(Jerusalem, Israel) — The long wait is over. My latest political thriller, The Beirut Protocol, is now out in hardcover in bookstores all over the U.S. and Canada, as well as internationally in ebook and audio formats.
I do hope you’ll order your copy — and copies as gifts for family and friends — today!
Special thanks to The Jerusalem Post for publishing a lengthy interview with me today about why I wrote the book, how I do my research, the prospects for a real Israeli-Saudi peace treaty, and about the very real and rising threat that a Third Lebanon War could breakout — possibly even this year — in real-life, just as it does in the book, raining thousands of Iranian missiles down on Israel every single day. Let’s pray that never really happens.
Meanwhile, here’s what Ryan Steck, editor of The Real Book Spy website, wrote about my new book:
Following the events of The Jerusalem Assassin…Marcus Ryker—a special agent working with the CIA—will face his toughest mission yet in The Beirut Protocol: staying alive behind enemy lines.
Ambushed on foreign soil, Ryker and his team suddenly find themselves captured and surrounded by danger. Worse yet, should the terrorists who captured him learn his true identity, all bets are off—and he knows they’ll make an example out of him by executing him live on the internet for all to see . . .
Breaking his previous trend of writing trilogies, something Rosenberg first confirmed during our wide-ranging interview back in March 2020, The Beirut Protocol marks the fourth book (After The Kremlin Conspiracy, the Persian Gamble, and The Jerusalem Assassin) in his popular new franchise. Only Jon Bennett, who served as the protagionist of The Last Jihad series (five books) will have had more screen time than Ryker, whose background and skillset better resembles the traditional thriller mold that we’ve seen from other current literary stars such as Mitch Rapp (Vince Flynn) and Gabriel Allon (Daniel Silva).
Though he wasn’t sure how long Ryker might hang around, Rosenberg did say in March, “I think Marcus Ryker is my favorite character,” and there’s no doubt that fans feel the same way. Marcus has quickly become one of the genre’s premier heroes, and when you combine his physicality with Rosenberg’s uncanny ability to constantly predict future events and beat headlines, it’s easy to see why The Beirut Protocol becomes the first must-read thriller hitting bookstores in 2021….
To track the interviews I’m doing, please follow me on Twitter. I’ll post links to the interviews whenever possible on my Epicenter Team page on Facebook, and on this blog. And please be sure to pre-order a hardcover, e-book or audio copy of The Beirut Protocol for yourself — and for your parents and best friends — ASAP! Thanks so much!
Just one week to go before my new thriller releases. Please be sure to pre-order your copy today. In the meantime, it was so fun talking to a reporter for THE BIG THRILL, the website and magazine of the International Thriller Writers Organization. Here’s their story.
If you’re a fan of espionage fiction, you’re looking for that one book: the one where the CIA’s most valuable operative finds himself in the most dangerous situation he’s ever faced. Joel C. Rosenberg serves up that exact novel in THE BEIRUT PROTOCOL.
As the novel opens, the Secretary of State is on his way to the Middle East to help finalize a vital new peace treaty between Israel and the Saudis. Ahead of him, Special Agent Marcus Ryker is leading a team to the Israel-Lebanon border. But Hezbollah forces ambush them. At first the terrorists don’t know who they’ve got. Ryker is, in fact, a quiet killer with many enemies.
“The Iranians want to kill him,” Rosenberg says. “So do the Russians and the North Koreans. But despite the fact that he’s 6’2″ and about 175 pounds, you might not even notice him at a cocktail party. He makes it a point not to stick out in the crowd. That’s not just his personality. It’s his training.”
Ryker is a clandestine CIA officer. His cover is as a Special Agent for the Diplomatic Security Service, the branch of the State Department that protects American and foreign diplomats and dignitaries. This is after his time in the Secret Service on the Presidential Protective Detail and multiple combat tours as a Marine in Afghanistan and Iraq. With that background, it’s interesting that he doesn’t see himself as a hero.
“He’s highly uncomfortable getting any attention—much less kudos—at all,” Rosenberg says. “He doesn’t want praise. He doesn’t want attention. He prefers to work in the shadows, protecting his nation’s leaders, secrets, and freedoms.”
The President can ill afford a new war in the Middle East that could kill the treaty. Israeli and American forces mobilize to find the hostages, but Ryker knows time is running out. Like all of Rosenberg’s novels, the tension feels authentic, even though his stories don’t reflect real political changes because, since his first novel, he’s been creating an alternate universe.
“It feels real,” Rosenberg says. “It feels ripped out of today’s headlines, or maybe tomorrow’s. But there are significant differences between real life and the political and geopolitical environment I’m creating.”
So the story in THE BEIRUT PROTOCOL is completely fictional, but Rosenberg admits that the opening scenes in which Ryker and his team are ambushed by Hezbollah terrorists and dragged behind enemy lines were inspired by real ambushes that have taken place on the Israel-Lebanon border, one of which triggered a war in 2006.
To Rosenberg, character is king in any political thriller, as is the “what if?” scenario—but the settings are absolutely critical to his stories.
“I’m trying to take my readers into very dark places—Russia, North Korea, the inner sanctum of the Iranian regime, and so forth. I want to show people where evil festers and then metastasizes like a cancer,” he says. “So like they say in real estate, ‘location, location, location.’ I want to take my readers where they would never dare go on their own. As I was thinking about where to take Marcus next, I wanted to pick a country and a scenario that I hadn’t really explored in the past. Lebanon came to mind.”
In his first three novels—The Kremlin Conspiracy, The Persian Gamble, and The Jerusalem Assassin—Rosenberg established Ryker’s backstory and showed how he got pulled into working for the CIA against his will. In those books you see Ryker’s character, his values, and his incredible professional skill sets. But as he started the fourth book, Rosenberg began to wonder what it would look like if Ryker was taken hostage.
In the author’s words, “Now that we know why Ryker is considered one of the most deadly and effective clandestine operators in the CIA, wouldn’t it be interesting, I thought, to take away all of his strengths, or at least neutralize them for a while? How would Ryker react to being taken captive? To his team being captured? To suddenly finding himself in a seemingly inescapable situation?”
Ryker knows that when Hezbollah realizes who they’ve captured, no amount of ransom will save them. They’ll be sent to Beirut and then to Tehran to be executed on live television. Making Ryker a hostage not only challenges his training, it tests his character. By nature, Ryker is a protector. He is not looking to kill people. His passion is to protect people.
“He’ll kill without hesitation,” Rosenberg says, “but only if he has to. In THE BEIRUT PROTOCOL, he’s put in a situation along the Israeli-Lebanese border in which he has responsibility for the protection of his team.
What if he was suddenly overwhelmed by superior firepower? What if he found himself in a position where those on the very team he was sworn to protect were wounded? What if they were being beaten and tortured? All this would scramble his thinking and work against his instincts. Even if he manages to find a way to escape, how will he do it with severely wounded and immobile colleagues? Should he try to escape on his own and go get help? Or is he morally obligated to stay with his team? After all, if he does escape, won’t his teammates bear the brunt of the inevitable retaliation?”
The answers aren’t obvious because Ryker doesn’t fit the classic thriller-hero mold. He’s not a James Bond-type super spy, but nor is he a George Smiley-style tradecraft master.
“Yes, he works for the CIA,” Rosenberg says, “but he’s not a classically trained spy. He’s not an assassin, or a vigilante. He’s a widower. He was a father, but his son was murdered. He left government service and never planned to go back, but now he’s been pulled back in. That’s what makes Marcus Ryker a complicated character and perhaps an outlier in the genre.”
Bottom line, Marcus Ryker is a character you want to get to know, and THE BEIRUT PROTOCOL is a great place to meet him.
(Jerusalem, Israel) — Exactly three weeks from today, on Tuesday, March 9th, my new political thriller, THE BEIRUT PROTOCOL, releases in hardcover, e-book and audio editions. You can pre-order through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or any of your favorite bookstores — and I hope you will!
I’ll post details soon on the media interviews and book tour events I’ll be doing — but for now, here’s a sneak preview….
A game-changing peace treaty between Israel and the Saudis is nearly done.
The secretary of state is headed to the region to seal the deal.
And Special Agent Marcus Ryker is leading an advance trip along the Israeli-Lebanon border, ahead of the secretary’s arrival.
But when Ryker and his team are ambushed by Hezbollah forces, a nightmare scenario begins to unfold. The last thing the White House can afford is a new war in the Mideast that could derail the treaty and set the region ablaze. U.S. and Israeli forces are mobilizing to find the hostages and get them home, but Ryker knows the clock is ticking.
When Hezbollah realizes who they’ve captured, no amount of ransom will save them—they’ll be transferred to Beirut and then to Tehran to be executed on live television.
In the fourth installment of Rosenberg’s gripping new series, Marcus Ryker finds himself in the most dangerous situation he has ever faced—captured, brutalized, and dragged deep behind enemy lines.
Should he wait to be rescued? Or try to escape? How? And what if his colleagues are too wounded to run?
This is the CIA’s most valuable operative as you have never seen him before.
Very soon, I’m going to be sending you details about my latest political thriller, which releases in March.
But I’m excited to let you know that you can buy the e-book of The Jerusalem Assassin today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) for the amazing low price of just $1.99 — don’t miss it — and let your family and friends know, too!
(Jerusalem, Israel) — My wife, Lynn, and I founded The Joshua Fund in the summer of 2006 to mobilize Evangelical Christians to do more to care for the poor and vulnerable in the Middle East and to strengthen the Church in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and in five neighboring Arab countries (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt).
Nearly 15 years later, this ministry remains one of the deepest joys of our lives, because the needs are so real and urgent — especially in such dark times like the COVID-19 pandemic we are going through now.
The pandemic has been devastating here in Israel. We have just entered our 3rd national lockdown. Nearly 1-in-5 Israelis are unemployed. More than 75,000 small businesses have had to shut their doors. The entire tourism industry is shut down. And the end of the tunnel is not yet in sight.
Lebanon, meanwhile, is suffering not only from COVID but from the horrifying explosion at the Beirut port in August that left 300,000 people homeless.
Economic, psychological and spiritual pain and depression is plaguing everyone in the region.
Now, more than ever, it’s vital that follower of Jesus demonstrate love and compassion to those who are hurting.
We think of The Joshua Fund like a venture capital fund. We identify small but growing and promising congregations and ministries in Israel and neighboring countries and invest in them. We come alongside them with encouragement, prayer and financial resources so that they can be the hands and feet of Jesus — blessing, comforting, encouraging, feeding, and caring for those around them.
As you invest in us, we invest in them, allowing these wonderful believers to teach the Word of God, love their neighbors, plant more seeds and bear more fruit.
The Lord God has blessed The Joshua Fund with an amazing board of directors and staff — but it’s your faithful prayers and generous financial support that truly allows us to invest in God’s Kingdom work to make an eternal impact. Thank you so much for all your help.
Your prayers and gifts make a tremendous differences in the lives of believers in the epicenter who feel alone and need encouragement — and in the lives of those who don’t know Jesus personally but are so grateful when His followers show unconditional love to them in a time of great need.
On behalf of Lynn and our entire team, may the Lord richly bless you and your family as you bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, according to the Abrahamic Covenant found in Genesis 12:1-3! We praise God for your hearts of kindness, compassion and generosity.
JERUSALEM — This has been a very dark year. As millions around the globe struggle with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, all of the countries we at The Joshua Fund care so deeply about are struggling.
I’m regularly asked by pastors, ministry leaders, radio and TV hosts, and journalists what the Bible teaches on the subject of pestilence and plagues and whether they factor at all into the future prophecy.
I’ve been studying these issues carefully, consulting theologians and seminary professors whose expertise I trust. After all, The Joshua Fund seeks to educate the Church, and those interested, in God’s plan and purpose for Israel and her neighbors.
There is no doubt in my mind that the pandemic is one of the “birth pangs” of which the Lord Jesus spoke in Luke 21. It is yet another sign that we are living in what the Bible calls the “last days.” That’s why we need to have a sense of urgency to fulfill the Great Commission and specifically to obey our calling to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus.
Now is the time for the Church to be demonstrating the love of God to Jews, Arabs, and all other ethnic and religious groups in the region, and to do so in real and practical ways. One of our projects is providing food and humanitarian relief monthly to thousands of Israelis and Palestinians. These are needy widows, single mothers, Holocaust survivors, refugees, and other families struggling to make ends meet. This work is especially needed now; so many in our region have gone through a partial or full lockdown.
It is an honor to serve them – and I hope you are encouraged by the many stories of life change from the last year, all of which serve as a testimony of God’s faithfulness through your faithful investment and prayers.
The current need is urgent, and if we, as the Church, don’t stand in the gap who will?
I’m so jazzed to be part of “The Night Of A Thousand Authors” — a program unlike any other, in which one New York Times best-selling novelist after another does a 10 minute interview talking about thrillers, not partisan politics!
Co-hosting will be author K.J. Howe (ITW Executive Director) and The Real Book Spy’s Ryan Steck, with special help from The Crew Reviews‘ Michael Houtz, Sean Cameron, and Christopher Albanese.
The “star-studded event“—which will live stream across a number of platforms—will serve as the show launch for THRILLER TALK, a brand new podcast from Howe and Steck, who’ve teamed up to bring fans of the genre a fresh, innovative new show that’ll cover the thriller genre in a way that’s unlike anything else available on the web.
NIGHT OF A THOUSAND AUTHORS is a marathon of 10 minutes interviews—the “special sauce” is that each author will share the first two minutes of their interview on the screen with the previous guest and the last two minutes of their interview with the next guest.
“How often do you get to see this many big name authors in one place over a short period of time?” Howe asked, “The magnitude of star power makes this program unique.”
“This is going to be wild!” Steck said, “Wall to wall and back to back, rapid fire interviews complete with potential odd pairings overlapping and doing it live? It can only go right!”
The vast majority of American Evangelicals are voting for the President’s re-election. But not all. Some are so turned off by his Tweets, first debate performance and other behavior that they plan to stay home and not vote or to vote for Biden and Harris.
These are self-inflicted wounds on Trump’s part.
His policies, his promises kept, his team and his party’s platform should be convincing to all Evangelicals, compared to the pro-abortion-on-demand position of Biden and the Democrats. But Trump’s behavior has made it very difficult.
Let’s be clear: if Trump and Pence lose just 1% of the Evangelical vote, especially in critical battleground states, the pro-life position of the current federal government will not only be lost but dramatically, aggressively reversed.
One of my friends is a pastor and registered Independent in New Mexico.
In Christianity Today, he makes a compelling case to Evangelicals who are “on the fence,” struggling whether to vote at all or how they could vote for President Trump to be re-elected with all of his flaws.
Excerpt: “Never in memory has there been a more vocal pro-life president. Other presidents have tipped their hat to it, some more cautiously than others, but Trump has made this issue front and center. He even became the very first U.S. President to both attend and speak in person at the annual March for Life, marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in Washington DC. Beyond that he has shut down various streams of taxpayer funding for this egregious practice.”
Excerpt: “In a perfect world I would want a candidate who is warm, winsome, polite, reverential, deferential as well as one who gets things done. That world doesn’t exist, so I will be firmly settling for one who gets things done. Because Donald J. Trump has worked this hard on these core issues [pro-life, pro-Israel, pro-growth, etc] while at the same time calling out the dishonest media and taking on the political establishment, he has my vote.“
Please share with family and friends on Facebook and other social media if you think either or both columns can be helpful to people still struggling to make their decision in the final hours before this high-stakes election.
If every other argument fails, please vote for Mike Pence — a solid Evangelical, wise and thoughtful public servant, not corrupt, a gentleman, a loving and faithful husband and father, with a son serving in the US military. As VP, Pence has been a great help to the President. And he is remarkably well qualified to be next President of the United States, if and when that time comes.
In the meantime, let’s realize that a massive spiritual battle is underway for the future of the United States of America — let’s be fasting, praying, pleading for the Lord’s mercy as we head into Election Day.
“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11)
————- Note: These columns by Skip Heitzig and me reflect our own personal views, expressed as private American citizens. They are not connected in any way to the non-profit, non-partisan, non-political organizations we run or with which we are affiliated.
On March 7, 2019, I entered the Oval Office for the first time in my life.
Vice President Mike Pence, a friend since 2012, and I had just had lunch in the White House Mess. We had discussed the administration’s Middle East peace plan, which was then still in development, and my recent private meetings with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
“Have you ever met the President?” Pence had asked as we finished our meals.
I had not.
“Follow me,” he said.
The next thing I knew, I was shaking hands with President Donald J. Trump, who smiled broadly as Pence introduced me as a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, an author of novels and non-fiction books about the threat of radical Islamism, and an Evangelical.
“Great to meet you, Joel, welcome to the White House.”
Trump asked me to sit down, then took his seat behind the Resolute desk. To my right was the Vice President. To my left was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also a friend, and then-National Security Advisor John Bolton, whom I’d also known for years.
To my surprise, rather than tell me what he was thinking about, the President kept asking me one question after another. Where are you from? Why did you move to Jerusalem? How can you be an Evangelical with a Jewish name like Rosenberg? What’s your latest novel about? I had brought him a copy of The Persian Gamble, and I explained it was about an Iranian regime taking the $150 billion that President Obama had given them for the nuclear deal and secretly going to North Korea to buy a half-dozen fully operational nuclear warheads off the shelf and get them back to Iran.
“Wow – that’s pretty scary,” Trump said, turning to look out the window.
After a moment, he turned back to me and said, “How do you know they’re not trying to do that in real life?”
“Well, Mr. President,” I said, looking at Pence, Pompeo and Bolton and then back at Trump, “I’m counting on you and the men in this room to make sure The Persian Gamble never comes true.”
We shared a laugh, and then Trump asked me another question.
“So, tell me something else about yourself.”
I paused for a moment, then decided I ought to say it.
“Well, sir, I should probably tell you that I…well….I was a Never Trumper until four days before the election.”
The room went silent.
I cannot tell you how often the term “Never Trumper” is used in the presence of the President himself. By the look in his eye, I would say not that often. He did not, however, throw me out of the room. Rather, he picked up on the last phrase.
“What happened on the Thursday before the election?”
“My wife came to me with an absentee ballot and Fed-Ex envelope,” I said. “Hers was already filled out, but she insisted that I fill out mine right then because she had to send it that day from Israel in order for it to get back to the State in time. And she said to me, ‘You’ve got to make a decision.’ But I told her I was still agonizing. ‘You’re not going to vote for Hillary, are you?’ she asked. ‘Of course not,’ I said. ‘Then you have to vote for Trump.’ I told her wasn’t sure if I could. I’d spoken out strongly against you during the primaries. But my wife wouldn’t let the issue go. ‘Look,’ she said, ‘do you believe that Hillary is going to keep her liberal campaign promises?’ Of course, I replied, that’s why I can’t vote for her. ‘Exactly, but the problem is that you don’t trust Mr. Trump to keep his conservative promises, right?’”
I looked directly at the President. He said nothing. So, I continued.
“Right, I said. ‘So, here’s what you need to do,’ my wife told me. ‘The only way to stop Hillary from being elected is to vote for Mr. Trump and hope that he wins and hope that he keeps at least some of his promises. That’s it. That’s your only option.’”
You could hear a pin drop.
“So, Mr. President, I voted for you that day,” I continued. “And I just want to take the opportunity to thank you in person for keeping so many of your promises.”
I listed a dozen specific examples, including that the President had:
Moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem
Dramatically strengthened the U.S.-Israel alliance in myriad other ways
Was dramatically strengthening America’s alliance with the Arab world
Withdrew the U.S. from the insane Iran nuclear deal
Crushed the ISIS caliphate, ending genocide against Christians and Yazidis
Massively increased defense spending to rebuild the American military
Pushed NATO to spend more of its own money on its own defense
Gotten tough against the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, contrary to the allegations that were being made that he was “colluding” with Putin and weakening U.S. national security
Signed the biggest tax cut and tax reform bill in U.S. history, creating millions of new jobs and powerful and sustained economic growth
Made America energy independent
Appointed hundreds of conservative, pro-life, originalist federal judges
Appointed two originalist, Scalia-esque Justices to the Supreme Court
“Sir, if you accomplish nothing else for the rest of your term, you will go down in history as the most pro-life and pro-Israel president in the history of the country. And I just want to say, on behalf of my wife and me, thank you.”
The President seemed moved. Then I noted the Bible commands believers to “pray for kings and all those in authority.”
“I want you to know, sir, that I have prayed for you and your family every day since you took the Oath of Office.”
“Thank you, Joel,” Trump replied. “That means a lot to me.”
Since then, the reasons I support the President and Vice President have grown significantly. Together, Trump and Pence have:
Presented a creative and compassionate plan to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians
Brokered an historic peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates
Brokered an historic peace treaty between Israel and Bahrain
Brokered an historic peace treaty between Israel and Sudan
Gotten tough on China
Built a security wall to protect America’s southern border with Mexico
Mobilized the biggest government and private sector mobilization since World War II to protect the American people from COVID-19, the worst pandemic in 100 years, and re-opened the U.S. economy to allow for the creation already of 10.5 million new jobs
Appointed Amy Coney Barrett, a third originalist, Scalia-esque Justice to the Supreme Court
Are there some policies Trump pursues that I disagree? Yes. Am I happy with his first debate performance? No. Do some of his Tweets and public comments baffle, frustrate and deeply disappointment. Absolutely.
Still, I am deeply grateful that Trump and his team stand strongly against socialism, against abortion-on-demand, against riots and lawlessness, against shutting down oil and natural gas exploration, against radical left-wing plans to expand the number of Justices on the Supreme Court, against re-starting a policy of appeasement towards Iran, against going soft on the corrupt communists of China, against shutting down the American economy and ignoring the rights of the American people to live their lives in freedom, even in days of risk.
I used to be a Never Trumper. Not anymore.
Last month, I flew from Israel to the United States to stand in line for three hours to vote in-person for the re-election for President Trump and Vice President Pence.
I hope wherever you live, if you’re an American citizen, you will vote for them, too.