The Viper of Kerman
Christian Oliver

The Viper of Kerman

Diplomacy is failing. Impervious to U.N. sanctions, an increasingly belligerent Iran is set to master the technology required to build an atomic bomb. U.S. air-strikes look inevitable.

Enter Ayatollah Ali Baharvand, the man with a deal: the man who can prevent a war.

A powerful cleric with massive commercial and military influence, Baharvand has stepped down as one of Tehran’s nuclear negotiators, infuriated by the self-defeating obduracy of his colleagues. Sickened by the stagnation of a revolution that never elevated him or his country to the heights they deserved, he plans to seize power and strike his own deal with the West.

But can he be trusted? What does he really want?

The Viper of Kerman,Christian Oliver’s debut novel, charts Baharvand’s plot through the eyes of a colourful assortment of spies, diplomats and journalists.

Oliver draws upon his experience covering Iran for Reuters to dissect the major political and economic tensions that could rip the Islamic Republic apart. His novel gives a vivid and all-too-rare insight into the culture, social life and psychology of this much misunderstood nation.

The novel is played out on a broad canvas, sweeping us from Byzantine White House politics to missile strikes against tanker traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s main oil nexus. The reader witnesses violent student protests, tanks rumbling through the streets of Tehran and MiGs scrambling from the Doshan Tappeh airbase. As the action intensifies, Baharvand’s motives seem less and less clear-cut.

Book Details:

  • Author: Christian Oliver
  • Published Year: 2009
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Halban

Christian Oliver

Christian Oliver was born in 1978. He grew up in Devon and studied Classics at Lincoln College, Oxford.He then did an intensive Arabic diploma, taught English and worked as a conservationist on Crete.After cutting his teeth as a journalist on a Devon newspaper, he joined Reuters in London in 2002. He was Iran correspondent from 2003 to 2006, a chaotic period in which he covered the Bam earthquake, two disputed elections, oil deals, civil unrest and plane crashes. The job’s main attraction lay in escaping Tehran to write features in the provinces, heading out with caviar fishermen and ...
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Book Reviews

  • "excellent addition to Iran's current and sparse fiction list is The Viper of Kerman, a partly tongue-in-cheek novel that sets out a not-altogether-unlikely vision of turmoil afflicting the Middle East's most strategic country.... Mr. Oliver's skill shines through by the end of the book as he comes to a wholly feasible conclusion.... The Viper of Kerman offers a glimpse of an all-too-likely future."
    Washington Times
  • "The plot and its dénouement are thoroughly convincing; the pace is fast and furious – it is everything that a thriller should be. What makes it particularly satisfying is the author’s easy grasp of the way Iran works, his view of the teeth behind the smile."
    Royal Society of Asian affairs Journal
  • "…a very readable novel based around an ayatollah inviting the UK and US to back him in a coup against president Ahmadinejad. It's a heady home-brew of intrigue, student unrest, ethnic-based violence and incompetent journalism -- with a colourful cast of clerics, an assassin, diplomats, spies, nuclear scientists, tanker captains, a corporate arms lawyer, north Tehrani beauties and qanat workers… The Viper of Kerman is a racy and entertaining read, with many vignettes illustrating Oliver's eye for detail and sense of irony. But the book also highlights many important aspects of Iranian politics: from the geopolitics centred on its natural resources to the way things in Iran so often work out differently to what anyone intends or expects."
    Frontline