19. Rakkim Epps (Robert Ferrigno)
We finish our series with easily the most unusual character in this series: a genetically enhanced Muslim superwarrior. Set in the year 2042, Rakkim Epps is a “Fedayeen” who directly reports to the President of the Islamic States of America.
During the 1990s and early part of the next decade, Robert Ferrigno was a critically acclaimed crime writer, whose noir influenced novels usually feature anti-heroes, ranging from pot dealers to tabloid reporters who had to confront real evil.
In the appropriately titled The Wake Up Ferrigno took a slightly different direction. In this book, published in 2004, the author tells the story of a burned out American counter-terror agent who helps a beautiful young woman with some nasty thugs (who have no idea who they are dealing with).
But it was his next book that really made a splash. In fact, it was so politically incorrect that giving it a rave review was included in the charges of Islamophobia brought against Mark Steyn before the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
In Ferrigno’s futuristic scenario, a decadent and spiritually moribund America is seduced by Islam’s “bright light and clear answer”, after being hit by nuclear terror attacks that have leveled New York and Washington, D.C. Of course, these attacks are falsely blamed on Israel.
At the 21st century’s mid-point, the Islamic States of America dominates the former U.S. territory. However, it’s not quite strong enough to conquer the Bible Belt, which roughly comprises the states of the old Confederacy.
It turns out that a considerable amount of pre-Islamic America’s spiritual and moral decline was due to not only the nuclear strike, but also to the machinations of a wahhabist Saudi zillionaire known as The Old One.
“It had been his money, filtered through numerous fronts, that had financed the think tanks and jihadi legal defense teams … all the useful idiots. It had been his money that had funded politicians and religious figures, compliant judges and radical journalists, billions of dollars in honoraria, with presidential libraries and foundations in particular targeted. That was the carrot. … There was also the stick. Hard-line military leaders discredited. Evangelicals mocked. Curious investigators framed or fired. Or worse.”
But domestic spiritual decline was only half the cause. America also was weakened by those who held the idea of projecting power to protect liberty in contempt. In Ferrigno’s future, the mainstream media’s undermining of the Iraq War was a key turning point:
“The U.S. Military won every battle, but they had no voice, no message that could be heard. The Old One’s servants monitored every TV station and never saw a hero, only the dead. A war without heroes, without victories. Only petty atrocities inflated for all the world to see, clucked over by millionaire news anchors and fatuous movie stars. Their president himself apologized. We must show that we are more humane than the terrorists, he said. As though the wolf should apologize for having sharper teeth than the rabbit. Good fortune beyond the Old One’s wildest dreams, an enemy who wanted to be loved. Be ashamed of the war and soon you will be ashamed of the warriors — the warriors got that message soon enough.”
Rakkim Epps serves the President of the Islamic Republic, and is in love with his daughter, Sarah. She is a scholar who has discovered that the nuclear attack on the U.S. that had been blamed on Israel was really the work of The Old One, who fancies himself the 12th Imam who will unite the world into one Islamic caliphate.
Rakkim has sworn loyalty to the moderate Muslim president of the ISA but is doubtful of his professed faith. Rakkim once did a long undercover stint in the Bible Belt and is attracted to the measure of individual freedom he found there (and the food).
Through a wonderfully realized trilogy, Rikki and Sarah battle The Old One and work to reunite the fractured nation into something closer to the America of the past, before the moderate regime of the ISA is overcome by the radical wahabbism of the self-declared 12th Imam.
The Assassin trilogy: Prayers for the Assassin, Sins of the Assassin, and Heart of the Assassin, mix suspense, action, social commentary and sometimes wickedly witty satire into a unique and completely captivating reading experience.