12 March 2014

Book Series Review: "The Last Jihad"

Author: Joel C. Rosenberg
Published: 2002 - 2008 by Forge and Tyndale
Synopsis: Not long after his election, United States President James "Mac" MacPherson is a victim of terror; this time, it involves a private foreign airplane driven into his motorcade.  After recovering, for the security of the entire country, he hires personal friends Jonathan "Jon" Bennett and Erin McCoy as his staff.  However, the motorcade attack is only the tip of the iceberg, as numerous terror threats put the lives of not only the President and his staff, but innocent civilians, at risk.  Jon and Erin soon find out that everything going on has a much higher meaning...

Artistic Merit

Plots: 4.5/5
It started out great, but it got even better as the series went on.  I read the last two novels in one sitting each, and I don't normally do that with books, especially long, thick ones.  This is a wonderful premise, and it feels rather realistic.

Writing: 4/5
Joel C. Rosenberg is an amazing storyteller, and his writing is spot-on in this series.

Moral Content

(Warning! Spoilers are contained throughout these sections!)

Positive Elements: 5/5
Jon, Erin, and others put their lives on the line for their country and each other.  Numerous characters, including Jon, become Christians in the series.  Jon also shows respect for his mother, even though she tends to call him at bad times.  The Bible is quoted often, especially in the later books, and is held in reverence by the heroes.

Sex: 4/5
Occasional mild references to mild sexual things such as "prostitutes" and "Viagra ads".  After Jon and Erin get married, their sex life is discussed, but only in a "PG" way.  A gag in the first novel involves homosexuality.

Nudity: 4.5/5
The gag mentioned above involves two women in a shower, though no graphic descriptions are given.

Language: 3.5/5
The first two books contained several profanities; the last three, none at all.  Maybe this was because of the shift from secular publisher Forge to Christian publisher Tyndale.

Violence: 1/5
Violent content is pretty much expected, right? Well, here's the rundown: Good guys and bad guys are both shot and/or killed, and it is sometimes bloody; terrorist attacks kill and/or seriously injure people, from the President of the United States to millions of innocent US citizens; and, war and mayhem are pretty much the tone of the series.

Drugs: 3.5/5
Alcoholism is referenced a few times, as is smoking.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 0.5/5
There's little within the books that isn't frightening or intense! See "Violence" for why.

Other: 2.5/5
The last book in the series closes with the Rapture, which may bother readers who disagree with Left Behind-style theology.  Also, another gag involves flatulence.

Final Score: 4.75/5
Forget Jenkins and LaHaye; this is the definitive "end times" series.  Whether or not you agree with the theological or political aspects of it, you'll be drawn in by the intensity and edge-of-your-seat action.  As a Washington insider, Mr. Rosenberg knows his stuff, and he nails it with this series.  If you haven't read these five books yet...what are you waiting for? Go find them at your local library, now!

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