After terrorists kill his fiancée for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Tim Currie is determined to get justice. Unfortunately, the police can offer him little support and the U.S. intelligence community doesn’t seem to be interested in helping him either. The problem is that the attack that led to the death of Currie’s fiancée was ordered by someone who doesn’t live in the United States and who doesn’t have the slightest concern about the innocent people who have died as a result of his actions. Realizing that he is going to have to get justice on his own, Currie turns to the only man that he feels that he can trust.
Long before his fiancée was murdered, Tim Currie was one of the many Americans held hostage in Iran. During that time, he had two friends, a mouse who was callously killed by a brutal guard and a cellmate who was frequently tortured for being a spy. His cellmate may have used the name Charles Murphy but he was actually a mercenary named Zarek. The amoral Zarek owes Currie a favor and Currie intends to collect. He wants Zarek to train him to be an assassin so that Currie can kill the man that he holds responsible for his fiancée’s death, Libyan dictator Muammar Quaddafi!
As you probably already guessed, this book was written long before the Libyan Civil War and the real-life Qaddafi’s very public execution in 2011. Indeed, Divine Assassin was originally published in 1985! Reading it today, it’s interesting to see that, nearly 40 years ago, people were just as concerned with and confused by Middle Eastern politics as they are today. Other than the fact that the Qaddafi on the book is described as being in his 40s, what we read about the fictional Qaddafi pretty much mirrors what was said of the real Qaddafi in the days before his death. Of course, needless to say, there’s more going on in this book than just Tim Currie’s search for vengeance and Qaddafi’s amazing arrogance. It quickly turns out that there’s quite a few people and nations looking to use the instability in the Middle East to their advantage and again, it’s interesting to see that the discussion around the Middle East really hasn’t changed that much over the past few decades.
As for the book itself, it’s an entertaining and relentlessly paced thriller, one that features a sympathetic protagonist and several memorable supporting characters. The cynical Zarek (who also happens to be terminally ill) gets all of the best lines while two other Americans, a police inspector and Currie’s ex-wife, try (and often fail) to serve as a voice of reason to Currie’s obsessive attempts to get revenge. The villains are memorably evil, with a German assassin especially making himself so loathsome that the reader will eagerly look forward to his comeuppance. The dialogue is often sharp and there are moments of unexpected wit to be found throughout the book. All in all, this a good and quick read. It would have made a good movie. Actually, it still could. It’s not like Qaddafi was ever the only terrorist-supporting dictator in the world.