The Libyan Diversion: A Conversation with Joel Rosenberg

Joel Rosenberg is back! After a year without a new Marcus Ryker novel, Rosenberg return with The Libyan Diversion. It’s Marcus Ryker’s fifth adventure and the third time we’ve had Joel on the podcast program. Listen in as we discuss the art of storytelling, the difficulties of writing political thrillers, and competing in the general market as a Christian author.

The Conversation | Joel Rosenberg

This interview excerpt has been edited for conciseness and clarity.

Josh Olds: Can you give us your elevator pitch for this novel? Or for the series in general?

Joel Rosenberg: Marcus Ryker is my new hero. I haven’t done what a lot of franchise best-selling thriller writers have done, which is create a franchise character and just run the table with it as it were. Lee Child has got Jack Reacher and I don’t know dozens of books. You know, Ian Fleming with James Bond and you know, so forth. But this is the fifth—as you mentioned—of this series with Marcus and I haven’t made a decision. Am I going to kill him off? Am I going to retire him? Am I going to you know, put him in a home you know, whatever. But I haven’t decided that yet.

The first in this series was several years ago which was The Kremlin Conspiracy and that’s where we meet Marcus. After 9/11, he signs up to be a Marine. He goes into combat, does multiple tours—decorated in combat in Afghanistan in Iraq—comes back to the States, marries his college sweetheart, and joins the United States Secret Service. By nature, Josh, Marcus is not an assassin, even though that is the classic thriller genre. But I decided to go counter to that one because the market was flooded with very interesting assassins. Marcus is not by definition, a hunter, he is a protector. Now he’s able and willing to kill, but his motivation isn’t to go hunt people. Primarily it’s to protect his country, its leaders, its secrets, so forth.

In The Libyan Diversion, Ryker has been appointed by the President of the United States to hunt for the worst terrorist on the planet, a guy that goes by the nom de guerre Abu Nakba, the father of catastrophe, and he’s the head of this terror organization we’ve been looking at. The title The Libyan Diversion suggests that Abu Nakba, the Libyan, will give some sort of diversion. Nakba essentially lures Marcus into thinking that he knows where Nakba is hiding and they cab take him out in a big airstrike. But it’s actually set up as a trap to make it look like Marcus has made a massive mistake.

The Book | The Libyan Diversion

The world’s most wanted terrorist is dead. Marcus Ryker recommended the drone strike himself. The intelligence was rock-solid. But what if it was wrong?

Abu Nakba―the man responsible for lethal attacks in Washington, D.C., London, and Jerusalem―is finally dead. Marcus Ryker has been tasked with hunting down and destroying what’s left of the terror group Kairos.

But before Ryker can mobilize his team of CIA operatives with their new assignment, a disturbing report from Libya suggests all may not be as it seems. The U.S. bombing that should have taken out Nakba’s headquarters now appears to have been a disastrous mistake―and Ryker himself may be responsible.

With Kairos gearing up for a major retaliatory strike against the U.S., time is short, and terror cells may already be inside American borders. But Ryker won’t be able to stop this threat until he clears his own name, and his closest ally inside the White House can no longer help him.

The Libyan diversion threatens to leave Ryker on the sidelines just when his country needs him most.

The Author | Joel Rosenberg

Joel C. Rosenberg is a New York Times bestselling author of 13 novels and five nonfiction books, with nearly 5 million copies sold.

He has been interviewed on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including ABC’s Nightline, CNN, CNN Headline News, C-SPAN, Fox News, MSNBC, The History Channel, The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Sean Hannity Show, and The Glenn Beck Show. His articles and columns have been published by National Review,,, the Jerusalem Post, World magazine, and the Washington Times, among others. He has been profiled by the New York Times, the Washington Times, and the Jerusalem Post.

Joel has spoken to audiences and met with religious and government leaders all across the U.S. and Canada and around the world, including Israel, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the UAE, Turkey, Afghanistan, Russia, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, India, South Korea, and the Philippines. He has also addressed audiences at the White House and the Pentagon, addressed members of Congress on Capitol Hill, members of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, and a conference held at the European Union Parliament in Brussels.

He is the founder and chairman of The Joshua Fund (, a nonprofit educational and charitable organization he and his wife launched in 2006 to mobilize Christians to “bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, according to Genesis 12:1-3.”