Sunday, September 28, 2008

Won't the real Islam please stand up?

Brad Thor’s new novel, The Last Patriot, is a definite page turner.  The plot moves along quickly and well, dragging the reader from Paris to Washington to Boston, from city streets to book sellers to college campuses to Thomas Jefferson’s homes.  It’s a very hard book to put down, thanks to the plot.  However, where the plot stands strong, Thor’s character development is a little too spare, and his place description is, like Hemmingway’s, less descriptive than I would have liked.

Let’s start with the plot: frankly, I’d be surprised if it hadn’t gotten Thor a lot of death threats from the Islamofacists.  The main point of the plot is that, just before he died (was murdered), Mohammed had a startling last revelation that completely negated the previous revelation that militant Islam was based upon.  This last revelation was why Mohammed was murdered by his closest followers: they were trying to suppress it.  They failed.  This book’s plot traces the footprints of the revelation through time, through scholars, and through previous presidents’ run-ins with militant Islam.  Though the secret is never revealed to the reader, the reader is alerted that it would give the peaceful moderate Muslims a very large broom with which to clean house of the rabid radicals. 

Thor’s plot, as I said, was terrific.  I couldn’t put the book down easily.  Thank goodness the chapters were short.

That said, his characterization and scene setting left a little to be desired.  Granted, this is not the first book in that particular series.  He may have done his character set up in earlier books.  However.  Most of the writers I read do keep in mind that not all of their books’ readers come in at the beginning of the series, and they do enough character work to compensate.  If Thor develops his characters at all, he doesn’t do much with character development in this book.  It wasn’t the characters that kept me turning pages, but the desire to see the rabid, radical, militant Islamofacists get theirs. 

Thor’s scene setting wasn’t much better.  I’ve never been to Paris.  Or Washington, D.C.  Or any of the other places that he tells us the trail of the mystery goes.  He never describes place. 

Correction: he minimally described the main character’s home, in that it’s a very old church, converted first to a military installation, and then to a paranoid survivalist’s dream home, with subterranean rooms and passages hidden behind and beneath the church’s altar.

He does, however, describe weapons.  His descriptions of the guns and their capabilities had me drooling.

All in all, I’d have to say Thor’s The Last Patriot is definitely worth a read.  Despite its weaknesses, it’s a fun romp through a dangerous world.  It certainly gives the reader their money’s worth on the violence, and on the social, moral, political, and religious themes.  It will really appeal to anyone who truly realizes what a clear and present danger militant Islam is to the rest of the world.


  1. For a really interesting view of the middle east I recomend reading "Bagdad Without a Map". It is written by a American Jew traveling with his journalist wife. Humor abounds, believe me!

    The Sibling

  2. *Not Without My Daughter* is also a very good one, and also has a pretty happy ending. I used to have that one. The other really good views are those of the soldiers coming back published in *Soldier of Fortune.*