the book: When Diplomatic Security Service
Special Agent Brian Mullaney received his new assignment to protect the newly
appointed US ambassador to Israel and what he thought was an insignificant box,
he ended up with more responsibility than he could ever imagine. Inside the box was a messianic prophecy about the fate of
the world that a dark enemy and the forces of evil at his command were
determined to destroy. Not only that, agents of three ancient empires have
launched covert operations to secure nuclear weapons, in direct defiance of the
startling peace treaty Israel and its Arab neighbors have signed—the Ishmael
Covenant. Mullaney and the ambassador have been targeted, and it’s up to him to
thwart an arms race.
Mullaney has survived an explosion, being shot, and
losing his best friend. He’s had enough and wants out. In Terry Brennan’s Ottoman
Dominion (Kregel Publications), the last installment of the Empires
of Armageddon trilogy, Mullaney has been
drawn against his will into a dangerous international mission with world-ending
implications—and his final assignment is going to pit him directly against the
terrifying, evil entity known only as the Turk.
Welcome back, Terry. Tell us about the entire
Empires of Armageddon series, including the previous releases, Ishmael
Covenant and Persian Betrayal.
The three-book series, the
Empires of Armageddon is a fast-paced, modern-day international thriller,
constructed around historical fact and fiction based on fact. The story envelopes the lives of nearly a
dozen key characters, but is driven by three primary characters: Diplomatic
Security Service Special Agent Brian Mullaney; Joseph Atticus Cleveland, the
newly appointed US ambassador to Israel; and their enemy, The Turk, an immortal
agent of evil who serves The One.
Out of the chaos and conflict of today’s Middle East, it appears that three ancient empires are
about to resurrect themselves. One belief of the Islamic faith is that once an
Islamic nation rules any part of the earth, it rules that part of the earth
forever. So, ultimately, each of those empires would covet, and attempt to
control, the same slice of land which each empire once ruled.
The collision of those competing
empires could trigger the climactic events in the Valley of Megiddo.
The series explores how this potential clash
of empires might impact current history, future events and the viability of the
The plot of the series, and the first book, Ishmael
Covenant, is kick-started when the first of two Messianic prophecies,
written in 1794 by the Vilna Gaon, is revealed in Jerusalem. When he arrives in Israel, Mullaney finds himself grudgingly in
possession of a metal box that supposedly contains and protects a second
prophecy written by the Gaon. Mullaney’s involvement with the prophecy and the
box puts his life in terrible peril and in direct opposition to The Turk. The
Turk and The One have been focused on a singular purpose for thousands of
years—if they can prevent the fulfillment of one Messianic Biblical prophecy,
they can eradicate the validity of all prophecy and change the end of the
Book—the outcome of the Battle of Armageddon. What is contained in the Gaon’s
prophecy could destroy their plans.
That theme, ultimate evil trying to
overthrow the plans of God, fuels the story of the entire series. The series utilizes this supernatural cauldron of
spiritual warfare, and its Biblical ramifications, as the backdrop for an epic
testing of one man’s character when faced with multiple adversaries who
threaten his family, his faith and his country. How Brian Mullaney responds to
his calling could dictate the fate of this world—and the onset of the next.
Q: What is Brian Mullaney’s
final mission? Brian Mullaney is a highly regarded veteran of the
Diplomatic Security Service, which protects American foreign service personnel.
Mullaney is banished to Israel
as Regional Security Officer and assigned to protect new US Ambassador Joseph Atticus Cleveland and all
of the Foreign Service personnel in Israel. Mullaney, however, is also
enlisted into another task.
Through the influence of the
angel, Bayard, and the insistence of aged rabbi Mordechai Herzog, Mullaney
finds himself responsible for a lethal metal box that has gruesomely killed
anyone who touches it. Once the protector of the Vilna Gaon’s second prophecy,
the “‘box of power’” now has a mission of its own, a mission that will put
Mullaney’s life at risk and transport him into the darkest depths of hell on
Bayard informs Mullaney that
his assignment, and his destiny, is to be the “final guardian” of the box of
power, and to personally carry that box of power on its final mission,
to withstand and vanquish the malevolent agents of evil, The Turk and The One.
In order to accomplish this mission, Mullaney must not only take the box of
power into the midst of the Turk’s lair in Ankara, but he must also hand over
the box—and its power—to those enemies who most want to destroy Mullaney, those
close to him, and the plans and purposes of God in this earth.
Q: What was the Ishmael
Covenant that was a part of the first book? What similarities did this
fictional treaty from your book have with the Abraham Accord, an actual peace
accord signed in 2020? One of the foundational plot elements of the series
was a fictional peace treaty and mutual-defense pact between Israel and its neighbor states—who fought three
wars against Israel
since 1948 and have been sworn to its destruction for seven decades. But pragmatic
politics makes for strange bedfellows. Because of the growing menace of Iran
and its nuclear intentions, not only is Israel concerned about the Iranian
threat but the oil-rich Arab States along the Persian Gulf also see a common
enemy. Instead of peace, it’s this
Ishmael Covenant that actually ignites growing conflict within Israel, foments internal upheaval in Saudi Arabia and propels Iran to
accelerate its race to nuclear weapons.
Ishmael Covenant was
released in February of 2020. Six months later, in August, Israel actually entered into a peace agreement
with the United Arab Emirates
This peace agreement is called the Abraham Accord and other Muslim states in
the region are lining up to participate. There are similarities between both the
countries involved and their motivation. Peace in the Middle
East is a possibility.
Q: What aspects of your
story are based on historical fact? The Vilna Gaon, whose prophecies are
one of the catalysts of the plot, was a real person. The foremost Talmudic
scholar of his time, the Vilna Gaon (or Genius of Vilnius, Lithuania) was
renowned not only for his knowledge of Jewish scripture, but also as a
scientist and mathematician with intelligence far beyond his age and his time.
His disciples still operate a synagogue in Jerusalem. In 2014, the Gaon’s great-great
grandson actually did reveal a prophecy the Gaon wrote in 1794, a messianic
prophecy warning that, when Russia
seized the Crimean
Peninsula, Jews should
prepare for the coming of Messiah. Only a few months prior to the prophecy
being revealed, the Russian army actually did occupy Crimea and parts of Ukraine.
Many of the agencies and
circumstances in the series are based on actual fact: the Diplomatic Security
Service are armed law-enforcement officers tasked with, among other things,
protecting American Foreign Service personnel overseas; the military’s Joint
Special Operations Command (JSOC) is America’s most elite and effective
quick-strike force; the history of the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem is accurate
The ancient Biblical conflict between the nation of Israel and the
people of Amalek—the descendants of Abraham and Ishmael—is a fundamental
element in the conflict driving the series. Other historically accurate
elements of the book include the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq in 2014; the
worldwide confiscation of Iranian financial assets following the hostage crisis
in 1979; NATO’s nuclear sharing project which still has 61 nuclear bombs in
bunkers at the Incirlik Airbase; the geo-political weapon that water has become
in the Middle East and the history of the Jews in Turkey. All were vital to the
development of this fictional series.
Q: The author’s notes in the
back of Ottoman Dominion are proof of how much detail from actual events
and locales are written into the story. What did your research for the series
involve? Have you always been interested in history and the politics of the Middle East? In college, I studied to be a history
teacher. I didn’t teach very long, but I’ve had a life-long interest in
history. I’ve become much more engaged in the history and politics of the Middle East over the last twenty years or so, even before
I started writing my first trilogy, the Jerusalem Prophecies series. It was in
the midst of that first series that my wife and I made an extended trip to Israel, and Jerusalem in particular. Other than that
“boots-on-the-ground” experience, my research for both series was informed by
friends who lived in Israel
and particularly by a long-distance email acquaintance with a Masters student
of Jewish history who lived in Jerusalem.
More mundane, but necessary,
research took place at the New York City Library system’s main research library
and, of course, online. You might be surprised at how much a writer can glean
from Google Maps and its ability to go “street-level” in so many places around
Q: The entire series has
been released this year—that’s quite the quick turnaround, which is sure to
please readers. The story took place in a short span too, but did the writing
process itself flow that quickly and smoothly? It
was a quick turnaround that had my head spinning. I wrote the first draft of Ishmael
Covenant in May 2015 and submitted the final manuscript two years later. We
finished editing the third book, Ottoman Dominion, in August 2020. So,
it took five years for me to complete the series from start to finish. Sounds
like a long time. But the reality is that during a three-year span from
submission in May 2017 to this past August, I had all three books of the series
at some stage of the editing process at the same time.
when I submitted the final manuscript for book three, my editors at Kregel and
I were still working on the editing for the first two. Now that was a
challenge, keeping everything straight.
There were times I asked myself what book am I working on now?
primary action of the entire three-book series took place during a two-week
period, from July 9 to July 23, 2014. There were some preliminary “set-up”
chapters and a few “wrap-up” chapters at the beginning and end, but most of the
story takes place during that two-week stretch. A very compressed time frame
for the development of three complete novels.
me, the writing never flows quickly and smoothly. As a writer, I’m a gardener,
not an architect. A seed gets planted, watered, the sun shines on it, and we
see how it grows and what directions it will take. The same with the
characters. While some authors have everything mapped out before they begin, I
have an idea of where we’ll start and where we’ll end up, but the rest is the
adventure of seeing where the story goes. But, because of the tight timing of
the books, and the compressed editing schedule, I was forced to develop an
Excel spreadsheet that helped me to keep track of the date, time and location
for each of the scenes throughout the entire series and for each book.
What can readers expect in the conclusion to this series, Ottoman Dominion?
The closer Brian Mullaney gets to hunting down the murderous thugs who have
engaged in a reign of terror; the closer Ambassador Joseph Cleveland gets to
unmasking a traitor in the highest echelons of the State Department; the closer
the two of them get to thwarting an act of nuclear terrorism in the Middle East—the closer they both come to falling under the dark
power of the evil incarnate who lurks in their path and lusts after their
In the middle of trying to keep peace in the Middle East and halting the end of
the world, Mullaney is fighting his own spiritual battle. Can you tell us about
his spiritual journey? Brian Mullaney’s faith is steadfast and
determined, just like Brian. He is not a “go-to-church-on-Christmas” kind of
Christian believer. His close, personal connection to God, which took years of
nurturing from his youth to develop, is evident throughout the series as he
prays urgently and fervently on several occasions.
And, often, Brian needs those
prayers to be answered. His two-decade marriage is in danger. Abby and their
daughters remained in Virginia
when Mullaney was
unfairly banished to Israel
Mullaney is attempting to solve the mystery of his downfall by navigating the
back rooms of the State Department while at the same time upholding his duty as
the man most responsible for the life and safety of Ambassador Cleveland and
the other personnel.
But Mullaney’s greatest
spiritual challenge falls on him unexpectedly. In addition to chasing a band of
murderous thugs around Tel Aviv and trying to thwart an act of nuclear
terrorism in Turkey,
Mullaney finds himself being asked to take on a daunting spiritual responsibility
as the final guardian of the box. And only the fate of the world, the
integrity of Biblical prophecy and the personal safety of those he loves most
hangs in the balance.
Q: Do you think readers will
be surprised by the ending? I hope so. There are cliff-hanger situations at
the end of the first two novels of the series, and I wanted to be faithful to
the first two in completing the third. So, while I believe the ending of Ottoman
Dominion will bring about a satisfactory conclusion to both the novel and
the series, I would be very surprised if any of the readers are able to predict
the ending. In fact, I didn’t figure it out myself until halfway through
writing the third book.
Q: What message do you hope
readers walk away with? Spiritual warfare is real. Evil is real. And they
are both present on this earth today. But, in order for there to be a tangible
and ongoing spiritual conflict, good must also be real. The result of this
battle between good and evil, evidence of which we can often see around us, is
far more than “good wins.” The result that matters is where did we stand? What
did I do in my life to hold back the forces of evil? Because we are not
ordained to be observers—we are enlisted to be warriors.
Q: Obviously, we aren’t
battling the forces of evil on the same level as Mullaney, but how do we as
Christians face spiritual warfare on a daily basis? Early in Paul’s letter to the
church at Ephesus,
he writes in verse three of chapter one, “Praise be to the God and Father of
our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every
spiritual blessing in Christ.” Later, in verse 19 he writes, “That power
is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the
dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all
rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not
only in the present age but also in the one to come.”
The Bible I love and cherish
most is an NIV Study Bible my wife gave me. Worn, beaten, re-bound, and marked
from beginning to end, it has study notes, sometimes extensive, on nearly every
page. The study note to Ephesians 1:3 states. “At stake are God’s eternal
purpose and the titanic conflict between God and the powerful spiritual forces
arrayed against him … the spiritual struggle of the saints here and now is not
so much against ‘flesh and blood’ as against the great spiritual forces that
war against God in heaven.”
Think about that for a moment.
There is a war against God in heaven with spiritual forces arrayed against him.
And MY life here, today, is having some kind of impact on that battle. Because
the same rulers, powers, authority and dominion that God is fighting in heaven,
we are also fighting here on earth today. Different, sure. But real
none-the-less. That’s stunning, awesome and, to a degree, frightening.
2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 “For
though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons
we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have
divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every
pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take
captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Paul here is
reminding us that we wage war here, in our world, but not as the world does. We
are talking about weapons of divine power to demolish strongholds.” How do we
face spiritual warfare? We demolish every ungodly mental image and take captive
every thought and bring it to Jesus.
Q: For those who aren’t
quite ready to say goodbye to the series yet, what bonuses do you have
available for readers who sign up for your newsletter? There is a host of
unique, free material I supply to readers who subscribe to my website. First
off, there are two unique and exclusive short stories that I’ve written for
subscribers and those who request the special offer in the Author’s Notes from
the back of each book in the series. The first short story is titled The
Gaon’s Revenge. And I’ve just written a new one, Under the Radar,
which looks into the early history of the character who is only identified as “the
man in the Panama hat.” In addition, I send out a monthly
newsletter that offers an in depth look into one of the items listed in the
Author’s Notes. Subscribers also receive invitations to special events (such as
virtual launch parties) and book giveaways.
Q: Now that this series has
come to a close, what’s next for you? Do you have another book in the works? This
year, with three books released over just nine months, my life has been
dominated by the marketing side of being an author. I’ve launched a blog, been
writing the short stories, and sending regular newsletters.
It’s been hard to find time to
write, but, I’ve written a non-fiction book titled Rescuing the Hidden
Hearts of Men. It’s a very different book for me. It’s still a work in
progress, so there’s no set plans for release yet.
In addition, I have a few
projects “in the works.” There is a book I wrote ten years ago that needed a
lot of work then and still needs a lot of work now. I’m trying to get that one
in better shape. And I’ve started outlining an Irish mystery/thriller that is
set over three generations and plays out extensively in late 19th
century Manhattan. And I’ve just started thinking through a contemporary
thriller, also set in NYC. Those projects may take some time.
about Terry Brennan and his books at www.terrybrennanauthor.com. He is also on Facebook (Terry Brennan) and Twitter (@terrbrennan1).
Terry, for sharing all three books in this series with my blog readers and me. I
know many are eager to read this final novel.
here are links to the book.
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