Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Another Hollywood Hero

By Ben Child

Islam's holiest site … Muslims circle the Kaaba inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca during the hajj pilgrimage. Photograph: Ali Jarekji/Reuters
He blew up the Empire State Building and the White House in Independence Day, sent a giant monster careering through the heart of Manhattan in Godzilla and destroyed the famous Hollywood sign in The Day After Tomorrow. But it seems there are places even Roland Emmerich will not go - the German film-maker has revealed he abandoned plans to obliterate Islam's holiest site on the big screen for fear of attracting a fatwa.

For his latest disaster movie, 2012, the 53-year-old director had wanted to demolish the Kaaba, the iconic cube-shaped structure in the Grand Mosque in Mecca that Muslims the world over turn towards every day when they pray and which they circle seven times during the hajj pilgrimage.
But after some consideration, he decided it might not be such a smart idea, after all.
"I wanted to do that, I have to admit," Emmerich told "But my co-writer Harald [Kloser] said I will not have a fatwa on my head because of a movie. And he was right.
"We have to all, in the western world, think about this. You can actually let Christian symbols fall apart, but if you would do this with [an] Arab symbol, you would have ... a fatwa, and that sounds a little bit like what the state of this world is.
"So it's just something which I kind of didn't [think] was [an] important element, anyway, in the film, so I kind of left it out."
But Emmerich acolytes need not fear that the film-maker is pulling his punches on 2012, which arrives in UK cinemas on 13 November. The movie depicts a global doomsday event supposedly predicted by the Mayans more than a thousand years ago – in order to highlight his opposition to organised religion, the director decided to use CGI to destroy the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro instead. For good measure, he also blew up the Sistine chapel and St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, plus, on a secular note, the White House (again).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mark Steyn Tempts the Thought Police

The last time author and media powerhouse Mark Steyn reviewed one of the Assassin books in MACLEANS magazine he got hauled before the Canadian Human Rights Commission, their version of the Black Robes. In his 2003 review of Prayers for the Assassin, Steyn talked about its depiction of an Islamic SuperBowl with sword-swinging male cheerleaders, and of an American Islamic state that punished Jews, homosexuals and uppity women. The HRC, in their typically obtuse fashion, thought those were Steyn's thoughts, not realizing he was quoting from my fiction. It cost him time and money to beat the rap. Not content to let the thought police sleep their dreamless sleep, Steyn just reviewed Heart of the Assassin in MACLEANS. Maybe this time they'll blame me. Thanks, Mark.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Second Printing

YEA! Just found out that Heart of the Assassin has gone to a second printing, less than three weeks after pub date. Thanks to all of you who have bought a book. And double-thanks to those of you who bought a book and told somebody else about it. And uber-thanks... you get the idea.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Daily Beast Roars for Heart of the Assassin

David J. Mongomery, Mystery and Thrillers critic for the Daily Beast gave a great review to Heart of the Assassin this morning. I'm particularly pleased that he noted the human and family aspect of this final volume.

Robert Ferrigno brings his “Assassin” trilogy to a close with Heart of the Assassin, the final chapter in what has become an ingenious look at what the United States might be like if it underwent an Islamic revolution. Ferrigno posits a world in which America, wracked by years of economic devastation, moral decay, and never-ending conflicts, has undergone a civil war, splitting into two very difference sections: one a conservative Christian nation based in the former American South (“The Bible Belt”), the other a moderate Islamic Republic, centered in the city of Seattle.

Against this startling backdrop, Ferrigno has cast an intriguing, fast-paced thriller that sees the Islamic Republic and the Bible Belt both threatened with attack from the expansionist Aztlán Empire (formerly Latin America). In order to find a solution to this imperialist threat, Rakkim Epps, a biologically enhanced covert operative and hero of the series, must journey into the nuclear wasteland that is Washington, D.C. in an effort to find a holy relic that can bring the two halves of the United States back together.

Heart of the Assassin differs from the first two books in the trilogy with a more heartfelt and human focus. Rakkim is now married with a son, giving him both more to care about and more to lose, yet he’s willing to risk everything to save the country he loves. Heart still has the amazing sense of imagination of Prayers of the Assassin, and the action and suspense of Sins of the Assassin, but it also has an emotional resonance that brings the series to a fitting close.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ferrigno on Jim Pfaff's radio show

Did a full hour on Jim Pfaff's radio show, which is broadcast out of Denver. I thought it went well. (Our gurantee, no more than five uhhs per sentence!)

link 1

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Best Tweet EVER

Reader Kevin A has been spreading the word about Heart of the Assassin. He just sent me this visual tweet whcih knocked me out. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

National Review Online podcast

I was interviewed a few days ago by John J. Miller of National Review Online. The podcast has just been posted.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Heart of the Assassin youtube clip (reposted)


Here's the youtube trailer my pal Michael Dougan and I made for Heart of the Assassin. We decided not to go for one of me in a leather chair smoking a pipe and blathering on about the book. We opted for old comic books and cartoons, and a soundtrack from a maniac turning a radio dial in a 57 Chevy under a crescent moon. If you like it, pass it on.

My interview with Hugh Hewitt (podcast)

Thanks to sharp-eyed reader Daniel C, who informs me that Seattle radio station KKOL no longer carries the Hugh Hewitt show, and suggests that I tell you to simply listen to it on the live streaming audio on KRLA, Hugh's home station. This will work no matter where you live. The show begins at 3pm PST/6pm EST.

I'll try to be coherent.

ADDED: Here's the link to the podcast of my Hugh Hewitt interview

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Robert on radio

On Monday, August 10, I'll be the first guest on Hugh Hewitt's national radio show, doing a full hour talking about Heart of the Assassin and anything else Hugh brings up.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

great deal on Heart of the Assassin ebook

I just got this from my publisher. Definitely a great deal for ebook readers.

Scribner will be doing a promotional eBook free download promotion with the first two novels in the Assassin Trilogy with Amazon Kindle and Sony eReader. may participate in the promotion as well, but we are waiting on their confirmation. I wanted to send you some information on the promotion so you are aware. The way the promotion will work is listed below.

When a consumer buys the eBook of the third novel, Heart of the Assassin, they will be given the opportunity to download the first two eBooks, Prayers for the Assassin and Sins of the Assassin, at no cost. The promotion will run for the first two weeks the eBook for Heart of the Assassin is on sale (8/11/09 – 8/25/09).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Seattle Times covers the trilogy

Monday, August 3, 2009 at 12:00 AM
E-mail article Lit Life
Robert Ferrigno's 'Assassin' trilogy, a topsy-turvy alternative history
Kirkland author Robert Ferrigno's "Assassin" trilogy features an America that's converted to Islam after a long, grueling war — it has fans in France, Russia, China and throughout the Arabic-speaking world. The third novel in the trilogy has just been published, and Ferrigno reads at several Seattle area locations this month.

By Mary Ann Gwinn
Seattle Times book editor

It was shortly after 9/11, and the United States had just declared war on Iraq. This is what Kirkland author Robert Ferrigno was hearing: "Everyone was so gung-ho, saying 'We'll go to war, we'll kick butt, we'll be out in two weeks.' But writers like to invert logic. I thought, 'What if it's a long war?' "

Ferrigno (pronounced Fur-Eeen-Yo) wasn't a prescient foreign-policy expert but a successful writer of thrillers, set mostly in Southern California with a good-guy-faces-hard-choices theme. But he took a risk: he started writing what publishing calls an "alternative history," a novel that takes a pivot point in history and then goes in the opposite direction.

Ferrigno's premise was "in a long war, it's the spiritual strength of the combatants that matters." Devotees of Islam are fervent and have exceedingly long memories. Americans, on the other hand ... " 'If it's an hour old, it's too old' ... 'If we can't win, we want to get out now.' "

Thus was born Ferrigno's 2006 "Prayers for the Assassin." Washington, D.C., New York and Mecca have been nuked, and Zionist fanatics are blamed. Repelled and worn out by a long war, most Americans have converted to Islam and pledge allegiance to the Islamic States of America (capital: Seattle!), though it's in conflict with a swath of the Christian Bible Belt. But bad guys, including a radical right-wing Islamic sect named the Black Robes, are trying to seize power, and only an elite soldier named Rakkim Epps stands in their way.

"Prayers" got rave reviews and was followed by a second book: "Sins of the Assassin." Now the third in the trilogy is out: "Heart of the Assassin." Ferrigno's counterintuitive premise turned him into an amateur scholar on Islam and connected him with a worldwide audience.
Surprisingly, he has a devoted military readership: "The military likes the fact that the stakes are so high, that this is a fight for values and sovereignty. There is a continuity to Islam, a sense of right and wrong, and the military has a sense of right and wrong. If you tell a lie at West Point, you get thrown out."

And a good chunk of his international readers are Muslim. Foreign versions of the "Assassin" books were first published in Turkey, an Islamic country with a secular government (just like his fictional version). They've been published in the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, France, China and Russia. The Egyptian edition has been distributed throughout the Arabic-speaking world.
Ferrigno has a spirited correspondence with his Muslim readers; "even the angry ones are trying to educate me," he says, laughing. "But 98 percent of the comments are positive; they feel it's so rare that Muslims are treated as human beings."

It's been a long haul; six years of contemplating religious war and apocalyptic terror. But here's the rewarding part of writing entertaining, thought-provoking books — people read them. He got a letter after "Prayers" was published from an English working-class guy in his 20s. "He said 'Prayers for the Assassin' was the first book he ever read all the way through," Ferrigno says.

Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or Mary Ann Gwinn appears on Classical KING-FM's Arts Channel at
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

Monday, June 1, 2009

Publishers Weekly review

The Publishers Weekly review of HEART OF THE ASSASSIN came out today. It's a beauty. A starred review.

Heart of the Assassin Robert Ferrigno. Scribner, $25.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4165-3767-0
Set in a future American divided into two major regions, Edgar-finalist Ferrigno’s final entry in his Assassin trilogy (after Sins of the Assassin) nicely ties up the wildly diverse plot lines that have motivated his many characters. New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Mecca have all been nuked by the Old One, a 150-year-old Muslim fanatic trying to become the Muslim messiah who will lead a new caliphate. The only person who can stop him is Rakkim Epps, a fedayeen warrior whose historian wife, Sarah, is masterminding an effort to unite America by finding a piece of the true cross, buried somewhere in the D.C. nuclear hot zone. The Old One is aided by Baby, a brilliant blonde bombshell who’s married to the Colonel, a powerful warlord. One can read this volume as a stand-alone, but to enjoy the vast breadth of what is truly a remarkable achievement, one should start with book one, Prayers for the Assassin, and read the series in order. (Aug.)

(Thanks to John J. Miller for sending this to me early this morning. Better than a triple espresso for jumpstarting my heart)

Monday, March 9, 2009

A short story I wrote, "Can You Help Me Out Here?" has been included in THRILLER 2, a collection of stories by thriller/mystery writers like Jeffrey Deaver, David Montgomery, and Kathleen Antrim. "Can You Help Me Out Here?" is based on a dirty joke I heard in Fourth Grade and didn't understand until years later. I think the story is funnier than the joke.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Last month I did a short story, "Bad Dog," for VICE magazine. It's the story of a dog who'd probably rule the world if he had opposable thumbs.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Preview of Coming Attractions

Here's the jacket for the third volume of the Assassin trilogy, due out August, 2009. (Scribner)

In Heart of the Assassin, time is running out for both nations that once made up the USA --- the Islamic republic and the Bible Belt. Weakened by their division and their own intellectual and moral decay, they are threatened by the expansionist dreams of the Atzlan Empire (Mexico.) The only solution is to somehow reunite the two nations. Time is also running out for the Old One. Over 150 years old, long used to the idea of his own near immortality, he is dying and with him the idea of recreating a world-wide Caliphate. He is not happy.

In a couple months I'll post the first chapter of Heart, which features Lester Gravenholtz, one of my favorite badguys, skulking in a rundown Neuvo Florida themepark, Castroland!, waiting to kill the Atzlan oil minister. Fun ensues.

A note on the back cover of the ARC of Heart of the Assassin. An ARC is an advanced readers copy of the book in paperback, that is printed early and sent to reviewers. The short bio of me on the back cover contains an error. It says "Robert Ferrigno has been a full-time gambler, college student, pilot for the Blue Angels, punk-rock columnist and bestselling novelist." I plead guilty to all of these except I was never a pilot with the Blue Angels. As a reporter I once flew in a plane piloted by a member of the Blue Angels. I even took the stick for about a minute and technically piloted the jet for that brief period of time. It was one of the most intensely cool minutes of my life, but in no way was I a pilot, let alone a Blue Angel aviator.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Edgar award

Sins of the Assassin was just nominated for an Edgar by the Mystery Writers of America for Best Novel, 2009. I am really happy. Even though I have to wear formal attire to the ceremony where the winner is announced. (NYC, April 30.) I believe alcohol will be served.

Best of luck and congratulations to the other nominees:

Missing by Karin Alvtegen (Felony & Mayhem Press)
Blue Heaven by C.J. Box (St. Martin's Minotaur)
Sins of the Assassin by Robert Ferrigno (Simon & Schuster - Scribner)
The Price of Blood by Declan Hughes (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
The Night Following by Morag Joss (Random House – Delacorte Press)
Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Secrets of the Oval Office

I did another true-fiction piece for National Review Online that explains the secrets of a sucessful presidency. Hint: comfort food and goosing the one that brung ya.