The Mirage


THE BOOK
is a parallel universe in which Baghdad, home of the world trade center and paragon of democracy, falls victim to plane-crashing Christian terrorists in a delightfully perverse retelling of the 9/11/2001 incident. The sample, after some set up, follows Arab FBI agents working to take down a Christian terror cell. It is written by Matt Ruff.
WHY I PICKED IT UP
I read a blurb in a magazine and thought it could only be spectacular, whether in success or failure.
WHERE/WHY I STOPPED
I read to the end of the sample and this is one which I intend to buy, but probably from a used book store. The juxtaposition of familiar elements with the alter-Middle East provides a backdrop which makes a tale we all know more compelling. The book adds complexity by retaining some moral ambiguity; many Christian characters in the book are not terrorists, but are still under suspicion.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER, IF ANYTHING
The Wiki-style history sections, though useful methods of exposition, are a bit dry and stretch a bit long. I really don’t feel they’re needed as the premise really speaks for itself.

RECOMMENDATION: READ
The book’s role reversal gives us a fresh perspective on a lot of fiction which has been done to death. I am a BIG fan of alternate reality stories, so this premise intrigued me from the start. I’d also like to use this section to praise the author for referring to the Christian terrorists as ‘Crusaders’—I actually cracked a smile while reading!

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