Orrin Judd interviews Robert Ferrigno, the author of a Fatherland/1984-style what-if novel, Prayers for the Assassin:
In the year 2040, New York City, Washington, D.C. and Mecca have all been devastated by nuclear warheads, the attacks admitted to by Mossad agents who were trying to drive a wedge between the West and the Islamic world (giving the event the title the Zionist Betrayal). The resulting chaos has led to the creation of an Islamic States of America, making up most of the Northern and Western states of the old Union. An uneasy truce exists with the Bible Belt states of the South after a long civil war, and the Catholic Church is tolerated, but the federal government is essentially an Islamic republic.
Within this richly imagined context, Mr. Ferrigno sets the story of Rakkim Epps, a former elite soldier in the American Fedayeen, and Sarah Dougan, a young historian who has uncovered evidence that casts doubt on the official version of the Zionist Betrayal. The two were raised by Redbeard, the head of State Security — Rakkim an orphan he found on the street; Sarah, the daughter of Redbeard’s assassinated brother. When Sarah disappears, Redbeard asks the estranged Rakkim to find her, without revealing why she’s gone into hiding. As he searches, Rakkim soon finds himself shadowed by Darwin, an assassin and psychopath, who serves the Wise Old One, a fundamentalist leader who thinks Redbeard and others in the government too moderate.
All of the author’s usual chops are on full display, so fans and thriller readers will be satisfied, but the background he provides will interest even policy wonks and political mavens. Fiction is used here to make us consider why a billion people choose Islam and whether it’s too far-fetched to think that Americans might find it attractive under the right circumstances. As Mark Steyn said in his review, “If it’s a choice between the defeatism and self-loathing of the Piss Christified West and a stern unyielding eternal Allah, maybe it’s Islam that will prove the great seducer.”
Read the whole thing.