Every so often Americans seem to get a brief shocking glimpse of the homicidal fundamentalist Islamic (in name) bloodlust that suddenly falls upon the rural towns of Algeria, devastating their inhabitants. This novel shows its slow but steady spread like a bloody stain over one town and its people, eventually consuming them all - before itself being crushed by the overwhelming force of the Algerian army.
From bored, underemployed young men, the mullahs with Islamist answers for all of Algeria's problems seduce them into a militant force that eventually rages into a gory slaughter of all not deemed "God's pure," including men, women and children. As recent reports and Khadra's novel demonstrate, it isn't long before the slaughter becomes the end itself. The Islamic elements disappear entirely.
One of the last characters to succumb to the relgious violence is a late middle-aged intellectual who was educated in France. Although contemptuous of the fanatics to the last, his murder and the fiery destruction of his library of modern thought is clearly Khadra's warning to the West.
In the Name of God is written and translated into straightforward, muted and matter-of-fact prose, the better to narrate its truly horrific tale. The mainstream Islamic world and the West need to come to grips with the resentful, vengeful and lethal rage that is sweeping Islamic nations from North Africa to Indonesia. For those entering into an awareness of how this phenomenon gets locally rooted, and and can reach its deadly climax, this frightening and horrifying novel provides insight through the lives of its various characters and their fates. One of the more effectively drawn characters is the town's dwarf who Khadra evolves from a despised pathetic clown into a kind of Satanic/vulture figure, aiding and abetting the violence - his way of settling old scores.