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Exclusive Book & Movie Reviews: Reader Beware of Messianic Twists The Ezekial Option by Joel Rosenberg, Tyndale, 2005, 413 pages, $14.95

by Mitchell Bard

I love thrillers, especially when they involve international intrigue and Israel. Though the writing was pedestrian from the outset, I was still drawn into Joel Rosenberg’s novel, The Ezekiel Option, because it starts dramatically with the highjacking of Russian airliner that is flying toward the White House. As the plot unfolds, a right-wing coup leads to a dramatic shift in Russia’s orientation and the focus of its new hardline becomes Israel.

The book is very current and has a lot of that “ripped from the headlines” feel as Rosenberg discusses radical Islam, Iranian nuclear designs, and the terror threat. One of the central plot points involving pressuring Israel to give up its nuclear weapons under pressure from not only Russia, but the Europeans, is entirely plausible.

While the plot initially hooks you, the characters are absurd and it soon becomes evident this is an evangelical novel. What sent me over the edge was the revelation (pun intended) that one of the central characters, a former director of the Mossad, has apparently become a Jew for Jesus. He works closely with the other major characters who are American government officials whose Christian beliefs seem to be their only important characteristics. Once the Christian theme is introduced, it’s not long before folks are praying together and talking about their faith in Jesus. What might have been a reasonably good political thriller turns into an absurd apocalyptic fantasy.

At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, it is fair to assume that most readers picking up a book by a writer named Joel Rosenberg will not expect the plot to be rooted in Christian messianism, so unless you are already a believer, this thriller will offer an unwelcome twist.