Prayers for the Assassin

Jonathan mentioned this one a few weeks back. According to the back copy:

THE YEAR IS 2040. New York and Washington are nuclear wastelands. The nation is divided between an Islamic Republic across the north and the Christian Bible Belt in the old South. The shift was precipitated by simultaneous, suitcase-nuke detonations in New York City, Washington, and Mecca, a sneak attack blamed on Israel, and known as the Zionist Betrayal. Now alcohol is outlawed, replaced by Jihad Cola, and mosques dot the skyline. Veiled women hurry through the streets. Freedom is controlled by the state, paranoia rules, and rebels plot to regain free will…

In this tense society beautiful young historian Sarah Dougan uncovers shocking evidence that the Zionist Betrayal was actually a plot carried out by a radical Muslim now poised to overtake the entire nation. Sarah’s research threatens to expose him, and soon she and her lover, Rakkin Epps, an elite Muslim warrior, find themselves hunted by Darwin, a brilliant psychopathic killer. Rakkin must become Darwin’s assassin—a most forbidding challenge. The bloody chase takes them from the outlaw territories of the Pacific Northwest to the anything-goes glitter of Las Vegas—and culminates dramatically as Rakkim and Sarah battle to reveal the truth to the entire world.

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re probably thinking. But I read my review copy over the weekend, and I concur with Tbogg: anyone who picks this up hoping for anti-Muslim warblogger porn is going to be disappointed. Admittedly, the underlying premise of a mass American conversion to Islam is silly at best, but if you can suspend disbelief on that point, it’s a fine alternate reality thriller in the tradition of Robert Harris’ Fatherland. If the author was trying for agitprop, he failed — even after reading it, I couldn’t have really told you what his personal politics were.

Which is why I’m sorry I clicked through Tbogg’s link to Ferrigno’s own blog, where we find effusive references to Michelle Malkin and Hugh Hewitt, and gratuitious slaps at Ted Rall (Ferrigno channels Ann Coulter and suggests that Rall should enter that Iranian Holocaust cartoon competition, har, har, har!). Whether we have another Roger-Simon-the-Man-Who-Created-Moses-Wine on our hands, or Ferrigno just spent a few weeks studying the blogs and decided that sucking up to the right wingers would be an effective marketing strategy, it’s a shame either way. I think the book would have had a wider reach and a wider appeal if he’d played his cards a little closer to the vest and just let the writing speak for itself.

At any rate, you know the old saying: trust the art, not the artist. The book’s still a fun read.