Prayers for the Assassin (Abridged)
In this “provocative and compelling” (The Seattle Times) thriller set in the future, Islamic and Christian forces battle for the fate of the United States as a young historian discovers the shocking truth about the devastating nuclear attacks that plunged the world into chaos.
2040: New York and Washington, DC are nuclear wastelands. Chicago is the site of a civil war battle. Countless other cities are simply abandoned.
After simultaneous nuke attacks had destroyed several major cities, Israel had been blamed, resulting in a devastating second civil war in the United States. An uneasy truce leaves the nation divided between an Islamic republic with its capital in Seattle and the Christian Bible Belt in the old South. Everything is controlled by the state, paranoia rules, and rebels plot to regain free will.
One of the most courageous is the young historian Sarah Dougan, who uncovers evidence that the nuclear attacks might not have been planned by Israel. If this information is true, it will destabilize the nation. But when Sarah suddenly goes missing, the security chief of the Islamic republic calls upon Rakkim Epps, her lover and a former elite warrior, to find her—no matter the risk.
But as Rakkim searches for Sarah, he is tracked by Darwin, a brilliant psychopathic killer trained in the same secretive unit as Rakkim. To survive, Rakkim must become Darwin’s assassin in a bloody, nerve-racking chase that takes them through the looking-glass world of the Islamic States of America, and culminates dramatically as Rakkim and Sarah battle to expose the truth to the entire world.
“Sharp and wildly entertaining cover to cover” (Chicago Sun-Times), Prayers for the Assassin is an unputdownable political thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.
A real 3.5 out of 5 stars, at best
This book is very well constructed. The architecture of the world of 2040 as envisioned by Mr. Ferrigno is intricate and engrossing. I don't mean to imply the book is formulaic, but some of Mr. Ferrigno's dialogue, character development and reliance on coincidence reads like a first-time novelist (yet I find that he has been publishing novels since at least 1995). Specifically the escapades of a street urchin named Cameron and his hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold friends vis-a-vis the central characters smack of a Victorian serial novel. The concept of a civil war and a holy war in the United States breaking out and the implications that follow may be interesting, but it is precisely these specifics that remove the story from being among a breed of high-minded and universal dystopias (Brave New World, Animal Farm, 1984, Fahrenheit 451). The best way I can describe the story and methodology of this book is to say it is a professional writer's stab at dystopian literature, without changing the narrative devices from those of an ordinary paperback intrigue novel. Yet iTunes has had this book on the feature shelf for weeks. Go figure. It must be beach season again.