Prayers for the Assassin
By Robert Ferrigno
(Scribner, Hardcover, 9780743272896, 416pp.)
Publication Date: February 7, 2006
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SEATTLE, 2040. The Space Needle lies crumpled. Veiled women hurry through the busy streets. Alcohol is outlawed, replaced by Jihad Cola, and mosques dot the skyline. New York and Washington, D.C., are nuclear wastelands. Phoenix is abandoned, Chicago the site of a civil war battle. At the edges of the empire, Islamic and Christian forces fight for control of a very different United States.
Enormous in scope and brilliantly imagined, Prayers for the Assassin promises to be the powerhouse read of the year. Burning with cinematic violence, fiendish betrayal, and global intrigue, Robert Ferrigno's sensational thriller asks: What would happen to America if the terrorists won?
After simultaneous suitcase-nuke attacks destroy New York, Washington, D.C., and Mecca -- attacks blamed on Israel -- a civil war breaks out. An uneasy truce leaves the nation divided between an Islamic republic with its capital in Seattle, and the Christian Bible Belt in the old South. In this frightening future there are still Super Bowls and Academy Awards, but calls to Muslim prayer echo in the streets and terror is everywhere. Freedom is controlled by the state, paranoia rules, and rebels plot to regain free will...
One of the most courageous is the beautiful young historian Sarah Dougan, who uncovers shocking evidence that the nuclear attacks might not have been planned by Israel, evidence that, if true, will destabilize the nation. When Sarah suddenly goes missing, the security chief of the Islamic republic calls upon Rakkim Epps, her secret lover and a former elite warrior, to find her -- no matter what the risk.
But as Rakkim searches for Sarah, he is tracked by Darwin, a brilliant psychopathic killer trained in the same secretive unit as Rakkim. To survive, Rakkim must become Darwin's assassin -- a most forbidding challenge. A bloody, nerve-racking chase takes them through the looking-glass world of the Islamic States of America, and culminates dramatically as Rakkim and Sarah battle to expose the truth to the entire world.
Can the couple outrun Darwin? Who is really behind the nuke attacks? Will Sarah and Rakkim stay alive long enough to deliver the truth? Does a nation divided have a prayer?
Robert Ferrigno's Prayers for the Assassin shows the novelist at the height of his powers, and delivers a masterful, unforgettable read.
Robert Ferrigno was born in South Florida, a tropical backwater rife with mosquitoes and flying cockroaches.
After earning college degrees in Philosophy, Film-Making, and Creative Writing, he returned to his first love, poker. He spent the next five years gambling full-time and living in a high-crime area populated by starving artists, alcoholics, thieves and drug dealers, becoming friends with many people who would later populate his novels.
He used some of his winnings to start a punk rock magazine called The Rocket, where he interviewed the Clash, Elvis Costello, Iggy Pop, etc. The success of The Rocket got him a job as a feature writer for a daily newspaper in Southern California, where he took the adventure-and-new-money beat.
Over the next seven years he flew jets with the Blue Angels, drove Ferraris, and went for desert survival training with gun nuts. He ultimately gave up his day job to become a novelist, and his first book, The Horse Latitudes, was called "the fiction debut of the season" by Time magazine.
His most recent novel, The Wake-Up, was described by Kirkus Reviews as "Sharp, fast, and slick. Ferrigno can read like Raymond Chandler on speed, with pages turning and adrenaline pretty high throughout."
Prayers for the Assassin is his ninth novel.
He lives in Washington State with his family.
"Dazzling and audacious...wildly entertaining...gripping suspense." -- Chicago Sun-Times
"Genuinely frightening." -- The New York Times
"[A] believable alternate history.... A chilling tale." -- USA Today