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The Last Jihad

The Last Jihad

4.1 128
by Joel C. Rosenberg

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Jon Bennett and Erin McCoy are two of the shrewdest strategists on Wall Street and close friends of the president of the United States. Their secret project: a billion-dollar oil deal off the coast of Tel Aviv and Gaza that could form the basis of a historic peace treaty and bring enormous wealth to every Israeli and Palestinian. But nothing has prepared Jon or


Jon Bennett and Erin McCoy are two of the shrewdest strategists on Wall Street and close friends of the president of the United States. Their secret project: a billion-dollar oil deal off the coast of Tel Aviv and Gaza that could form the basis of a historic peace treaty and bring enormous wealth to every Israeli and Palestinian. But nothing has prepared Jon or Erin for the terror that lies ahead.

The book that started it all, The Last Jihad is the first of Joel C. Rosenberg's New York Times best-selling series, with 500,000 in print. The first page puts readers in the cockpit of a hijacked jet on a kamikaze mission into an American city—but it was written nine months before 9/11/01. As the plot unfolds, White House advisors Jon Bennett and Erin McCoy are under attack in Jerusalem as the U.S. goes to war with Iraq over weapons of mass destruction—but The Last Jihad was published four months before the actual Iraq war began.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Timeliness adds considerable juice to Rosenberg's frenzied political thriller, set a couple of years in the future. In the wake of September 11, popular American president James MacPherson has spearheaded an international effort to destroy terrorist training camps in the Middle East and North Africa. Osama bin Laden has been killed, but Saddam Hussein continues to plot against the West. The novel opens with a coordinated international terrorist attack, in which Paris and London and several sites in the United States are bombed. Quick-thinking agents deflect an assassination attempt on the president, but MacPherson is gravely wounded. The reader follows the crisis through the eyes of Jon Bennett, a Wall Street strategist putting together a stock deal in Israel when the terrorists strike. Bennett once worked closely with MacPherson on Wall Street. After a tortuous interrogation at the Jerusalem airport on his way back to the U.S., Bennett passes out, expecting to be killed. When he awakes, he finds that he has passed a crucial test and is now a member of President MacPherson's inner circle of advisers. So far, Rosenberg (Not Quite Scaramouche, etc.) keeps a lot of narrative balls in the air with lean writing and breakneck pacing, but at this midway point the novel loses focus and urgency. Rosenberg's failure to give the characters dimension is exposed when the story slows down and moves away from dramatic scenes of action. Intelligence reports indicate that Saddam may be planning a nuclear attack, and the advisers engage in a lengthy heated discussion about a first strike. Though the characters in this debate come off like talking heads, the energy and scope of the dispute breathes new life into the last half of the novel and hints at greater things from the author.
From the Publisher

“Rosenberg nails it-a provocative, conservative political thriller that reads like a major Hollywood blockbuster. In the spirit of Tom Clancy's Sum of All Fears, Rosenberg's The Last Jihad absolutely crackles with high energy and a chilling premise-what if the war on terror goes nuclear.” —Rush Limbaugh, host of the nationally syndicated, Rush Limbaugh Radio Show

“Buckle up! The Last Jihad is a high speed, heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat roller coaster ride into the heart of darkness . . . just when you think you know where you're going, along comes a twist that you never saw coming . . . scariest of all, Rosenberg's post-9/11 scenario-a nuclear showdown between the US, Israel, and Iraq-feels ripped from tomorrow's headlines . . . this stuff could really happen!” —Sean Hannity, host of the nationally syndicated, Sean Hannity Radio Show and Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes

Rush Limbaugh

Rosenberg nails it-a provocative, conservative political thriller that reads like a major Hollywood blockbuster. In the spirit of Tom Clancy's Sum of All Fears, Rosenberg's The Last Jihad absolutely crackles with high energy and a chilling premise-what if the war on terror goes nuclear.
Sean Hannity

Buckle up! The Last Jihad is a high speed, heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat roller coaster ride into the heart of darkness . . . just when you think you know where you're going, along comes a twist that you never saw coming . . . scariest of all, Rosenberg's post-9/11 scenario-a nuclear showdown between the US, Israel, and Iraq-feels ripped from tomorrow's headlines . . . this stuff could really happen!

Product Details

Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Last Jihad

A Novel

By Joel C. Rosenberg

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2002 Joel C. Rosenberg
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-7603-9


A presidential motorcade is a fascinating sight, particularly at night, and particularly from the air.

Even from twenty miles out and ten thousand feet up — on approach to Denver International Airport's runway 17R — both pilots of the Gulfstream IV could clearly see the red and blue flashing lights of the entourage on the ground at about one o'clock, beginning to snake westward down Pena Boulevard.

The late November air was cool, crisp, and cloudless. A full moon bathed the flat plains below, and the Rockies jutting heavenward to the right, with a bluish tint and remarkable visibility.

A phalanx of two dozen police motorcycles led the way towards downtown Denver, forming a "V," with the captain of the motorcycle force riding point. Then came a dozen Colorado State Patrol squad cars, four rows of three each, spread out and taking up all three lanes of westbound highway with more lights and more sirens. Two jet-black Lincoln Town Cars followed immediately, carrying the White House advance team. These were followed by two black Chevy Suburbans, each carrying teams of plainclothes agents from the United States Secret Service.

Next — one after the other — came two identical limousines, both black, bulletproof Cadillacs built to precise Secret Service specifications. The first was code-named "Dodgeball." The second, "Stagecoach." To the untrained eye it was impossible to know the difference, or to know which vehicle the president was in.

The limousines were tailed closely by six more government-owned Suburbans, most carrying fully locked-and-loaded Secret Service assault teams. A mobile communications vehicle followed, along with two ambulances, a half dozen white vans carrying staffers, and two buses carrying national and local press, baggage and equipment. Bringing up the rear were a half dozen TV-network satellite trucks, more squad cars, and another phalanx of police motorcycles.

Overhead, two Denver Metro Police helicopters flanked the motorcade — one on the right, the other on the left — and led it by at least half a mile. All in all, the caravan lit up the night sky and made a terrible racket. But it was certainly impressive, and intimidating, for anyone who cared to watch.

A local Fox reporter estimated that more than three thousand Coloradoans had just packed a DIA hangar and tarmac to see their former governor — now President of the United States — come home for Thanksgiving, his last stop on a multistate "victory tour" after the midterm elections. Some stood in the crosswinds for more than six hours. They'd held American flags and hand-painted signs and sipped Thermoses of hot chocolate. They'd waited patiently to clear through incredibly tight security and get a good spot to see the president step off Air Force One, flash his warm, trademark smile, and deliver one simple, Reaganesque sound bite: "You ain't seen nothin' yet."

The crowd absolutely thundered with approval. They'd seen his televised Thanksgiving Week address to the nation from the Oval Office. They knew the daunting task he'd faced stepping in after Bush. And they knew the score.

America's economy was stronger than ever. Housing sales were at a record high. Small businesses were being launched at a healthy clip. Unemployment was dropping fast. The Dow and NASDAQ were reaching new heights. Homeland security had been firmly reestablished. The long war on terrorism had been an unqualified success. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban had been obliterated. Osama bin Laden had finally been found — dead, not alive.

Forty-three terrorist training camps throughout the Middle East and North Africa had been destroyed by the U.S. Delta Force and British SAS commandos. Not a single domestic hijacking had occurred in the past several years — not since a U.S. Air Marshal put three bullets in the heart of a Sudanese man who single-handedly tried to take over a U.S. Airways shuttle from Washington Dulles to New York. And thousands of cell members and associates of various terrorist groups and factions had been arrested, convicted and imprisoned in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Overseas, however, the news wasn't quite as good. The global economy still struggled. Car bombs and assassinations continued to occur sporadically throughout Europe and Asia as remaining terrorist networks — unable to penetrate the U.S. — tried to find new ways to lash out against the allies of the "Great Satan." One newspaper editorial said the U.S. seemed to be playing "terrorist whack-a-mole," crushing the heads of some cells at home only to see others pop up around the world. This was true. Many Americans still felt unsafe traveling overseas and global trade, though improving, remained somewhat sluggish. But at least within the U.S. there was now a restored sense of economic optimism and national security. Domestically, at least, recessions were a thing of the past and terrorism seemed to have been quashed. Presidential promises made were promises kept. And the sense of relief was palpable.

As a result, the president's job approval ratings now stood steady at a remarkable 71 percent. At this rate he'd win reelection in a landslide, probably pick up even more House seats and very likely a solid Senate majority as well.

Then the challenge would be to move to the next level, to bolster the U.S. and international economies with his sweeping new tax cut and simplification plan. Could he really get a single-rate, 17 percent flat tax through Congress? That remained to be seen. But he could probably get the country back just to low tax rates, say 10 percent and 20 percent. And that might be good enough. Especially if he abolished the capital gains tax and allowed immediate write-offs for investment in new plants, buildings, equipment, high-tech hardware and computer software, instead of long, complicated, Jurassic Parkera depreciation schedules.

But all that was a headache for another day. For now, it was time for the president to head to the Brown Palace Hotel in downtown Denver and get some rest. Wednesday night he'd attend a Thanksgiving-eve party and raise $4.2 million for the RNC, then join his family already up at their palatial lodge, nestled on the slope of the Rockies in Beaver Creek, for a cozy, intimate weekend of skiing and turkey and chess. He could smell the fireplace and taste the sweet potatoes and marshmallows even now.

The motorcade cleared the airport grounds at 12:14 A.M. Wednesday morning.

Special Agent Charlie McKittrick of the U.S. Secret Service put down his high-powered night-vision binoculars and looked north, scanning the night sky from high atop the DIA control tower. In the distance, he could see the lights of the Gulfstream IV, a private jet chartered by some oil company executives that was now the first aircraft in the holding pattern and waiting to land. Whenever the president, vice president, or other world leader flies into an airport, all other aircraft are prevented from landing or taking off, and the agency tasked with maintaining complete security puts an agent in the tower to keep control of the airspace over and around the protectee. In this case, until "Gambit" — the code name assigned to the president — was secure at the Brown Palace, McKittrick would maintain his vigil in the tower and work with the local air traffic controllers.

The holding pattern was now approaching five hours in length, and McKittrick had heard the G4 pilots repeat four times that they were running low on fuel. He hardly wanted to be responsible for a screwup. It wasn't his fault the flight crew hadn't topped their tanks in Chicago rather than flying straight from Toronto. But it would certainly be his fault if something went wrong now. He glanced down at the radar screen beside him and saw thirteen other flights behind the Gulfstream. They were a potpourri of private and commercial aircraft whose pilots undoubtedly couldn't care less about the White House "victory lap" or the Secret Service. They just wanted their landing instructions and a good night's rest.

"All right, open 17R," McKittrick told the senior air traffic controller, his voice suggesting an unhealthy combination of fatigue and fatalism. "Let's get the G4 down and go from there."

He cracked his knuckles, rubbed his neck, and swallowed the last of his umpteenth cup of coffee.

"TRACON, this is Tower, over," the senior controller immediately barked into his headset. Exhausted, he just wanted to get these planes on the ground, go home, and call in sick the next day. He desperately needed a vacation, and he needed it now.

Linked by state-of-the-art fiber optics to the FAA's Terminal Radar Approach Control facility three miles south of the airport, the reply came instantaneously.

"Tower, this is TRACON, over."

"TRACON, we're bringing in the Gulfstream on 17 Romeo. Put all other aircraft on notice. It won't be long now. Over."

"Roger that and hallelujah, Tower. Over."

The senior controller immediately switched frequencies to one-three-three-point-three-zero, and began putting the Gulfstream into an immediate landing pattern. Then he grabbed the last slice of cold pepperoni-and-sausage pizza from the box behind McKittrick and stuffed half of it in his mouth.

"Tower, this is Foxtrot Delta Lima, Niner Four Niner, on approach for 17 Romeo," said the Gulfstream. "We are going to increase speed and get on the ground as quickly as possible. Roger that?"

His mouth full, the senior controller thrust his finger at a junior controller by the window, who immediately jumped into action, used to finishing his bosses' sentences. The young man grabbed a headset, and patched himself in.

"Roger that, Foxtrot. You're cleared for landing. Bring her down."

Special Agent McKittrick didn't want to be there any more than these guys wanted him to be. But they'd better get used to it — all of them. If Gambit won his reelection campaign, he might as well open up his own bed-and-breakfast.

On board the Gulfstream, the pilot focused on the white strobe lights guiding him in, and the green lamps imbedded down both sides of the runway.

He didn't have to worry about any other planes around him, because there weren't any. He didn't have to worry about any planes taxiing on the ground, because they were still in the Secret Service's holding pattern. He increased speed, lowered the landing gear, and tilted the nose down, taking the plane down from ten thousand feet to just a few hundred feet in a matter of moments.

A few minutes more and the long night would be over.

Marcus Jackson munched on peanut M&M's and tapped away quietly on his Sony Vaio notebook computer as the motorcade sped along at well over seventy miles an hour.

As the New York Times White House correspondent, Jackson was permanently assigned Seat #1 on Press Bus #1. That put him just over the right shoulder of the driver, able to see and hear everything. But having awoken at 4:45 A.M. for baggage call in Miami — and having visited twelve states in the past four days on the president's "Thanksgiving Tour" — Jackson couldn't care less what could be seen or heard from his "coveted" seat. All he wanted to do now was get to the hotel and shut down for the night.

Behind Jackson sat two dozen veteran newspaper and magazine reporters, TV correspondents, network news producers, and "big foot" columnists — the big, brand-name pundits who not only wrote their political analyses for the Times and the Post and the Journal but also loved to engage each other on Hannity & Colmes and Hardball, O'Reilly and King, Crossfire and Capital Gang. All of them had wanted to see the president's victory lap up close and personal. Now all of them wanted it to be over so they, too, could get home for Thanksgiving.

Some dozed off. Some updated their Palm Pilots. Others talked on cell phones with their editors or their spouses. A junior press aide offered them sandwiches, snacks, and fresh, hot coffee from Starbucks. This was the "A" team, everyone from ABC News and the Associated Press to the Washington Post and the Washington Times. Together, what the journalists on this bus alone wrote and spoke could be read, watched, or listened to by upwards of fifty million Americans by nine A.M. So they were handled with care by a White House press operation that wanted to make sure the "A" team didn't add to their generally ingrained bias against conservative Republicans by also being hungry, cold, or in any other way uncomfortable. Sleep was something national political reporters learned to do without. Starbucks wasn't.

A former Army Times correspondent who covered the Gulf War, then moved back to his hometown to work for the Denver Post, Jackson had joined the New York Times less than ten days before Gambit announced his campaign for the GOP nomination. What a roller coaster since then, and he was getting tired. Maybe he needed a new assignment. Did the Times have a bureau in Bermuda? Maybe he should open one. Just get through today, Jackson thought to himself. There'll be plenty of time for vacation soon enough. He glanced up to ask a question about the president's weekend schedule.

Across the aisle and leaning against the window sat Chuck Murray, the White House press secretary. Jackson noticed that for the first time since he'd met Murray a dozen years ago, "Answer Man" actually looked peaceful. His tie was off. His eyes were closed. His hands were folded gently across his chest, holding his walkie-talkie with a tiny black wire running up to an earpiece in his right ear. This allowed him to hear any critical internal communications without being overheard by the reporters on the bus. On the empty seat beside Murray lay a fresh yellow legal pad. No "to do" list. No phone calls to return. Nothing. This little PR campaign was just about over. Do or die, there was nothing else Murray or his press team could do to get the president's approval ratings higher than they already were, and he knew it. So he relaxed. Jackson made a mental note: This guy's good. Let him rest.

Special Agent McKittrick was tired.

He walked over to the Mr. Coffee machine near the western windows of the control tower, out of everyone's way, itching to head home. He ripped open a tiny packet of creamer and sprinkled it into his latest cup. Then two packets of sugar, a little red stirrer, and voilà — a new man. Hardly. He took a sip — ouch, too hot — then turned back to the rest of the group.

For an instant, McKittrick's brain didn't register what his eyes were seeing. The Gulfstream was coming in too fast, too high. Of course it was in a hurry to get on the ground. But get it right, for crying out loud. McKittrick knew each DIA runway was twelve thousand feet long. From his younger days as a Navy pilot, he figured the G4 needed only about three thousand feet to make a safe landing. But at this rate, the idiots were actually going to miss — or crash. No, that wasn't it. The landing gear was going back up. The plane was actually increasing its speed and pulling up.

"What the hell is going on, Foxtrot?" shouted the senior controller into his headset.

When McKittrick saw the Gulfstream bank right towards the mountains, he knew.

"Avalanche. Avalanche," McKittrick shouted into his secure digital cell phone.

Marcus Jackson saw the bus driver's head snap to attention.

A split second later, Chuck Murray bolted upright in his seat. His face was ashen.

"What it is?" asked Jackson.

Murray didn't respond. He seemed momentarily paralyzed. Jackson turned to the front windshield and saw the two ambulances and the mobile communications van pulling off on either side of the road. Their own bus began slowing and moving to the right shoulder. Up ahead, the rest of the motorcade began rapidly pulling away from them. Though he couldn't see the limousines, he could see the Secret Service Suburbans now moving at what he guessed had to be at least a hundred miles an hour, maybe more.


Excerpted from The Last Jihad by Joel C. Rosenberg. Copyright © 2002 Joel C. Rosenberg. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Joel C. Rosenberg is the New York Times best-selling author of The Last Jihad, The Last Days, The Ezekiel Option, The Copper Scroll, and Epicenter, with 1.5 million copies in print. A communications strategist based in Washington, D.C., he has worked with some of the world’s most influential and provocative leaders, including Steve Forbes, Rush Limbaugh, former Israeli deputy prime minister Natan Sharansky, and former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Once a political columnist for World magazine, he now writes commentaries for National Review as well as a weekly e-mail update known as “Flash Traffic” for business and political leaders. A front-page Sunday New York Times profile called him a “force in the capital.” He has also been profiled by the Washington Times and the Jerusalem Post and has been interviewed on ABC’s Nightline, CNN Headline News, FOX News Channel, The History Channel, MSNBC, The Rush Limbaugh Show, and The Sean Hannity Show.

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The Last Jihad 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 128 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally, a suspense driven political thriller that doesn't have the done to death cold war Russia or WW2 Nazis as the enemy. We have a new evil in the world that resides in the Middle East. And this book is bone chilling because despite it's fiction, it is right on with the real world of Today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This and his other books are all edge of your seat reading roller coaster of emotions and thrills. In one week I must have read 100 chapters (out of three books). Can't wait to read the "left behind" book once it comes out to e-book. Just hard to put the book down. OK, NOT everything is happening the way history is unfolding but it's still spell binding. I'm also learning new words as I go along. Occassionally the author uses a word I'm not familiar with. The NOOK is great b/c you can quickly look it up and make a note. Later you can go over these notes and summarize the new words you've learned. GREAT GOING JOEL!... Also, ANOTHER great thing about this book and the author is simply safe reading. No foul language.
Lynnusa2000 More than 1 year ago
First off, I love this author. Each book in his series is fast moving and makes you evaluate what you believe in life! You will want to read it in as few sittings as possible because it just MOVES from event to event. The plot is complex, and the characters are strong!
joyousIA More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, I devoured all five in this series and two of his newest books! Page turning, political thrillers that are both relevant and inspirational. I did not want to put this down. I can not say enough about this and the following riveting novels, with enough truth and current significance to make you want to pay much more attention to international politics!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Has you entrapped in the story from the beginning. Full of surprises and leaves you wanting the next book asap!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very exciting book. I was not expecting so much drama. I actually felt sad to put it down when I had to do other things on my vacation and I am not usually that emotional about books.Characters are very well developed, you feel as if you know them, that you can feel what they are feeling. Historical background is pretty accurate, the author must have spent much time in research to write this book. I have recommended this to as many people as I could- aren't we all looking for a good book to read?
Anonymous 7 months ago
This was an exciting and suspenseful read!
CatWise More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down! I wasn't sure I'd be into it but before I was even a chapter in, I was hooked! The Last Jihad was exciting, relevant, and entirely unpredictable and I highly recommend it as excellent fiction!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The plot and characters was ok. The banter between characters was difficult for me to accept. If looking for an easy book to read this is probably ok.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keep your religous comments to yourself!!On the other hand this is a excellent book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr. Rosenberg has a political agenda which drives the plot and this book should also be categorized as Christian Lit. I feel cheated.
duffer09 More than 1 year ago
Page turner. Terrific plot right from the opening paragraph. Am now reading his second book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
His books are page turners. I am finishing the second book "Last days". This book that this review is for the first book. It ends with a cliff hanger..making you want to get#2. The 3rd is The Ezekial option..none of his books have disappointed me yet.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just not interested in the characters or story line. After reading over 100 pages a gave up
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am soooooooooo going to get it. My friend has it and looks amazing. He was reading the second book (THE LAST DAYS OR SOMETHING) and it was full of action. I know i will love this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago