Buckle up, because former U.S. Secret Service agent Marcus Ryker is set to return next March in The Persian Gamble, the all-new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg.
Known throughout his career for penning headline-beating novels, Rosenberg (who was called a “modern Nostradamus” by U.S. News & World Report) was once again right on the money in predicting the amped-up tension between the United States and Russia, the main theme of his last book, The Kremlin Conspiracy (2017), the first title in a new series starring Marcus Ryker.
Last year, ahead of the release of The Kremlin Conspiracy, Rosenberg told me that one of the reasons he was drawn to Russia is because he has Russian roots. “My grandparents on my father’s side were Orthodox Jews who escaped out of Czarist, anti-Semitic Russia in the early years of the 20th century,” he explained. “In 2004, my father and I traveled to Moscow to do research for Epicenter and The Ezekiel Option. I guess I find myself fascinated with — and somewhat haunted by — both the history and the future of Russia.”
Another reason for the author’s shift of focus after writing three different series centered around the Middle East is that Rosenberg felt he needed a new challenge, and was drawn to Russia for a number of reasons.
“After eleven novels that have focused primarily on the Middle East and the threat of Radical and Apocalyptic Islam — and one historical novel about the Holocaust — I felt it was time to shift gears.
“I needed a new challenge and wanted to focus on a different part of the world, different enemies. In this case, I kept finding myself drawn to Russia. Moscow was once known as the seat of the ‘Evil Empire’ and I believe it is once again emerging as the center of the most dangerous government on the planet. Remember, Iran, al Qaeda, and ISIS just dream of having nuclear weapons. Moscow not only has them but also has the long-range ballistic missiles to hit every city in NATO and the United States. If they reemerge not simply as a geopolitical challenge but an aggressive enemy, the world will be headed down a very dark road.”
This time around, I reached out to Joel Rosenberg again and asked him what readers should expect from his highly-anticipated new thriller.
“I think The Persian Gamble may be the fastest-paced thriller I’ve ever written,” said Rosenberg. “My editor actually insisted that in certain places I slow things down so readers can breathe. I’m working on the edits now.”
To follow up, I asked the author if he still felt as though Russia was rising up as the center of the most dangerous government on the planet, to which he answered, “Absolutely,” before adding that “Vladimir Putin is the equivalent of Michael Corleone with a nuclear arsenal. He’s a cruel, calculating killer. And the world is only beginning to wake up to just how dangerous he really is.
“What’s interesting to me,” Rosenberg continued, “is that in the years after the attacks of September 11th, very few political thrillers focused on Russia. Nearly every writer in the genre shifted from Cold War themes to the threat of radical Islam and Middle East themes. And for good reason. But I think The Kremlin Conspiracy was one of the first in what’s becoming a wave of novels and even films focused on the rising threat from the leaders of Russia. So long as Putin remains in power and keeps invading neighbors and eliminating critics I expect that to continue for quite some time.”
Lastly, because he’s so known for beating headlines, I asked Rosenberg if current headlines played any role at all while he was coming up with the plot for The Persian Gamble. Though he didn’t want to give away too much about the story just yet, he did explain his goals in writing each book, while also teasing a few more tidbits about his next novel.
“My novels are about worst-case scenarios, terrible events that could happen in the near future though we pray they do not. My goal isn’t to write what’s in the headlines today but what could be coming, God forbid, in a few years. What I loved about writing The Persian Gamble was tying the fate of three enemy powers — Russia, Iran, and North Korea — into one chilling scenario and putting my hero, Marcus Ryker, in the vortex of the danger. Most people see these three countries as threats. But they don’t necessarily see them as allies, actively working together and plotting catastrophic attacks against the West. But that’s what I fear is happening and that’s where I take Ryker and his team. I can’t say more at the moment. I will, but let’s wait until we get closer to the release!”
Check out the plot details and cover art below.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Kremlin Conspiracy comes this latest international thriller about a terrifying nuclear alliance among three world powers―Russia, Iran, and North Korea―and the man who must halt their deadly strategy.
Shot out of the air in enemy territory in the middle of the greatest international crisis since the end of the Cold War, former U.S. Secret Service agent Marcus Ryker finds himself facing an impossible task. Not only does he have to somehow elude detection and capture by Russian special forces, but he must convince his own government to grant safe harbor to the one man responsible for the global mayhem―Russian double agent and assassin Oleg Kraskin.
While frantically negotiating with his contacts in the White House, Marcus learns that the unstable North Korean regime plans to use the international chaos as a smokescreen to sell nuclear weapons to Iran. With the fate of the entire free world on the line, Marcus makes a deal with the U.S. government―he will go back to work as an international operative and track down the WMDs before they end up in the hands of those with the determination and the means to use them. Marcus and Oleg worked together once before to avert a world war. Can they now find a way to stop world destruction?
Though it won’t hit bookstores until March 12, 2019, Rosenberg’s fans can pre-order The Persian Gamble here, or anywhere else books are sold. In the meantime, make sure you’re following Joel on Twitter and Facebook for more updates, and don’t forget to check out his official website — or his terrific Flash Traffic blog, where he regularly posts about everything from book news to his thoughts on political matters, and even offers updates from the ground in Israel, where he now lives with his family.
Praised as “One of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.