The First Hostage, by Joel C. Rosenberg

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

“The president of the United States . . . is missing.”

With these words, New York Times journalist J. B. Collins, reporting from the scene of a devastating attack by ISIS terrorists in Amman, Jordan, puts the entire world on high alert. The leaders of Israel and Palestine are critically injured, Jordan’s king is fighting for his life, and the U.S. president is missing and presumed captured.

As the U.S. government faces a constitutional crisis and Jordan battles for its very existence, Collins must do his best to keep the world informed while working to convince the FBI that his stories are not responsible for the terror attack on the Jordanian capital. And ISIS still has chemical weapons . . .

Struggling to clear his name, Collins and the Secret Service try frantically to locate and rescue the leader of the free world before ISIS’s threats become a catastrophic reality.

Read on for an excerpt from The First Hostage, and also for my thoughts on the book.

My Take:

First of all, if you’ve not read The Third Target I suggest you grab a copy before starting on this novel. My local library has it and I’m sure other libraries will as well. There’s a repeat of its final pages at the start of The First Hostage, but it isn’t enough to give you enough knowledge to appreciate the second book in Joel C Rosenberg’s current series. There’s no easing into The First Hostage: it picks up where the first book ends. The only recap the reader gets is in the form of a piece J.B. dictates to his editor.

Make sure you set aside some time for this novel. Like other books by Rosenberg, it’s one where the action barely stops. It sucks you in so you won’t be able to stop reading. There are momentary pauses since J.B. needs to rest on occasion. But these are times for him to catch his breath and his thoughts. Thanks to the first person narrative, the reader experiences everything J.B. does. When he’s in the dark, the reader is as well. He receives additional knowledge via briefings from allied intelligence sources, and that’s when the reader gets that information. There are numerous twists and turns, some too breathtaking to immediately comprehend. My pulse was continuously hammering during the final battle.

Rosenberg’s novels usually include two particular elements. First, the main character inadvertently ends up on a spiritual journey. J.B.’s brother is a missionary based in Jordan, who’s on a personal mission to bring J.B. to God. At first, the journalist brushes off his brother’s words but they come to mean more and more each time he faces death. If J.B. dies, is he ready to meet Him face to face? Secondly, Rosenberg’s fiction is extremely prescient in terms of present and future events. He’s studied Biblical and secular works and has advised notable public figures. He applies what he learns in crafting his plots. What he’s written about ISIS should make everyone sit up and take notice.

Thank you to Tyndale for my complimentary copy of The First Hostage, which I received in exchange for my honest review.


Have you read The First Hostage? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Publication Date: 29 December 2015

Page Count: 448

Read more on:   Joel C. Rosenberg’s Website   Tyndale’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million

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