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The Promised War    by Thomas Greanias order for
Promised War
by Thomas Greanias
Order:  USA  Can
Atria, 2010 (2010)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Promised War by Thomas Greanias, opens on larger than life characters and action in Jerusalem, and continues in the same vein. Its driven hero, Israeli counterterrorism agent Sam Deker (a secular American Jew and ex-Marine recruited by the Shin Bet), is haunted by guilt over his own role in the bombing death of his lover, Rachel.

As the story opens, Deker is infiltrating Temple Mount ('the most contested religious site in the world'), in an exercise intended to demonstrate its vulnerability to terrorist attack. Though he succeeds, Deker is subsequently captured and tortured by Jordanian intelligence, alongside his fanatical superior, Colonel Uri Elezar. They are told that Temple Mount is about to be destroyed and that they will be blamed for acting on behalf of Jewish extremists, thus opening the door for a Palestinian takeover of Jerusalem.

His captors seek information from Deker and have inserted a shunt in his skull, attached to some sort of fiber optic cable - what is it doing to him? After he escapes, along with Elezar, they find themselves over three thousand years in Israel's past. Captured again by General Bin-Nun, they find themselves participants in the historic siege of Jericho. To save their lives, Elezar claims that they are angels. But Deker wonders whether they have really traveled in time or are 'suffering from some torture-induced psychosis.' Readers wonder too.

The General declares a holy war and sends the duo into Jericho as spies - with orders to determine how to blow up its walls with the explosives Deker carried on him. In the city they find refuge in a brothel. There, Deker meets the lovely Rahab, priestess of Molech, who looks like Rachel and informs him she has been waiting for him her entire life. Elezar tells Deker that 'the book of Matthew lists Rahab as part of the human lineage of Jesus'. He believes her death will mean 'No Christianity, no Crusades, no Nazis, no Holocaust.'

What follows is a struggle between Deker and Elezar, as Deker attempts to bring down Jericho's walls and to save Rahab. In the process, he discovers what really happened to Rachel. When he awakens in a modern day hospital, he is left to wonder whether he did really save the Promised Land. If you can suspend disbelief and enjoy a high speed, action- and violence-packed thriller, then you'll speed read The Promised War.

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