Terrorism in Contemporary Fiction

There is an author daring to incorporate modern reality into contemporary thrillers.


While entertaining and well-written, his latest offerings could be considered alarming and even controversial.

Ian G. Watson is an octogenarian who has witnessed many of the events shaping the last century first hand. Noted primarily for humor (he is a master), he has nevertheless published two books, so far, in a series which deals with the clandestine workings of today’s real world, and he has dared to do this bluntly. That they have received little notice surprises me. Perhaps people are fooled by the cover art. That is a shame.

Plots to take over the world are nothing new and the groups who undertake such schemes are generally patient, not concerned about accomplishing it in their generation.

Just how relevant is Watson’s take on things?

Here is an excerpt of the his WIP (Work In Progress) called “The Washington Rose”, which is due out later this year and is the third book in the Wren Series.

Gwen sipped a glass of water, cleared her throat and began: “A common thread of belief runs through our religion,” she said. “We are all ‘People of the Book’, whether that book is the Qu’ran, the Torah or the New Testament. Our beliefs come to us from Abraham, Jesus and Mohammed. Those beliefs are in one God and Eternal Life.

“So, what has happened to interfere in those basic beliefs and cause our minds to descend into the violence of recent years? What has caused our peoples to enter into wars and terrorism and horror? What has caused us to enter in ‘A Battle for God’ if there is only one God? Why have our religions, with so much in common, become perverted into the tools of politicians? I think the answer is one of control. With violence and the breakdown of order, a fertile ground is left for those who want to turn back the clocks to fundamentalism, militant forms of piety running through our major religions.

“Fundamental Christians object to and fight against scientific principles such as Darwinism while their dogma preaches a return to the principles of Creationism based on Genesis. Jewish fundamentalism came about after the Holocaust and staunchly supports the State of Israel and this in itself is a thorn in the side of Moslems. The Moslems do not trust the secular civilizations where governments are set up to rule in the name of the people. In their view only God can rule the people. 

“Therefore, from these backgrounds, originally those of compassion, the Fundamentalists have forged three ferocious religions. These ‘ferocious’ religions now hold us in their grip. Fundamentalists of all stripes believe that they are fighting to survive and they turn to militancy and ignore the compassion of religion in favor of a ferocious extremism. In this respect all three faiths based on the message of Abraham have developed fundamentalists who follow similar patterns, withdrawing from the mainstream of their faith and forming their own sacred and separate corps. They form ‘study groups’, ‘extreme groups’ and ‘training camps’ like fortresses in which counter cultures exist against modern life, filling them with fear and ferocity.

“From these backgrounds, fundamentalists are active in planning their political, military and social strategies. Strong examples of these phenomena are the Iranian Revolution, the Moral Majority and the Middle Eastern Islamic Jihadists and Jewish Groups.

Christian Fundamentalists in the United States commit few acts of terror, living as they do in a relatively peaceful society. Among such Fundamentalists though is the belief that the democratic government of the U.S. will eventually collapse due to its own size and complexity and become a dictatorship supported or opposed by militias and bodies with vested interests like the National Rifle Association.”

Provocative to be sure.

To be ready for ‘The Washington Rose’ when it comes out later this year you would do well to read the first two books in the series,’ The Just’s Umbrella’ and ‘The Sunless Treasuries’.

DON’T be fooled by the cover art. The stories are linked to dastardly chemical weapons first developed in WW2 but they take place in the 1990s.

The Just’s Umbrella on Amazon

The Sunless Treasuries on Amazon

Ian G. Watson’s website

Ian G. Watson on Facebook

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