, this even AFTER all the news about Barack’s talkative preacher.  By contrast, George Bush decisively bested John Kerry with this voting block in 2004.

And, though Joel clearly admires the President, he is disappointed in the Administration as it seems to be encouraging the division of Jerusalem and forfeiture of the West Bank.  He finds himself clearly puzzled by their efforts to “put pressure on Israel, in part, to placate the Saudis and others who really hold our economic future in their hands” (read: OIL).  

And oil is very much a key to the plot of DEAD HEAT as the price of crude soars to record heights – we’re talking about $400.00 to $500.00 a barrel.   Joel admits that when it came to writing this novel he found himself skeptical of those figures, but with oil lately at $107.00 such a scenario is not so far-fetched anymore.  Add to the mix a new strong-man in Iraq, North Korea on the move to the South, and China threatening Taiwan, and you have the prescription for a first-rate thriller, and a worst case international crisis.

As Joel says in the Author’s note in the beginning of DEAD HEAT, “I pray to God the novel you hold in your hands never comes true.”  

So do we.
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David Stokes

David R. Stokes is a best-selling author, pastor, columnist, and broadcaster. His latest book is a novel: CAPITOL LIMITED: A Story about John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Based on a true story, it's about a unique moment in 1947, when Kennedy and Nixon shared