The Chosen One (Berkley Penguin Random House)
by Walt Gragg, Georgetown, Texas
Tell us about your book.
What happens when the ill-prepared Americans find themselves facing the massive, fanatical army of the “Chosen One” prophesied to lead Islam in world conquest?
The Chosen One takes place in an undisclosed year in the not so distant future. It involves the telling of intertwining tales of four Americans caught in an intense Middle East war that America is not prepared to fight against a fanatical Islamic army.
Islam foretells of the Mahdi – the Chosen One – who will lead it in world conquest and guide the planet through its final days. Muhammad Mourad, a diminutive man from the deserts of southern Algeria is proclaimed this great leader. He begins to preach throughout the Middle East of the need to overthrow the secular governments and create a fundamentalist Islam state to rule North Africa and eventually the world. The Algerian government is highly concerned by the threat he poses to them. The military arrives in his distant village and destroys it, killing all but a handful of the villagers. Among the dead are Mourad’s wife and child. Mourad survives. He begins to take up arms and gather the true believers to him. Eventually, he overthrows the Algerian government and creates the Pan-Arab Federation consisting of Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and the Sudan with him at its head. It takes him many years, but he develops a huge, well-equipped army. He sets out to conquer the world. His first objective is to unite all of Islam. He attacks Egypt while his allies the Iraqis and Iranians attack Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. As the story opens Cairo is close to falling to the Pan-Arabs. Once Cairo falls, his plan is to rush across the Sinai and attack Israel. The Americans are desperate to keep this from happening.
Marine Lieutenant Samuel Erickson and his reconnaissance platoon are sent in to try to establish a beachhead for the 2nd Marine Division to come ashore and create a front behind the Pan-Arab lines, diverting Mourad’s army away from the attack on Cairo. Although suffering severe losses, Erickson’s Marines prevail. The Pan-Arabs initiate one fierce attack after another on the lightly armed Marine division. The Marines hold on until the British arrive with two divisions of Challenger tanks. They begin to steadily push Mourad’s army back. Erickson is in the center of the action in one battle after another. Lauren Wells, Middle East reporter for a major television network, is the only person to have ever interviewed Mourad. Eventually, she will enter into an intense, wartime romance with Sam Erickson. Frustrated by the military’s insistence that reporters not be allow on the ferocious battlefields, she steals a Humvee and heads to the frontlines. Lost in the desert, she accidentally bypasses the American lines and ends up being captured by the Pan-Arabs. Despite his standing order to behead any infidels they capture, Mourad spares Lauren Wells’ life. She is held captive until the end of the war.
Sergeant Charlie Sanders, Special Forces demolition expert, along with the other nine men of his detachment, find themselves facing incredible odds within Cairo as they, and the remaining 1100 Green Berets from their unit, struggle to hold on against the Chosen One’s massive army. Sanders will watch as the bridge he destroys gruesomely kills thousands of Pan-Arabs while attempting to cross the Nile into Cairo. Eventually, he will end up being trapped behind enemy lines. He remains in hiding in the wine cellar of an ageless hotel in Old Cairo for nearly two weeks. While there, he enters into an odd romantic relationship with a wounded Tunisian girl that he finds in the hotel while searching for a hiding place. In the end, he will be forced to kill her to save his own life. The 82nd Airborne, British and French units arrive in time to save Cairo from falling. Sanders rejoins his team and is involved in defending against an immense attempt by the enemy to counterattack and seize the city before it’s too late to claim victory. When the attack fails, he is involved in the crossing of the Nile by the Allies and the eventual collapse of Mourad’s army.
Lieutenant Commander Bradley Mitchell, F/A-18 Hornet pilot on an aircraft carrier, conducts one dangerous sortie after another throughout the war in an attempt to support the outnumbered Marines and Green Berets. At the same time he is struggling with the constant harangues of his rich, pampered wife. He blames himself when the Chosen One’s cruise missiles breakthrough and destroy the American aircraft carrier Eisenhower. His missions will take him throughout every part of the war. Army Staff Sergeant Darren Walton, a 1st Cavalry Division platoon sergeant in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle battalion, holds on against the Iraqis and Iranians. Should his battalion fail in the desperate defense there will be no one to keep the enemy from breaking through and setting the Saudi oil fields on fire. To his horror, Walton will come face-to-face with the reality of having to kill the children that the Iranians send forward in a “Martyr Battalion” to force the Americans to use up their munitions prior to an Iranian attack. The 1st Cavalry holds on until help arrives. In the end Walton will get his revenge for what the Iranians forced him to do as he is out front as the Americans encircle and destroy an Iranian army of 500,000.
Knowing it’s the one place the Americans would never bomb, in the middle of the war Mourad sets up his headquarters in the King’s Burial Chamber in the Great Pyramid of Khufu. From here he commands his huge army. As the story draws to its end, Erickson, Sanders, and Mitchell are involved in a coordinated attack on the Great Pyramid to eliminate Mourad. On the Giza plateau, Mitchell’s fighter is destroyed by an air defense missile and is involved in a fiery crash that kills him and destroys the Sphinx. With some assistance from Lauren Wells, Mourad escapes. He makes the distant journey across the Sahara on foot, and returns to his homeland still convinced that by his hand Islam will rule the world.
What inspired you to write this book?
Interest in end of days beliefs and those who profess them. The book provides great insight into the age-old question of who we are, who we become, and where that leads us.
What’s next for you as an author?
Follow up to The Chosen One already sold, working on finishing it.
Visit Walt Gragg’s website to learn more about his works here.
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