The First Hostage – Joel Rosenberg

The First Hostage Joel Rosenberg
The First Hostage by Joel C. Rosenberg
Also by this author: The Beirut Protocol, Enemies and Allies: An Unforgettable Journey Inside the Fast-Moving & Immensely Turbulent Modern Middle East
Series: A JB Collins Novel #2
Published by Tyndale on December 29, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense, Thriller
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“The president of the United States . . . is missing.”
With these words, New York Times journalist J. B. Collins, reporting from the scene of a devastating attack by ISIS terrorists in Amman, Jordan, puts the entire world on high alert. The leaders of Israel and Palestine are critically injured, Jordan’s king is fighting for his life, and the U.S. president is missing and presumed captured.
As the U.S. government faces a constitutional crisis and Jordan battles for its very existence, Collins must do his best to keep the world informed while working to convince the FBI that his stories are not responsible for the terror attack on the Jordanian capital. And ISIS still has chemical weapons . . .
Struggling to clear his name, Collins and the Secret Service try frantically to locate and rescue the leader of the free world before ISIS’s threats become a catastrophic reality.

J.B. Collins is in greater danger than ever before…and that’s saying something. ISIS has attacked the Israeli-Palestinian peace summit in Jordan and thousands are dead or injured, including many important political leaders. And worst of all, the President of the United States is missing.

That’s really just the beginning. Collins escapes the carnage with the King of Jordan, who seems to have taken an affinity to him while still be distrustful of him as a journalist and a Westerner. Collins is thrust into the story of a lifetime but forbidden to tell it. Perhaps years from now in a book, the king warns at one point. It’s clear that Collins’ position is one allowed out of desperation, not because it’s anyone’s preference.

Continuing the story of The Third Target, Joel Rosenberg continues to be almost prescient in his fictional works. For those unfamiliar with the series, The Third Target references ISIS as a formidable terrorist organization before we dumblings in the U.S. even knew the name. Tyndale House even expedited the release of the first book because ISIS was exploding, quite literally, on to the scene.

The First Hostage picks up right where The Third Target left off…with everyone in danger and ISIS gaining the upper hand. There’s no getting acclimated to the storyline. Rosenberg punches you in the mouth with a hard-hitting storyline that won’t relent until the final page. And one could debate whether or not it even lets up then.

Rosenberg has become known for his true-to-life writing style. The back cover of this book even contains an endorsement from a former Delta Force commander. Anytime you have Lieutenant Generals saying you write a compelling military thriller, well, you’ve succeeded as an author.

I read The First Hostage last week and, just yesterday, when an acquaintance was waxing political and talking about ISIS, I came very close to mentioning their chemical weapon stockpile in….and that’s when I remembered I knew that from a fictional book, not a news source. That’s how real Rosenberg’s plot seems.

I also appreciate the reference and explanation to ISIS’s philosophical background and theological end goals, but in a way that seems less obtuse and preachy than his Last Imam series. As a Christian novel coming from a Christian publisher, Rosenberg does also deal with Collins’ struggle with Christianity and how religion is playing a role in all the political intrigue.

The First Hostage is a must-read. Call it fiction if you want, but with Rosenberg’s track record, it’s more in the realm of “potential scenario with artistic license.”