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It was only one of the many oddities in the "human rights" trial of Mark Steyn that included in the accusations against him for Islamophobia was the mere plot synopsis of the first book in this trilogy that accompanied his review in Maclean's. What made it so odd is that Mr. Ferrigno's trilogy, and Mr. Steyn's appreciation thereof, proceeds from an insight that would seem quite flattering to Islam, that Americans would find the orderly and puritan way of life it offers to be preferable to sinking into the moral cesspit of secular modernism.

Indeed, one of the reasons that the books work so well is because it is thoroughly plausible that Islam would succeed in America, given the right circumstances. Mr. Ferrigno's daring is to recognize that Islam is compatible with Americanism. This also kept the books from being dystopian and made it somewhat tragic that the America of the future had divided into rival Islamic States and Bible Belt. A goodly portion of the appeal of the eponymous assassin, Rakkim Epps, is that he's dissatisfied with the former and comfortable in the latter, seeing the good and the bad in both Americas.

SPOILER ALERT: This set-up pays tremendous dividends in the finale to the series as Mr. Ferrigno authors a scene that, though obviously fictional, plays on our patriotism and tugs at our heartstrings. I confess, I was nearly--and quite unexpectedly--moved to tears. With the Belt losing a war to the Aztlan Empire (the former Mexico), President Brandt of the Islamic states makes a televised address in which he refers to citizens of the Belt and the Republic as "my fellow countrymen," quotes Abram Lincoln, "if we don't hang together, we'll hang separately," and vows:

I say to you now, my fellow Americans, your war with Aztlan is our war too.

I say to Aztlan, both Belt and the Republic stand united. Do not suppose for an instant that our religious differences will divide Muslims and Christians forever. We share a belief in one God, with a common line of saints and prophets. There's room in Paradise for all of us.
the promise inherent in this trilogy was a moment like that and the author has realized it brilliantly.


Grade: (A+)


See also:

Robert Ferrigno (3 books reviewed)
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Robert Ferrigno Links:

    -AUTHOR SITE: Crime Pays: Author Robert Ferrigno
    -GOOGLE BOOK: Heart of the Assassin
    -BOOK SITE: Heart of the Assassin (Simon & Schuster)
    -Robert's Blog
    -BOOK SITE: Republic World News: Breaking News for the Islamic States of America
    -ESSAY: Missing Rush Limbaugh: A look ahead (Robert Ferrigno, 4/16/08, National Review)
    -ESSAY: Step 1: Write book; Step 2: Suffer (Robert Ferrigno, April 3, 2005, DC Examiner)
    -INTERVIEW: One nation, under Allah: an interview with Robert Ferrigno: Orrin Judd interviews Robert Ferrigno, author of Prayers for the Assassin, a novel about the near future which posits a world where much of the United States has become an Islamic state (Orrin C. Judd, 3/20/06, Enter Stage Right)
    -PROFILE: The Islamic States of America (Henry Schuster, February 22, 2006, CNN)
    -INTERVIEW: Your Wake-Up Call: Read Ferrigno (Q&A by John J. Miller, 8/03/04, National Review)
    -INTERVIEW: Robert Ferrigno interview (Bob Cornwell, Tangled Web)
    -INTERVIEW: A Conversation With Robert Ferrigno (Interview by Pantheon Staff)
    -INTERVIEW: Local author's latest thriller pits Samaritan against L.A.'s dark side (Adam Woog, 1/21/03, The Seattle Times)
    -PROFILE: Introducing Robert Ferrigno: Richard Shephard investigates the novels of crime writer Robert Ferrigno (Richard Shepard,
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: Robert Ferrigno (Eye on Books)
    -INTERVIEW: Robert Ferrigno (Mystery Ink, 10/19/01)
    -INTERVIEW: The Thrill is On: with Robert Ferrigno (J. Kingston Pierce, July 1999, January Magazine)
    -PROFILE: Eastside writer shows he's a player in the twisted world of tales noir (JOHN MARSHALL, June 24, 1999, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER)
    -ESSAY: Ferrigno of Nonsense (Bartholomew's notes on religion)
    -ARCHIVES "robert ferrigno" (Find Articles)
    Assassin's Trilogy: Life and death in the Islamic Republic of America (Joel Schwartz, May 26, 2008, Weekly Standard)
    Just to be clear, folks, it's a novel: There's an emerging sub-genre of Islamotopian fiction, and it's not my fault (MARK STEYN | May 28, 2008, Maclean's)
    -REVIEW: of Prayers for the Assassin by Robert Ferrigno (JANET MASLIN, 2/16/06, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of Prayers for the Assassin (Mark Steyn, Maclean's)
    -REVIEW: of Prayers for the Assassin (David J. Montgomery, Philadelphia Inquirer)
    -REVIEW: of Prayers for the Assassin (BRUCE TIERNEY, Book Page)
    -REVIEW: of Prayers for the Assassin (Chris Cronin, American Dissent Radio)
    -REVIEW: of Prayers for the Assassin (Adam Woog, The Seattle Times)
    -REVIEW: of Prayers for the Assassin (David Schraub, The Debate Link)
    -REVIEW: of Prayers for the Assassin (James Flint, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of Prayers for the Assassin (John J. Miller, National Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Horse Latitudes by Robert Ferrigno (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Horse Latitudes (CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of The Horse Latitudes (Margaret Carlson, TIME)
    -REVIEW: of The Cheshire Moon by Robert Ferrigno (Michael Anderson, NY Times Review of Books)
    -REVIEW: of The Cheshire Moon (CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of Dead Man's Dance by Robert Ferrigno (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Dead Man's Dance (Mary A. Kane, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
    -REVIEW: of Dead Silent by Robert Ferrigno (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Heartbreaker by Robert Ferrigno (Scott Veale, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Heartbreaker (CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of Heartbreaker (Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon)
    -REVIEW: of Flinch by Robert Ferrigno (David J. Montgomery, Mystery Ink)
    -REVIEW: of Flinch (Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter)
    -REVIEW: of Flinch (Chris Petit, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of Scavenger Hunt (J. Kingston Pierce, Seattle Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of Scavenger Hunt by Robert Ferrigno (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Scavenger Hunt (J. Kingston Pierce, January Magazine)
    -REVIEW: of Scavenger Hunt (Chris Petit, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of The Wake-Up by Robert Ferrigno (Bob Cornwell, Tangled Web)
    -REVIEW: of The Wake-Up (Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter)
    -REVIEW: of The Wake-Up (davidthayer, Collected Miscellany)
    -REVIEW: of The Wake-Up (Carlo Wolff, Chicago Sun-Times)
    -REVIEW: of The Wake-Up (BRUCE TIERNEY, Book Page)
    -REVIEW: of The Wake-Up (KEN WHITE, Las Vegas REVIEW-JOURNAL) -REVIEW: of Heart of the Assassin: Orwell’s Grandchildren (David Forsmark, 9/14/09,
    -REVIEW: of Heart of the Assassin by Robert Ferrigno (Mark Steyn, Macleans)
    -REVIEW: of Heart of the Assassin (Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times)
    -REVIEW: of Heart of the Assassin (Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter)
    -REVIEW: of Heart of the Assassin (David Forsmark, FrontPage)
    -REVIEW: of Heart of the Assassin (Fionnchú, Blogtrotter)
    -REVIEW: of Heart of the Assassin (David J. Montgomery, Daily Beast)
    -REVIEW: of Heart of the Assassin Publishers Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of Heart of the Assassin (Jagmohan Singh Khurmi , Islam Watch)

Book-related and General Links: