Book Jacket


rank 2619
word count 21364
date submitted 20.11.2009
date updated 22.11.2009
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Religious
classification: moderate

No Rapture

Stephan Zimmermann

An earthquake unexpectedly strikes Damascus. Cantara Suhayar must reach crucial decisions about life and humanity.


Cantara Suhayar is a young Islamic physicist teaching at Cambridge. Invited to speak at a religious conference in Damascus on science and Islam, the young woman is caught in an unexpected earthquake that rocks the ancient city. The events coincide with the holy days of Rosh Hashana and Ramadan.

Her rescue by Sephardic Rabbi Shelomo ben-Shuraqui and Jason Littrell, an American tourist, propels the trio into a dangerous maze of political intrigue and personal murder. Shifts in action regularly change from Damascus to Tel Aviv.

The questions of natural disaster, combined with mankind’s foibles and penchant for self-made destruction through war predominate in the book’s theme. Accenting the desperate need for world peace and cessation of war fuels the denouement of the novel in a terrifying climax as the world faces certain calamity.

At first glance, the title NO RAPTURE might be dismissed as another religious speculation concerning the end of the world. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is a novel focusing on the people, the beauty, and the constant dangers of living in today’s war-torn Middle East.

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, born-again christian, cambridge university, christian miracles, damascus, earthquake, imam, israel, london heathrow, middle east, modern espionage, ...

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Linda Horowitz wrote 682 days ago

... intriguing angle with shifts of action between Damascus and Tel Aviv... aspects on the Middle East... on my watchlist...
Salaam, Shalom.... and world peace,
Linda Horowitz
While the Sands Whsiper

monicque wrote 1050 days ago

HI Stephan, reading through now, and I'll comment as I go!!!!!
Hmm.. 3 adverbs in the first paragraph? I would think about cutting the number of adverbs in the work.
And another in the first line of para 2!!! I don't think editors like them.. and the reason? Because readers don't like them either...
The way that you 'show' rather than 'tell' is quite impressive in places, however, the amount of adverbs was very distracting. I only read through the first chapter, and I believe you have the basis for a wonderful story, and your idea is a solid one. I love world peace!!! lol And natural disasters are always interesting, as are religious conferences.
Taking out adverbs will be difficult, but once you do it, you will breathe a huge sigh of relief and never use one again!!! I used to use them all the time... Now, there are hardly any. ("hardly" is an adverb - i use them in messages !!!)
Please let me know if you would like me to review your work again, if you do edit it and take out all those distracting words. Thank you for sharing, and best wishes for your works success. :)

DMR wrote 1326 days ago

You have a way with words and are able to accurately describe scenes which spring into life for the reader - the quality of your writing hooked me in to the story and I found it easy to want to find out more about Cantara - this is certainly a well written novel that reeks of intrigue - Backed!
Good Blood

Bocri wrote 1327 days ago

This site seems to be thowing up a number of glitches today since only half my comments showed up (see below). I'll try to finish off .
I've no hesitation in backing this, I'm sure it will rise and rise.
Robert Davidson

Bocri wrote 1328 days ago

I fascinating perspectiv on up to the minute issues. You've got a truly professional writing style and have obviously researched your stuff really well.

Pia wrote 1328 days ago

I wanted to add a note I had made while reading, but can't seem to edit in the comment box.
There may be a continuity nit In chapter 4. When Cantara stands on the balcony of her hotel in Damascus it says ... she allowed the wind to tousle her short hair ... while a few paragraphs earlier she placed a hejab over her head, covering entirely her hair and neck. Just made me stop for a moment.


Pia wrote 1328 days ago

Stephan -

No Rapture - Cantara is an interesting MC, a scientist, a lover, an avenger, many faces but one agenda, which is only hinted at. Something is brewing up and the reader wants to know, so reads on. The hotbead of faiths and politics in Damascus provide a great stage for a thriller. I would have enjoyed more of the atmosphere of this amazing city. As thrillers it captivates.

Backed, Pia (Course of Mirrors)

CarolinaAl wrote 1328 days ago

A clever thriller with well developed characters. Impecable attention to detail. Arresting scenes. Lively dialogue. Good hooks. Splendid writing. Backed.

eurodan49 wrote 1329 days ago

Having read a few chapters and skimmed through a few more I decided to leave some comments. Good start, steady pace, strong voice…all great things to have. Your narration’s flowing and just to nitpick…a little more showing won’t hurt.
One think I would mention is ID-ing the speaker. The trend is: ID first, dialogue to follow. You start with dialogue and then intro the speaker (a thing of tastes but most agents/editors prefer the former). And one more thing: “said” and “answered” are neutral and could/should be used. You search for variants…”replied, enquired, quipped, QUIPPED??” LOL
Overall, very competent writing. One last thing: in today’s overcrowded market, readers expect and demand fast paced action…you can’t always deliver that uninterrupted but you can surly create tension on every page.
Backed with pleasure.

Kevin Alex Baker wrote 1336 days ago


You've taken on some tough subject matter with a lot of exuberance and just enough flair to make this a very compelling read! Great work so far, I'm curious to see where this leads!

Nice work! Backed! Looking forward to your thoughts on Head Games!

Kevin Alex Baker
Head Games

memphisgirl wrote 1336 days ago

Compelling, gripping, vivid, fast-paced, timely.

Ashes By Now

Eunice Attwood wrote 1342 days ago

Your great mind has created a great book. Backed with pleasure. Eunice - The Temple Dancer.

AVRAHAMANOUCHI wrote 1363 days ago


You have undertaken a very exciting scenario. An earthquake on Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan with characters who move between Damascus and Tel-Aviv. The decsription does not indicate the date of the ficticious event, so the reader wonders how the characters move from Syria to Israel in time of wars and constant animosity. How intriguing. It promises to be a great thriller. I'll look at your first couple of chapters to see if I am right.

Good luck

Avraham Anouchi
Space Mission.

Roger Thurling wrote 1368 days ago

I've just read all that has so far been uploaded - 20 Chapters.
This is a very good read, with good structure, excellent clean and unfussy prose, good description and characterisation, and it appears to be based on detailed and precise knowledge.
I look forward to reading more ... but when will it be uploaded?

DP Walker wrote 1381 days ago

Hi Stephen
I've spent a bit of time in the Middle East recently so I found this of immediate interest. I've not been to Damascus but having been to other places nearby, I could still feel the reality of the place in your writing. You have crafted some really visual writing along with obviously having done your research to make the whole thing sound so credible. A book I would love to buy to keep me busy during my next trip out there!
Best wishes
DP Walker
Five Dares

Daniel Manning wrote 1383 days ago

The only thing that can be called rapturous is coming into contact with God and that might happen for a lot of people, if war breaks out in the middle east. Political intrigue, science and religion are all intertwined together in the city of Damascus in this marvellous story. Traditional worship across a city that has seen famine and disease, but what would the prophets say about guided missiles and electrical impulse weapons. No Rapture is a magniicent read, set at cracking pace, so for that reason it has my backing.
Daniel Manning
No Compatibility

Lockjaw Lipssealed wrote 1396 days ago

This is simply FAR OUT! This is one I would plop down on the counter to purchase.


Mooderino wrote 1412 days ago

Very polished writing and astute observations on complex themes. Characters were well drawn and good dialogue. Happy to back.

Gauis wrote 1412 days ago

Good pitch - The Jews and the Arabs - God help them - but a maze of political intrigue is a terrible cliche - cut please

zan wrote 1425 days ago

No Rapture
Stephan Zimmermann

The theme of this book is a very relevant one and I am happy to see it being explored. Lots of food for thought here and a wonderful opening chapter. Easy to warm to Cantara. Realistic airport scene. I also liked your Biblical quote. Looking forward to reading more when I have some time to spare. Glad to have given this a spin on my shelf.

SusieGulick wrote 1425 days ago

Dear Stephen, I got so excited when I saw that you had backed, "He Loves Me." :) Thanks so very much. :) Since I have already "backed" your book, I will also put your book on my "watchlist." Could you please take a moment to "back" my completed unedited memoir version? "Tell Me True Love Stories," which at the end tells of my illness now & 6th abusive marriage. I'd be ever so grateful. :) Thank you. :) Love, Susie :)
p.s. Remember: Every time you place a book on your bookshelf, your recommendation pushes the book up the rankings. And while that book sits on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter increases depending on how well that book performs. :)
When you back a book, it only improves the ranking of that book, not yours. However, the author whose book you are backing may decide to back your book also, in which case yes, your ranking would be improved...authonomy.

Andrew Burans wrote 1426 days ago

Your highly descriptive writing style makes your finely crafted novel a pleasure to read. Your work is well paced and well written. Your use of imagery is excellent and your character development is solid. Backed with pleasure.

Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: The Beginning

SusieGulick wrote 1426 days ago

Dear Stephen, I love that you are telling of the chaos over there - I'm so thankful that I am in California. :) Jesus will return, even though that's not in your book. :) My daughter went to Cambridge as an exchange student in '88 for a semester, so I was excited that you mentioned that. :) Before I began to read your book, I was prepared by your recap/pitch,which was very well done. :) Your story is good because you create interest by having short paragraphs & lots of dialogue, which makes me want to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. I'm "backing" your book: When you back a book, it only improves the ranking of that book, not yours. However, the author whose book you are backing may decide to back your book also, in which case yes, your ranking would be improved...authonomy. :) Please "back" my TWO memoir books, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" & my completed memoir unedited version? "Tell Me True Love Stories," which tells at the end, my illness now & 6th abusive marriage." Thanks, Susie :)
p.s. Remember: Every time you place a book on your bookshelf, your recommendation pushes the book up the rankings. And while that book sits on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter increases depending on how well that book performs. :)

klouholmes wrote 1426 days ago

Hi Stephan, Quite a conversation at the airport to start. The writing is smooth and the details spark curiosity. Cantara is very observant and a provocative character! Shelved – Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)

Manolya wrote 1429 days ago

Hi Stephen,

The best compliment I can give you is to say- I want to read the whole book right now!
There are so many layers that intrigue me in your story, and I love what I have read so far- will come back to read more.
Backed with pleasure of course!

Warm regards,
Manolya- Love in No-Man's Love

eloraine wrote 1430 days ago

I wsn't sure if I had backed this before and I wanted to, so I just backed it again in case I hadn't, good luck with it. E.Loraine Royal Blood Chronicles book one

Andy M. Potter wrote 1430 days ago

Hi Stephan, i said i'd be back with some picky comments. sorry, couldn't find any quibbles ;)
very clean prose.
fine unfolding of your story via sharp descriptions and a clear narrative arc.
on my shelf.
best wishes, andy

Jayne Lind wrote 1430 days ago

What good writing! This book is rich in context, in story-telling, and in intrigue. I hope it does well for you. All the best - Jayne

palexander614 wrote 1433 days ago

Has another week gone by? Well, the weekend is upon us. What a great time to grab a cup of ice tea, comfy chair, and help us noobies get noticed by reading our work. If you are interested in this, please pick a book and let me know what you think. I would appreciate all comments and help . . . blessings, Pam

carlashmore wrote 1436 days ago

Now, this is exceedingly impressive and deals with a very emotive and current situation. Your prose is beautiful. Sometimes, and I am really going to nitpick, I felt it was slightly over written for my personal taste. For instance, the 'of humanity' phrase in the opening sentence didn't sit that well with me. Again, I stress that is my opinion and you can disregard or consider it as you wish. By chapter two I felt you really hit your stride - gorgeous, lyrical writing and impeccably researched prose lifts this into extremely impressive literary fiction. I salute you.
The Time Hunters

Panaxus wrote 1439 days ago

Ray - Thank you for your comments. If Authonomy permitted us more time to read the many selections, I'm sure you would find many of your suspicions and assumptions confirmed or denied re philosophy, Cantara, Rabbi Shelomo etc. re NO RAPTURE. That's why is so useful ... it permits any reader to buy the full book to enjoy over time and see how real "factual fiction" can be!

Will read Wishing Well shortly.

Stephan Zimmermann (panaxus)

Raymond Nickford wrote 1439 days ago

Firstly, the Synopsis suggests a topical, but also universal problem; topical because the source of expanding confrontation is in the Middle East, universal because it concerns that mutual fear and suspicion among people of different religions and creeds which is likely to be with us long after the author and his current readers 'meet the Lord in the air.' Man will either evolve across many milennia itno a less mutually destructive species or, sadly more likely, anihilate his species. This is why the whole endeavour of the book, albeit fiction, is a contribution.
The Heathrow setting with all the cacophany and vibrancy we know of it, was very well observed, through Cantara's POV, and created, from the start, a feeling of immediacy, participation and plausibility, all skilfully crafted.
You explore so much in the dialogue between Jason and Cantara and even while advancing the story you give food for thought. So far, I have the impression that, in looking at the security cameras, Cantara is by no means the paragon of innocence that she effects to be and I fear she may be dangerous.
I'm probably wrong, but you have me second guessing and that is the essence of your success as a storyteller.

(A Child from the Wishing Well)

Becca wrote 1447 days ago

You show Damascus in a beautiful light. I saw no errors in your writing, so I can tell you've taken care to polish this. This is the kind of story you could see being made into a movie.
The Forever Girl

WrightyBoy wrote 1457 days ago

Well written and an interesting premise, will send more detailed comments in a message.


( Last of the 20th Century Communists)

Debra Schrack wrote 1468 days ago

Hi--this book has a lot going for it--action, intrigue, and exotic locations! The plot seems very current now with all the earthquakes that have happened recently and the political climate. Good job!
Debbie "Afterlife"

whiplash wrote 1471 days ago

This is going to sound weird, OK? I'm going to back this, but you're maiing my eyes bleed with all those adverbs. Four in the first paragraph alone, more as you go, the preist silentlt reading skillfully... I had the same proclivity at one time, and only recently weeded them out as much as possible from my own work. Adverbs have a place, but they're like spice in a story: tasty when used few and far between, but it's easy to poison your stuff with them. Most aren't even necessary. They slow down the pace of the statement, and tend to be more on the telling side rather than showing, which is what publishers are looking for.

So instead of "reading silently" how about "The priest's mouth worked as he read, a noiseless sermon only he could hear."

So kill your adverbs on the Rack. Make an example of them on how NOT to write fiction, OK?

Burgio wrote 1475 days ago

I like books that take me away from my everyday world and transport me to a new and different place. And this one does that very well. You're created good characters. Your descriptions of locales are excellent. Made this a good read. I'm adding it to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

Michael Croucher wrote 1479 days ago

Nicely done, a vividly described and compelling story that appears well plotted and kept me reading a lot longer than I'd planned. Shelved.
Michael Croucher (Bravo's Veil)

missyfleming_22 wrote 1479 days ago

Wonderful writing and some vivid descriptions. This was a great read! You're an engaging writer and really drew me into this story. This is going to be a big adventure, I can feel it building up! Great job and good luck with this.

Mark of Eternity

Jim Darcy wrote 1479 days ago

Had to check this out. My other half has a lady called Cantara, meaning little bridge I believe, in their book too! This is turning into a fast-paced tale that takes the reader from the familiar to the foreign and back again like a heartbeat. Well realised characters, steering clear from stereotype except as they are percieved internally to the story. Wondering where this is going. Jim Darcy The Firelord's Crown

Suzannah Burke wrote 1481 days ago

Intrigued from the outset, this is an extremely well thought out plot, crafted to lure us in with subtle hints and clever interactions between Cantara and Jason.

Cantara immediately arouses suspicion simply because of her Islamic heritage. That is a sad reflection on the world post 9/11. The middle east is brought to life in all it's colour, noise, and undeniable tension. Earhtquake, rescue and espionage that is some premise. The chapters I have read thus far lead me to the conclusion that the ending will be as fascinating as the beginning.

backed with pleasure
Suzannah Burke

Famlavan wrote 1482 days ago

No Rapture

Don’t understand this, it should be flying.
One thing you might like to look at, is the lack of descriptive sound in the narrative, I think this would enhance the opening. Your visual predicates are very and with natural dialogue this is very good.

lionel25 wrote 1489 days ago

Stephan, I liked the open chapter. Smooth read with a good mix of narrative and dialogue. Nothing to nitpick there.

Happy to back this.

Joffrey (The Silver Spoon Effect)

Paige Pendleton wrote 1490 days ago

I was intrigued, and what I read did not disappointed. Professionally crafted from premise to execution. I flipped ahead, and this is consistent. The work you've put into this is obvious. I will be finishing at my leisure, but backed. Very well done.

Mark L. Kelsey wrote 1490 days ago


Thanks for the backing...I'll check your book out soon. Give me a reminder if I take too long.

Thanks Again,


Bamboo Promise wrote 1490 days ago

I loved the cover of your book. Your pitch is very constructive. Well-written. I wish you could reach the editorial's desk quickly. Backed

Dan Hardy wrote 1493 days ago

I love the pitch, well done. This sounds like a fascinating tale. Backed!

Panaxus wrote 1494 days ago

Being an active Jew, this appealed to me immediately, the story that is. And the writing sealed the deal. I see from the comments below I am not the only one who feels that way. BUT what really sticks out are those pitches. They are brilliant. I could learn from you. SHELVED!

I can use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Cheers!

The Obergemau Key
Authonomy's #1 rated commentator

Many thanls, JC, for your backing and kind comments. Hope more readers like you will identify and pick it up from Amazon in the US. I'll try to get to OBERGEMAU this weekend!

Stephan Zimmermann (panaxus)

soutexmex wrote 1495 days ago

Being an active Jew, this appealed to me immediately, the story that is. And the writing sealed the deal. I see from the comments below I am not the only one who feels that way. BUT what really sticks out are those pitches. They are brilliant. I could learn from you. SHELVED!

I can use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Cheers!

The Obergemau Key
Authonomy's #1 rated commentator

DKTD1 wrote 1495 days ago


Eunice Stubbins, among others...