Review of “The Last Days”

tldThe Last Days is actually the first book by Joel C. Rosenberg that I’d read. As mentioned previously, though this is the second book in the actual series, it is the one I first got my hands on. Out of all the books in this series, the plot in this work is probably the most linear and simple to follow. Several main antagonists are introduced and detailed out, the main protagonists are built upon from The Last Jihad, and the more minor characters are also laid out before the reader in a very thoughtful manner.

Book two in Rosenberg’s political action thriller series that highlights the lives of Jon Bennett and Erin McCoy takes a swing to the war-ridden territory of the Gaza Strip. With Saddam Hussein’s regime overthrown in Iraq, the world turns to the Presidents of the United States and the European Union to bring a final, lasting peace to the Middle-East. This is seeming more and more likely to be accomplished until a series of events take place in Gaza that rivet the world; but in fact are just the beginning of a massive conspiratorial plot to destroy the free people of the world.

Bennett and McCoy are right in the middle of the peace process: appointed by President MacPherson of the United States to oversee a hopefully lasting peace and cooperation between the Israelis and Palestinians. Also appointed to join the peace process are two very influential figures respectively for the Israeli and Palestinian people: Dmitri Galishnikov and Ibrahim Sa’id. The negotiators unfortunately find themselves in the midst of a violent plot against peace; yet going through these events together bring the two sides closer together, allowing them to discuss differences and lay out a road map for peace.

I feel that Mr. Rosenberg presents a very accurate picture for main setting of The Last Days: the Gaza Strip, and specifically Gaza City. Though I have never visited there, it seems to be painted in a very real-to-life way to make the reader sympathize for the citizens that live there, as well as see the difficulty of introducing democracy and peace to a war-torn people.

As the narrative drew to its climax, I noticed just how much I enjoy Joel Rosenberg’s style of writing. He writes intriguing plots that, while complex, also seem realistic and honest. The spiritual plot also begins to first develop in the lives of the main characters in The Last Days. I feel that this is the book that “gets the ball rolling” in the lives of Jon and Erin. The remainder of the works in this series can be very emotionally driving at times, and this book lays the groundwork for Mr. Rosenberg to be able to weave in the complex spiritual and emotional plots that cap the series.

Of course, I am glad that I was able to read this via my Kindle, as well as listen to it with my wife via our Audible subscription. The reader was solid, easy-to-understand, and surprisingly precise with his pronunciation of some words in the Semitic languages and Russian. It is a joy to read an exciting, intelligently written, and well plotted book. Though it is best to read The Last Days second in the series, it ended up being fine with me coming back and reading The Last Jihad last, after reading this. Again, you won’t regret picking this up, taking a week or two, and reading The Last Days.

Review of “The Last Jihad”

thjBelieve it or not, this is one of my most recent reads of Joel C. Rosenberg’s end-times, political, action-thriller novels; this is also not my first review of one of his books (read about Implosion here). Yes, I know that it is the first fiction book that the author wrote, but the funny thing is that there was no Kindle edition when I first heard about and became interested in his novels. I had first heard of Mr. Rosenberg’s works just after finishing college in 2009. I wasn’t really in a good habit of reading back then, but I kept him in the back of my mind–just in case I started to read more often. In 2010, I received a 2nd generation Kindle for my birthday, and after a few months of having it (and loving it), I remembered Joel C. Rosenberg again.

I navigated to one day, knowing that I wanted to read a good fiction. I found The Last Jihad, was about to purchase it, but found out–to my dismay–that it was not available in an eBook format yet (it is now). The funny thing was that at that time, I did not think that his novels were necessarily linked, so I found the next one in the search results, which ended up being the second book in the series: The Last Days (I’ll review that for my next review). Thankfully, as much as the novels were linked, I did not feel like I missed out by starting at book two. I ended up reading all the books in this series, and then on to the next series with the books: The Twelfth Imam and The Tehran Initiative (and am right now halfway through The Damascus Countdown).

Last fall, a year after reading all of the Kindle versions of Mr. Rosenberg’s novels (minus The Last Jihad), my wife and I were going to be going on an eight-hour trip, and I thought she would like to listen to the audio version of The Twelfth Imam. I purchased the audiobook from Audible just before leaving, used the Audible app on my Android, and we had a blast! Over the next few months, we  used Audible a lot, finishing the two available novels for the David Shirazi series in no time. Just as a side note: it was just as fun and thrilling to read the books a second time via Audible, even after already purchasing the Kindle versions.

After finishing the two novels taking place in Iran, I figured it would be an enjoyable family time to be able to sit down in the evenings and just listen to a good series of books. Naturally, that would start out with Rosenberg’s first novel–the only one I had not gotten around to reading yet–The Last Jihad.

There is no doubt that the author has a talent to take real-world scenarios, put them into a fictional context, and make them entertaining for anyone. I am definitely the history buff and political junkie of the family, but I think that my wife has been just as interested–if not more so–than I am. On the cover, it would be easy to think of The Last Jihad and its sequels as simply a story for a niche market, but I have found that the author’s fiction works are enjoyable to everyone I have talked to about them. I have yet to meet someone else who has read Joel Rosenberg that has said they did not love reading his works.

The Last Jihad begins with a thrilling sequence events that take the reader from Denver, Colorado to Baghdad, Iraq. You are gracefully introduced to characters who, by the end of the series, almost become friends to you: President MacPherson, Marcia Kirkpatrick, Dr. Mordechai, Dmitri Galishnikov, and of course Erin McCoy and Jon Bennett. It was nice for me to get all of the background that I did not know about, or was hinted at in the sequels. The character building is gradual, and takes place over the course of the series, but I feel that the main characters are all introduced and played out well in this first book.

Multi-layered plots unfold from the American soil–in a time very reminiscent of the post-9/11 US geopolitical situation–and from slowly unfolding events happening in the Middle-East: the epicenter of the world. Assassinations, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction are beginning to plague the world to a greater extent than they were before; evil men are gaining momentum; many good men are standing down; the world seems like it may implode. However, unlikely heroes rise up to their life’s calling, make tough decisions, while finding spiritual truth in the midst of their trials.

From a Christian standpoint, The Last Jihad is definitely the beginning of each character’s spiritual journey. Again, over the course of the series, you can truly see the spiritual growth, struggles, and decisions that have to be made at each step; yet this piece of the puzzle is only hinted at in The Last Jihad, making everything feel more realistic as plots unfold later in the book, and eventually later in the series.

I found The Last Jihad to be extremely readable as well. It is easy to pick up for just a few minutes and read, and even more easy to sit down and read for a few hours, losing track of time in the process. The flow of events is smooth, but details are not skimmed over either. I felt like I got the whole story of Jon Bennett and Erin McCoy as I listened to the last few words of the audiobook.

I cannot recommend reading The Last Jihad enough. I know that  Joel C. Rosenberg’s novels have made evenings very exciting in our home. I know once you are finished with this first book, you will want to continue on. I am also going to finish reviewing all of his books that I’ve read here as well, over the next few weeks (though probably not in such great length…I had to give the background story for this first one!).

What the United States Truly Needs

Which course is America currently on, according to history? In which ways could the United States literally implode? Does God still have a plan for America? These questions, and many like them, are well presented, documented, and answered by Joel C. Rosenberg in his most recent work, Implosion: Can America Recover from Its Economic and Spiritual Challenges in Time?


Being a fan of Mr. Rosenberg’s political thrillers, it was not difficult to pick up Implosion. I found this non-fiction book very relevant, in my opinion, to the situations our nation faces in the present. The exciting and gripping style that the author uses in his fiction writings shows itself at times in Implosion as well. Facts are presented in an easy-to-understand manner, definitely not feeling too cumbersome. Several chapters of theories as to what could cause the United States to “implode” are revealed in a way that causes the reader to think, but without trying to create or expound upon conspiracy theories. Rosenberg is very mainstream in his hypotheses, yet still remains thought-provoking.

I bought this book on Amazon for my Kindle (like pretty much every book I’ve bought in the last two years), and found the quality of Tyndale’s Kindle publishing to be of high-quality, yet again. There were no obvious typos or formatting errors that I saw.

In the first chapters of Implosion, the author answers, in detail, many questions that the average American citizen (or politician for that matter) may have concerning the Bible, and specifically: end times prophecy. Several questions are answered about whether America is mentioned in Biblical prophecy, and what role she could play in the future events of this world. Again, Mr. Rosenberg is very realistic in his assumptions. In no way does he delve into implausible, manufactured theories that rely simply on being culturally outrageous. He is clear and objective in prophetic matters.

About one-third of the way into the book, Joel C. Rosenberg begins to play out multiple scenarios that could cause the United States to implode upon herself. From economic collapse and terrorism, to natural disasters and the rapture, facts are presented for each case, and how this nation could become nearly insignificant in world events in the near future. Then, as if to show the reader the truth behind all of the facts, the author declares the true implosion of America that has already begun: spiritual apathy.

After showing the reality of America’s overall spiritual condition by different modern and historical figures, the author takes the reader back 250 years ago, to the First Great Awakening. During that time, men such as George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, and the Wesley brothers were used by God to literally transform colonial America from hard-necked “religious” pragmatists  into an overall Spirit-sensitive group of people. What seemed like insurmountable spiritual deadness was completely trodden down to make place for a historic Christian revival: with souls saved, lives turned around, and families mended.

Even 70 years after the First Great Awakening, though, a coldness had once again developed towards Godly things. The Enlightenment had put a damper on churches, to the point where most Protestant ministers even seemed unregenerate. Then, through prayer, fasting, and God’s Divine Providence, a revival spread from the ports of the east coast to the furthest frontiers. Whole families and towns were born-again. Church attendance and the number of churches in general rose tremendously. It was because God is more powerful than any human tendency toward spiritual decay; and because just a few of God’s people, again, prayed, fasted, and sought the Lord concerning the state of their neighbors.

What Joel Rosenberg brought to light at the end of the book was the need–not for a political revival–but a true, Spirit-driven Great Awakening. I have to admit, I have been paying very close attention to this current election cycle. It is very easy to get caught up into the politics of everything, and attach your hope of the future of the United States to a candidate. In no way am I saying that we should be disengaged (quite the opposite, in fact, as Rosenberg explains); however, as Christians, we must examine ourselves and not throw our hope into any political change. An American change back to the roots of her founding can only happen if America’s people seek the God of their founding.

Mr. Rosenberg concludes Implosion with a challenge for Christians to look inward. Are we seeing revival in our own lives? Are we praying for national revival? Are our families gathering around the Bible together daily to worship the Lord? Or are we simply too concerned about earthly things to make time to pray and seek God through His Word? Implosion was a refreshing, encouraging, and challenging book that I think any concerned American should read. I picked this book up thinking it would be political, but found that it was not just the typical current-events rant. Implosion doesn’t simply list out all of the problems with America: it gives the honest and Biblical solution.