The first point of reference for this novel is Fatherland by Robert Harris. Whereas Fatherland examined how people would cope in the UK under German occupation, this book examines what would happen if Islam became united under a charismatic leader and then took jihad to its logical extreme.
Students of the history of Islam know the Sunni/Shiite split does not look like it will be healed any time soon short of the end of days. However, as with anything in life, nothing is impossible. D. C. Alden is merely speculating that if a powerful and charismatic jihad-driven leader were to emerge, he could possibly unify all of Islam.
This "what if" novel details the process of the complete domination of Europe (not all, but I shan't say lest to ruin the tale) by Arabian forces that emerge from the Fertile Crescent in a blitzkrieg-like burst of ferocity. The book deals, if briefly, with the effects of such a domination of Europe with its resulting near-slavery for all non-believers and harsh Sharia punishments for all transgressors.
This is quite a chilling book that, while taking liberties, as do all novels, does contain certain warnings that would be clever to heed. The Arabian forces make good use of sleeper cells all over Europe. Europe and Africa, but most especially the UK, is nowhere near prepared for such an invasion. This is clearly worse case scenario stuff, but does make for both an entertaining and a thought-provoking read.
My only complaint is that the book is about 150 pages too long. It does drag a wee bit in the middle and can get a tad ponderous at times. The fact that they book is a tome does not make it a good airport novel, that is for sure. Then again the subject matter might raise a few eyebrows amoung fellow passengers.
I suspect a sequel is planned for this book, as there are hints therein of changes to come. I hope an editor will encourage the author to keep things a bit tighter in the writing department. That said, I do recommend this book to those interested in some conjecture about jihadis’ ultimate goal. It does not make for pleasant reading, but enjoyable reading nonetheless.