Book Title: The Ezekiel Option
Author: Joel C. Rosenberg
Date Published: 2006
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Genre: 1. Mystery
2. Political
3. Mystery & Suspence
ISBN: 13: 978-1414303437
Reviewer: Stephen Katz

The Ezekiel Option ought to have the following warning across its cover: ONCE YOU START THIS BOOK YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO PUT IT DOWN. It’s that engaging. This page-turning political thriller gave me the same adrenaline rush as watching the Die Hard movies or the television blockbuster 24. Joel Rosenberg, whose writing has been compared to Tom Clancy’s, has spun a tale that weaves together non-stop action, a love story and the mysteries of ancient biblical manuscripts.

An intricately planned coup has left Russia in the hands of radical nationalists who want to resurrect a powerful Mother Russia. With his sights set south, Yuri Gogolov, the new Russian leader, eyes Israel and the newly discovered oil resources that have become the basis for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. With the cunning of a serpent, Gogolov addresses the United Nations. Only one country in the Middle East is known to actually possess nuclear warheads—the state of Israel.…Which begs the question: if the United States was able to persuade this body that Saddam Hussein was a threat worthy of international action, how can we allow a double standard for Israel?” In stunned silence the delegates listen to the ultimatum he issues Israel: allow nuclear inspectors into their power plant in Dimona and destroy any weapons of mass destruction or face the consequences.

The plot deepens as Jon Bennett, senior advisor to the United States President and his “point man for peace” in the Middle East, goes to Israel to meet with the Prime Minister to coordinate a response. He also meets with his old friend, Eli Mordechai, former head of Mossad, Israel’s equivalent to the CIA. Mordechai is one of those enigmatic, sage-like characters—a modern Yoda with an Israeli accent. He begins to unfold for Bennett nothing less than what he believes to be a fulfillment of 2500-year-old predictions written by the biblical prophet Ezekiel.

Rosenberg has extensive political experience in Washington, D.C., and his research for this book took him to Russia, Turkey and of course Israel, where he met with Israeli political leaders including Benjamin Netanyahu and Natan Sharansky. The Ezekiel Option blends fact and fiction so well, you wonder if the scenario he paints might just one day take place as described. After all, this guy seems to have a knack for figuring out events before they take place—something he did in his two earlier books, The Last Jihad and The Last Days, both bestsellers. The former begins with a suicide terrorist attack on the United States (written nine months before 9/11). The latter begins with the death of Yasser Arafat, though it was published 13 months prior to that event!

Some may complain that this latest book is too “Christian,” that it’s got just a little too much religion for their liking. But interest in novels that weave in Bible prophecy is growing. Rosenberg’s Jewish heritage is an important aspect of his identity but he isn’t afraid to express his Messianic faith or to let gentile Christian characters voice their faith using the language of the church. Whatever you might say, you have to give him credit for taking the Bible seriously and trying to make sense of what it says.

Overall, I found the book a quick read and a lot of fun. However, the ending is a bit abrupt. After reading four hundred pages it’s not fully satisfying to get only a four-page resolution of the tension that Rosenberg has built up. But the one-page epilogue is truly genius, and leaves you hanging, eagerly waiting for his next book. In the mean time, read this one. I highly recommend it.